Defense and veteran groups welcomed the wide scope of a newly announced royal commission into suicides in Australia’s military.
Australian Veterans’ Families Welcome Suicide Inquiry
CANBERRA, Australia — Julie-Ann Finney has fought long and hard for a royal commission into veteran suicides and now that it’s real, she’s a little frightened. Finney expects the inquiry to show exactly what went wrong before her son, David, took his own life in 2019.
“I’m frightened of seeing what my son went through, I’m frightened of seeing what help he didn’t get when he was so obviously outspoken about mental health issues and posttraumatic stress disorder,” she said to the reporters.
“I’m frightened of finding out why he died when he didn’t have to.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on July 8 revealed the scope and timing of the inquiry to be led by an ex-police officer, a former judge, and a psychiatrist.
They will look at all aspects of service, including what happens when people leave the armed forces. The availability and quality of health and support services will be examined, as well as other issues faced by Australian Defense Force members such as housing and employment.
The Australian Defense Force is the military organization responsible for the defense of Australia and its national interests. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, and several “tri-service” units.
The Royal Australian Air Force is the principal aerial warfare force of Australia, a part of the Australian Defense Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army. The Royal Australian Navy is the principal naval force of Australia, a part of the Australian Defense Force along with the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.
The commission will also be able to look at any previous death by suicide, including suspected suicides.
Australia Defense Association executive director Neil James was pleasantly surprised with the inquiry’s scope.
“Many people thought they’d weasel out of this by rigging the terms of reference, and they appear not to have weaseled out of it, probably because of the public outrage that would cause,” he said.
James was also pleased the commission would investigate the role played by the defense and veterans’ affairs departments.
“There are too many laws, they are too complex and their administration is too bureaucratic,” he said. Finney said David would be proud “because this is what he wanted”.
“He wanted every veteran to feel safe to feel supported and that’s what we’ll keep fighting for,” she said.
The commission is due to deliver its interim report in August 2022 and a final report the following June.
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)