House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Members

Veterans

1:46 pm

Tania Lawrence (Hasluck, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This week, my office has been happy to host Captain Chiara Di Girolami as part of the ADF parliamentary exchange program. As a former reservist, it's an absolute pleasure to reconnect with serving ADF personnel but also former serving personnel, as I have four RSL branches in the seat of Hasluck—in Kalamunda, Bellevue, Ellenbrook and Mundaring.

The reciprocal exchange and these connections are important to enable us to better tailor policy in this area. I have read the recommendations of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and it's a grim read. Transition from service to civilian life is a significant event for ADF members, one that requires major readjustments. For some it can be a challenging and traumatic time.

Ex-service organisations like the RSL expect us to deliver for veterans. Minister Keogh is delivering. The budget invests more than $233 million to engage 500 new frontline staff to deal with the compensation claims backlog and to increase support to veterans. Veterans affairs can never only be about the laying of wreaths and the building of memorials, as important as that is. The ceremonial must be matched by practical actions that meet our veterans' needs. Minister Keogh's attitude is very simple: our veterans have protected us and we must look after them. And I add my voice to this.