The community will breathe a sigh of relief that finally the Federal Government has decided to hold a Royal Commission into veteran and serving member suicides. While the Government’s refusal for such an inquiry for so long is deeply lamentable, the announcement today is a tremendous outcome and one that promises to bring some understanding and justice to the many hundreds of veterans and serving members whose lives have ended by suicide.
There was always something terribly amiss and deeply troubling that the rate of suicide among veterans is twice the national average, and also that so many carefully screened serving members are also taking their own lives. Clearly there are serious systemic and cultural problems in the departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs, as well as in the Australian Defence Force. Only the jolt of a Royal Commission offers hope of getting to the bottom of these problems and preparing the groundwork for an ongoing National Commissioner.
The community expects the Government to stand up the Royal Commission as quickly as humanly possible, including the passage of any necessary legislation in the very next parliamentary sitting week.