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The Australian Parliament has agreed to a motion calling on the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission into Defence Force and veterans’ suicides.

On the face of it this is a tremendous development, but the reality is very different because the Government has still not actually committed to the Royal Commission. In other words, we currently have the distressing situation where serving members, veterans and their loved ones have potentially been given false hope and that’s simply not good enough.

Indeed if the Government ultimately ignores the motion, and instead persists with its current plan to establish an unsatisfactory National Commissioner, then regrettably all of the Government hand-wringing, and the stirring speeches by some of its Senators and Members, will turn out to have been just theatre and hollow words. So there’s still work to be done because we still need to get the bottom of this, and to understand why, in 2021, there are so many suicides among Defence Force members and veterans. Because until we do, we will not have done the right thing by those who have died, nor done everything in our power to prevent more tragic deaths.

So I say to the Prime Minister please, please don’t leave it at this. Do the right thing. End the uncertainty. Establish a Royal Commission.

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