New powers for Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
The Hon Matt Keogh MP
Joint media release
The Parliament has today passed new laws that will support the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to complete its important work ahead of its reporting date of 17 June 2024.
The new laws will do this by making it possible for more people to participate in face-to-face private sessions.
Private sessions enable individuals to share their personal experience with a royal commission in a trauma informed and less formal setting than a hearing.
Currently, only a Commissioner can hold a private session. The Royal Commissions Amendment (Private Sessions) Act 2023 will change this by enabling a suitably qualified, experienced and appropriately senior staff member of the Defence and Veteran Suicide Royal Commission to be authorised as an ‘Assistant Commissioner’ to conduct private sessions.
Since it commenced in July 2021, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has carried out 535 private sessions with another 400 remaining to be done before the Commission reports.
The Albanese Government is committed to supporting the important work of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and this new power will make it possible for the Royal Commission to conduct all of the registered sessions face-to-face.
These changes will also apply to all future royal commissions.
Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or openarms.gov.au.
Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072.
Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or defence.gov.au/health/healthportal.
Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608.