Newsletter – Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides

The latest newsletter - Edition 15 - 7 March 2022 (which can be accessed here), contains:

- A link to the Royal Commission’s Interim report published in August 2022 and an update advising that the Government has so far adopted 11 of the recommendations.

- Advice that consultation has commenced to improve the laws governing veterans’ compensation. These laws are set to be overhauled, consolidating three complex compensation schemes into one simplified system. DVA has committed to bring on additional resources to eliminate the backlog of 42,000 unprocessed claims by March 2024.

- The Royal Commission has signed an agreement with Defence and DVA to ensure serving and ex-serving members and Departmental staff can share information with us without the fear of punishment or reprisals.

- A reminder that the Royal Commission has a team of Enquiries Officers and Counsellors who can support you if any of this media coverage raises any questions or impacts you in any way.
- They can be contacted on 1800 329 095 or +61 2 5122 3105, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday AEDT, excluding public holidays. Or via email at
- But if you need urgent or crisis support, see the Crisis Support web page for a list of 24/7 services that can help you.

- The Royal Commission staff travelled to Perth in February 2023 to meet with ex-service organisations and other support groups, and hear from serving members about life on base at Campbell Barracks and HMAS Stirling. 
The Perth public hearings will commence on 15 May 2023.
- In order to garner further insights from our Allies on addressing suicide and suicidality, recent meetings have been held between the Royal Commissioners and New Zealand government and Defence officials. This follows similar fact-finding visits to the United Kingdom and Canada in 2022. 

- There is still time to share your story with the Royal Commission – applications for private sessions close on 28 April 2023, while submissions close on 13 October 2023. Every story is important and will help us make a difference. You can choose to remain anonymous when making a submission.
- Strong protections are in place for those who wish to share their story, without fear of reprisal. Counselling and other support is also available. “This Commission is not a witch hunt nor is it about portraying veterans as broken or undermining Australia’s Defence capability,” Commissioner Kaldas said. “We want to find long-lasting solutions to this tragic problem, to ensure our veteran and Defence community, and their families, are better supported into the future.”

- The Royal Commission continues to make strides in making submissions publicly available. So far, we've published more than 400 submissions – and we hope to pick up the pace in the coming weeks.

- Marking diversity.  If you are a serving or ex-serving ADF member who has experienced abuse, bullying, discrimination, harassment or any other form of unacceptable behaviour, we want to hear from you. You can request a private session or make a submission.

- As part of our inquiries, we endeavour to understand the lived experiences of First Nations people in the Australian Defence Force. We have produced a range of resources to help engage with First Nations serving and ex-serving members and their families.

- The final report is expected in June 2024.

Share this with your friends