• Tony Bosworth

Royal Commission into veteran suicides welcomed by MP Templeman

It’s a staggering fact, and a timely one too with ANZAC Day almost here – since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, we have lost more military veterans to suicide than soldiers killed in combat.

Yesterday, the Federal government announced there would be a Royal Commission into veteran suicides and it’s been welcomed by Federal MP Susan Templeman.

L-R - Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann, Windsor RSL Secretary Leon Walker, members Brian and Bonnie Rieusset, and President Dave Ingram, Blackheath and Mt Victoria RSL sub-branch member Tony Jaques, and MP Susan Templeman.

“The April 19 announcement of the Royal Commission will be a relief for many, and a testament to their determination to give the tragic loss of life the respect it deserves,” Ms Templeman said.

“I have stood with Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains veterans and their families in repeatedly calling for a Royal Commission into veterans’ suicide.

“Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, we have lost more veterans to suicide than soldiers killed in combat. A dozen have taken their own life already this year.”

Veteran mental health and suicide rates was one of the issues raised by local vets at a roundtable event hosted by Ms Templeman and Shadow Veterans Affairs Minister Shayne Neumann in Richmond last month.

Mr Neumann had told those at the event more needed to be done to tackle defence and veteran suicides, particularly as the mental health of many current and former defence personnel had been affected by the Brereton Report into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Macquarie electorate – which covers Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains, is home to a large Defence and veteran population, being the location of both Richmond RAAF Base and RAAF Base Glenbrook.

“Serving and former Defence personnel are an integral part of our local community,” Ms Templeman said.

“I want to thank every person who has contacted me pleading for a Royal Commission to happen, including those who raised it at my roundtable with Mr Neumann.

“Defence personnel put their lives on the line to look after our nation. We have a duty to look after them in return.

“It’s now up to the government to consult widely and wisely on processes, timelines and Terms of Reference, and I will stand alongside veterans and their families to ensure they do that.”

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