Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

Last updated: 
15 May 2021

On 19 April 2021, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the Government will recommend to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

The Royal Commission is expected to examine the systemic issues and any common themes and past deaths by suicide of Australian Defence Force members and veterans and the experience of members and veterans who may continue to be at risk of suicide.

This includes all aspects of service in the Australian Defence Force and the experience of those transitioning; the availability and quality of health and support services; pre-service and post-service issues for members and veterans; members’ and veterans’ social and family contexts, such as family breakdown, as well as housing and employment issues for members and veterans.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP, is leading a public consultation process to inform the Terms of Reference.

The Royal Commission will have the full range of compulsory powers available to it such as to summon witnesses and hold public hearings, take evidence and compel the production of documents and witness statements.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will participate fully in the process while maintaining the important supports and services to the veteran community.

Information about the Royal Commission, including the Terms of Reference, will continue to be updated on this website.

Find out more

How to provide feedback to the consultation process

The Royal Commission has not yet been formally established at this time and, as such, the Department is not in a position to provide correspondence to the Royal Commission. Processes for engagement with the Royal Commission, including opportunities to make submissions, will be determined by the Royal Commission once established, and will be widely advertised.

The Royal Commission will be independent of government, DVA and Defence.  Minister Chester is leading the consultation to inform the Terms of Reference.  It is usual practice for consultation to occur through the responsible Minister’s department. In this instance, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is facilitating this consultation process.

This ensures stakeholders at the centre of this Royal Commission are identified using existing networks to inform the issues for consideration by this nationally significant inquiry. Importantly, feedback from the consultation process will be provided to the Attorney-General and her department. After the consultation period, the Attorney-General's Department will draft the Terms of Reference and provide administrative support to the Royal Commission.

This consultation process only seeks input to inform the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission. Feedback should not include personal stories nor experiences. The Office of the National Commissioner continues to hear stories from families, serving and ex-serving members who have been affected by defence member and veteran deaths by suicide. Please visit the Office of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention website for more information.

Feedback closes at 5pm on Friday 21 May 2021.

Provide feedback to the consultation process

Alternatively, hard copy feedback may be sent to:

Consultation for Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
GPO Box 9998
Brisbane  QLD  4001

Get support if you need it

For anyone who is struggling, mental health support is available 24/7. Please reach out to Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 or visit the Open Arms website.

In addition, anyone who has served even one day in the ADF may be eligible for free mental health treatment for life. Known as Non-Liability Health Care, it is available to serving or ex-serving personnel whether or not there’s a link between their condition and their military service.