26 March 2021
The Returned & Services League (RSL) will fully support the establishment of whatever body is approved by the Australian Parliament to deal with the scourge of veterans’ suicide including a Royal Commission.
RSL National President Greg Melick said while the majority of the RSL favoured a standing commission into veterans’ suicide, which in effect would be a standing Royal Commission with powers to follow up its own recommendations, rather than a ‘one off’ Royal Commission, all members would fully support any like body approved by Parliament.
General Melick called for immediate action with no further delay.
He said veterans and veterans’ organisations were tired of their needs being subjected to political processes and that the collapse of bi-partisan support for an enduring commission was both unfortunate and disappointing.
“The issue of veterans’ mental health and veteran suicide is far too important to argue over”.
“The RSL’s wish is for politicians of all persuasions to start contributing to solutions to veteran mental health issues,” he said.
“As has been noted in the current debate, less than one in four of the recommendations of the many previous inquiries into veterans’ mental health issues have been implemented, so the time for action is long-passed.
General Melick said the sooner the Royal Commission or like body was established, the sooner proper support could be provided to veterans.
“Please, establish it immediately and let us move forward including a commitment to implement any interim recommendations rather than awaiting a final report,” he said.