daily telegraph special – Julie-Ann Finney meeting with Shadow Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
daily telegraph special – Julie-Ann Finney meeting with Shadow Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith

PM considers calls for veteran suicide royal commission

FEDERAL member for Blair and Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann is backing calls for a royal commission into veteran suicide.

It comes after Labor leader Anthony Albanese endorsed the campaign earlier this week, after meeting with Julie-Ann Finney, whose son David died by suicide earlier this year.

"We can do better. We must do better. We need a royal commission into veteran suicide," Mr Albanese said.

Mr Neumann said with 6000 people leaving the military every year, enough was enough.

"More than 400 people have died since 2001 and we can't tolerate this senseless loss of life," Mr Neumann said.

"I think the Government should take the initiative, follow our lead, do the right thing, establish a royal commission for veteran's suicide as soon as possible."

"Most of those are in their mid to late 20s or early 30s and in these circumstances, the transition to normal civilian life can become very difficult for some people," he said.

"Clearly the data shows that for those people who are ex-service men and women, they're more likely to be at risk of mental illness and suicide then they were in service and more likely to be at far greater risk than they would be if they were civilians that hadn't served.

"There's a whole range of things that needs to be done. We need better recognition of qualifications, skills and employment, we need better assistance in terms of continuing support in mental health and other types of support."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has opened the door to calling for a royal commission in the new year.

Mr Morrison, who has also met with Ms Finney, flagged further action to address veteran suicides.

"I have remained open to this question and I remain open to this question," he told parliament on Tuesday.

"We will continue to reflect on these things over the break before making a decision on this matter."

 

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