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Legislation introduced to help prevent veteran suicides

Media Release

The Morrison Government is delivering on its commitment to address the unacceptably high rates of suicide among Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and veterans.

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, has introduced legislation to establish the new office of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention, and invited public feedback through a four-week consultation process.

The National Commissioner will have powers broadly equivalent to a Royal Commission. But unlike Royal Commissions which examine issues at a fixed point in time, the National Commissioner will be a permanent office that can continually monitor the implementation of its own recommendations to ensure long-term solutions are delivered, while also being able to examine new issues which may arise over time.

"As the Prime Minister said when he first announced this important initiative, this is about being continually vigilant when it comes to the care and wellbeing of our veterans, as well as those serving men and women who protect our community and our freedoms," the Attorney-General said.

"The National Commissioner will be truly independent and deliver genuine transparency as it helps to uncover the root causes and contributing factors in ADF member and veteran deaths by suicide."

"It will also provide the opportunity for families and those people who have been personally affected by an ADF member or veteran death by suicide to share their story in a safe and supported way. Families will be very important to the work of the National Commissioner."

Feedback on the Bills is invited through the four-week public consultation process. Submissions received on the Bills will inform the ongoing refinement of the legislation for consideration by Parliament.

The Bills, and further information about the consultation process will be available at National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention and the Consultation on the Bills is at National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention – Public Consultation on the Bills.

Submissions on the Bills close on 24 September 2020.

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 Australian Defence Force 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 Australian Defence Force personnel and their families) on 1800 628 036.