Saturday, June 25, 2022

ADF Chief and former ministers to front veteran suicide royal commission

The Chief of the Australian Defence Force and two former ministers for Veterans’ Affairs will give evidence at a public hearing of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, which resumes in Townsville on Monday.

The nine-day hearing, to be held at the Mercure Hotel Townsville, will hear from high-profile witnesses including Chief of Defence, General Angus Campbell and former ministers for Veterans’ Affairs, Andrew Gee and Darren Chester.

General Campbell will be questioned about a range of issues, including Defence culture and monitoring of suicidality within its ranks, while Mr Gee and Mr Chester will be asked about claims processing, funding issues and areas for reform.

Other witnesses will include academics and experts, representatives of ex-service organisations and people with lived experience of suicide and suicide behaviours.

Former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester (file image).

The inquiry will also hear evidence about service life at Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks, training, deployment, and medical transition out of the Defence forces. It will also explore the effects of service life on families.

The hearing will be open to the public and those wishing to attend in person are required to register. Those unable to attend in person can watch via livestream.

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