Shadow Veterans Affairs Minister Shayne Neumann says Labor will provide whatever assistance is necessary to the Royal Commission into veteran suicide. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Shadow Veterans Affairs Minister Shayne Neumann says Labor will provide whatever assistance is necessary to the Royal Commission into veteran suicide. Picture: Alix Sweeney

MP backs Royal Commission into veteran suicide

BLAIR MP Shayne Neumann says this week’s long-awaited announcement of a Royal Commission into veteran suicide will provide an opportunity for grief stricken family members to have their voices heard.

Mr Neumann, who is also the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, said veterans and their families had been calling for a Royal Commission since 2019.

“Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, we have lost more veterans to suicide than soldiers killed in combat, while more than 18 defence personnel and veterans have taken their own lives this year alone,” Mr Neumann said.

“While we are disappointed this has taken so long, Labor now stands ready to work with the Government in a bipartisan way to ensure this Royal Commission is vested with all the powers and resources it needs.”

Mr Neumann said the Government needs to consult widely and wisely on processes, timelines and Terms of Reference.

He also said the commissioner must be independent of the Australian Defence Force to ensure transparency and trust in the process.

Mr Neumann said he is open to a permanent body being tasked to tackle veteran suicide, but only if this is a recommendation coming out of the Royal Commission.

“I acknowledge the work of Julie-Ann Finney and Karen Bird, and the other brave mothers and families of veterans,” he said.

“They have campaigned tirelessly for a Royal Commission, despite the personal grief and pain they have experienced.

“Many parents of veterans who have tragically taken their own lives have advocated for a Royal Commission saying it will allow them an opportunity to have their say and be heard, while providing a powerful voice for their children.”