House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Statements by Members

National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention

4:02 pm

Photo of Phillip ThompsonPhillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

People in the veteran and defence space should not have to pay money to have their voices heard by the national commissioner into ADF and veteran suicide, but, sadly, that is the case. Next month, the office of the national commissioner is holding a two-day symposium called 'Defence and Veteran Suicide: Prevention through Understanding'. Registrations can be made online at a cost of $100 per person per day. Many of the people who got this invitation are, like friends of mine, on pensions from their service, or were wounded overseas or are family members of people who have passed away. They should not have to pay $100 to have their voices heard. The national commissioner says the inside stories and understanding offered by families and others closely affected by the loss of a defence member's or a veteran's suicide will be of crucial importance to the national commissioner's work. Then why should they be paying?

I've written to the national commissioner, insisting that they remove this fee and also letting the national commissioner know that we need to be breaking down barriers, not putting more up in the form of charging our veteran community, our wounded, injured and ill, and the family members of the fallen $100 to attend a meeting to inform them of what they should be doing. This needs to be changed.