House debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Statements by Members


1:57 pm

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

We should never forget the dedication of present and past serving members of the Australian Defence Force. These people put their lives on the line in service of our country. They do what their government asks unflinchingly. The actions they take in the line of duty include things we would never really be able to fathom. It is simply unacceptable that so many of our returning veterans are taking their own lives. It is an outrage that this government will not establish a royal commission that can investigate why they are failing the veteran community. The loss of human life is intolerable. The loss of human potential is immeasurable. Why aren't we ensuring no expense is spared in the prevention of veteran suicide? We need to unveil system failures in government resourcing for veterans. We need to investigate best practice to ensure no further loss of life. We need to review the resources allocated to veteran support services to ensure that our spending is equal to the vast value and appreciation we put on their service to our nation. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that we lost 11 veterans in the last three weeks. That is 18 per cent higher than the broader population rate. It is not acceptable. They do their duty; we should do ours. (Time expired)