Labor URGES Government to support a Royal Commission into veteran suicide

THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR BLAIR

LABOR URGES THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT A ROYAL COMMISSION INTO VETERAN SUICIDE

Labor is urging the Morrison Government to agree to a Royal Commission into veteran suicide by the end of the year.

As we think of our veterans and their families this Christmas, yesterday Labor Leader Anthony Albanese again met with Julie-Ann Finney, whose Navy veteran son David took his own life in February.

Ms Finney reiterated her call for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to join with Labor and commit to a Royal Commission into the rate of veteran suicide as soon as possible.

With more than 400 veteran suicides since 2001, including the recent passing of former commando Kevin Frost, we simply cannot afford to delay.

As a nation, we need to urgently get to the bottom of what is driving so many of our ex-service men and women to take their own lives, and what we can do to prevent these tragic deaths.

Only a thorough and comprehensive Royal Commission will achieve this.

Labor wants this to be a bipartisan effort – we want to work with the Government, the Parliament and the veteran community and do all we can to address this blight on our community.

We are still waiting on the Morrison Government to deliver a new Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan, which it promised by the end of the year as recently as the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester’s annual ministerial statement on 16 October 2019.

The Government is also yet to respond to the Productivity Commission inquiry report on the veteran support system, which it received in June.

The Government needs to deliver on these important initiatives and a Royal Commission into veteran suicide as a matter of urgency.

As we head into 2020, this would be the best possible New Year’s gift for our veterans and all Australians.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) provides support for current and ex-service personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au

TUESDAY, 24 DECEMBER 2019

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