News National ‘Costly and unwarranted’: RSL blasts inquiry into veteran suicides

‘Costly and unwarranted’: RSL blasts inquiry into veteran suicides

ADF Afghan inquiry
PM Scott Morrison agrees more needs to be done to prepare Australia's soldiers for when they leave the service after a number took their own lives. Photo: ADF
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Scott Morrison is considering ordering a royal commission into veteran suicides, but the RSL has queried the “costly and unwarranted” idea.

The prime minister floated the inquiry after meeting the mothers of six army veterans who took their own lives.

“I haven’t ruled it out, it’s something that I am actively considering,” he told Sky News.

The RSL has warned a royal commission would cost “an enormous amount of money” that could be better spent in other areas to assist veterans.

National president Greg Melick claimed it would also create a “serious distraction” for those working to support ex-servicemen and women.

“A royal commission would be unproductive and would undoubtedly impact adversely on programs supporting the veteran community,” he said on Friday.

“As well, claims that the veterans’ system in Australia is broken and over-burdened by bureaucracy are not backed up by the facts.”

One military mother, Julie-Ann Finney, has collected more than 250,000 signatures calling for a royal commission into military suicides.

She and the five other mothers have blamed the ADF for abandoning their sons, and the Department of Veterans Affairs for not offering enough support.

Mr Melick said it was “simplistic in the extreme” to blame the department for veterans taking their own lives.

“This is particularly so when any fair analysis demonstrates that the department is supporting veterans and dealing with their claims more effectively and faster than most other countries,” he said.

“A costly and unwarranted royal commission will only disrupt these efforts, as well as the good work being undertaken by veterans’ support groups and the department to assist veterans.”

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