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Wednesday, April 17 2024

Aus under pressure to establish suicide inquiry for veterans

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Canberra:  The Australian government is under mounting pressure to establish a royal commission into veterans’ suicide.

The lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives, is set to vote on the proposed inquiry within days after the Senate unanimously votes in favour of a motion calling for a royal commission, reports Xinhua news agency.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed to establish a national commissioner for defence and veteran suicide prevention, legislation for which is stalled in the Senate.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported recently that as many as six government MPs have told the Prime Minister they will vote in favour of the royal commission, which would mean it has the support to be passed.

And the motion noted that members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are half as likely as the general population to take their own lives before serving but twice as likely once they leave.

Heston Russell, a former Special Air Service (SAS) major and proponent of the inquiry, said that the royal commission had become a “symbol of hope” for veterans.

However, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the government would continue to push for the commissioner.

“We’ll continue to try to convince the parliament that model doesn’t just give the one off impact of a royal commission but can achieve the lasting impact of saving veterans lives,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

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