House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Statements by Members

Ryan Electorate: National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention

1:46 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Morrison government is delivering on its commitment to address the unacceptably high rates of suicide amongst Australian Defence Force members and veterans. This is an issue that is absolutely critical that we address. Too many Australians commit suicide, and our defence and veteran community are suffering heavily through current and former serving members of our Defence Force making the decision to end their own lives.

The government wants to make sure we're building a better support system for our defence personnel and veterans. We want to make sure that defence personnel and veterans get the support they need when they need it. Last week, legislation introduced by the Attorney-General marked a significant step towards the establishment of a national commissioner for defence and veteran suicide prevention. The national commissioner will have powers broadly equivalent to a royal commission, but with a permanent office which can continually monitor the implementation of its own recommendations to ensure long-term solutions. There will be a four-week consultation on the bills, which will inform the refinement of the legislation going forward to parliament.

I really encourage defence personnel, veterans and their families in the electorate of Ryan, with our very large Defence Force base at Enoggera, to provide their feedback directly to me about the national commissioner and the legislation. This is a complex issue we must tackle together. Working together as a community, we can prevent further suicides amongst our veteran community.