The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
Update as at 11 August 2021
Members of the community may wish to seek further details from DVA in relation to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Requests for information held by DVA can be made under the pathways identified on DVA’s website, dva.gov.au.
Legal advice support is being established for people wishing to engage with the Royal Commission by the Attorney-General’s Department.
The Royal Commission website is now active and can be accessed at defenceveteransuicide.royalcommission.gov.au.
Update as at 8 July 2021
On 8 July the Australian Government formally established a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide following approval by the Governor-General.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Royal Commission recognised the unique nature of military service, and the ongoing effects on the physical and mental health of members and veterans as a result of their service.
“We recognise the contribution and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our country,” the Prime Minister said.
“The death of any Australian Defence Force member or veteran is a tragedy that is deeply felt by all Australians. As a Government we are committed to addressing the ongoing impact of service, including preventing future deaths by suicide and providing opportunities for healing.”
The inquiry will be led by Mr Nick Kaldas APM, former Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, where he commanded around 14,000 staff members and a budget of more than $2 billion. Mr Kaldas also has extensive international experience in law enforcement and peacekeeping, including as Director of Internal Oversight Services for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and as Chief of Investigations for the United Nations Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria.
Mr Kaldas will be supported by:
- The Hon James Douglas QC, an esteemed former Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and respected member of the legal community, and
- Dr Peggy Brown AO, a consultant psychiatrist and national leader in mental health policy with extensive experience in health and mental health service planning, governance and administration
The Royal Commission is due to provide an interim report on 11 August 2022 and a final report on 15 June 2023.
The Prime Minister's medial release can be read in full at https://www.pm.gov.au/media/defence-and-veterans-suicide
Now that the Royal Commission has commenced the Government, Defence and DVA remain completely independent of the process.
Information on the Royal Commission, including the Terms of Reference and information on how to make a submission is available at defenceveteransuicide.royalcommission.gov.au
If you, or someone you know, need support, you can contact:
- Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Open Arms (current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families are able to seek this free and confidential support) – 1800 011 046
- ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line (for current serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 628 036.
- Safe Zone Support (for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 142 072. When you call Safe Zone Support, you do not need to identify yourself if you do not want to.
The NSW Government welcomes the decision of the Federal Government to recommend to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and supports the establishment of a permanent National Commission into the future.
The NSW Government was the first State to call for a Royal Commission, recognising that one death is one death too many.
On 19 April 2021, the Prime Minister announced the Australian Government would establish a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The Royal Commission will examine systemic issues and common themes in past deaths by suicide. These include suspected suicides, and lived experience of suicide risks of ADF members and veterans.
The Federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP, will lead a public consultation process on the Commission's draft Terms of Reference.
Given the complex issues for consideration, and the importance of hearing from ADF current and former serving members; veterans and their families and Defence personnel are encouraged to participate in the consultation process.
The themes for consultation and other information can be found on DVA's Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide website.
Media statements available for download