Ceremonial Hearing of the Royal Commission
I attended the Ceremonial Hearing of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide today. Thankfully it was everything I hoped it would be.
The three Commissioners each spoke of their professional and personal backgrounds and what they bring to the Inquiry. In particular, they emphasised their themes of compassion and accountability, the need and credibility of lived experience testimonies, and that it’s not just about warzones, but domestic workplaces and government agencies as well.
Mr Nick Kaldos APM (Chair of the Commission) spoke of the Commission’s requirement to ‘examine, understand and expose all systemic issues and risk factors as well as his operational background as a Police investigator and service in Syria and Iraq.
Hon James Douglas QC spoke of his extensive legal background, his intention to analyse the actions and inactions of both individuals and agencies, as well as his family service history across multiple conflicts and eras, and the impact of that service on his family.
Dr Peggy Brown AO, an eminent psychiatrist, emphasised that it’s not just mental illness that leads to suicide. Suicide is an incredibly complex issue that this Commission seeks to understand the true root causes rather than intermediary issues and symptoms.
There are multiple different methods to provide a submission; verbal, written, online etc. Submissions can be anonymous or identified and requests for hearings can be public or private – entirely at the discretion of the person making the submission. Additionally, free independent legal advice is available for anyone providing a submission.
I urge anyone who has personal experience of Defence or Veteran suicide (be that completed suicide or suicidal ideation) to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the Royal Commission so that you may save lives in the future.