HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 22 MARCH 2021
I shan't detain the House long. But I did want to add my voice to the many who've spoken in favour of a royal commission into the issue of veteran suicides.
The number of veterans who have written to me on this issue is astonishing. A man who wrote to me on Saturday night said:
'As a veteran who served 30 years and did tours of Somalia, Afghanistan, two in Iraq, one in East Timor and one in Timor-Leste, I would like to thank the Senate for voting to have a royal commission into veteran and serving ADF member suicides. I have suffered from PTSD since 1994 and recently it became the catalyst for my medical retirement from the workforce. I implore my local federal members and the Senate to vote for a royal commission.'
As other members have noted, members of the military are half as likely to take their own lives as members of the general community but veterans are twice as likely to take their own lives. We have lost many more veterans to suicide than we have lost serving ADF personnel on the battlefield.
I am yet to receive a single piece of correspondence—a single letter, a single telephone call—from anyone opposing a royal commission. I want to be able to look veterans in the eye and say that I supported a royal commission. I hope every member of this House does so too.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.