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19    Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee—Proposed Reference

Senator Lambie amended business of the Senate notice of motion no. 3 by leave and, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved—That—

    (a)   the Senate notes that:

                  (i)   the number of veterans who have served overseas in war and warlike circumstances since 1999 is some 50 000 personnel over 75 000 deployments, which is now approaching the number of Australian veterans who served in Vietnam - 60 000 between 1962 and 1972,

                 (ii)   some reports from ex-service organisations and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members suggest that the number of veterans in our community who have committed suicide may be more than 250 and growing,

                (iii)   the Turnbull Government must now take steps to acknowledge this crisis among so many ADF veterans, and undertake the necessary research so as to measure the scale of the suicide rate,

                (iv)   some ex-service organisations and former ADF members believe that the complexity of Australia’s military compensation schemes, together with administrative failures and slow decision-making by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), is a contributing factor to imposing financial hardship, stress on families, delays in medical treatment, and even homelessness and suicide,

                 (v)   Australian military compensation arrangements must be fair and provide former members of the ADF who suffer a service injury or disease,  and their families, with a strong system of compensation and other benefits,

                (vi)   media reports and discussions with individual veterans, along with feedback from ex-service organisations, have revealed a number of serious issues with the administration, governance and processes of the DVA, and

               (vii)   the last comprehensive government review of the DVA was over five years ago, and is now outdated, and the Turnbull Government must commit to undertaking a thorough review of the DVA, addressing the issues raised above; and

    (b)   that the above matters be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 23 August 2016, with particular reference to:

                  (i)   the reasons why Australian veterans are committing suicide at such high rates,

                 (ii)   previous reviews of military compensation arrangements and their failings,

                (iii)   the Repatriation Medical Authority’s Statements of Principles, claims administration time limits, claims for detriment caused by defective administration, authorised medical treatment, level of compensation payments, including defence abuse, as contained in all military compensation arrangements,

                (iv)   the performance of the DVA, and

                 (v)   any other related matters.

Question put and negatived ( and see entry no. 23 ).

Statement by leave : Senator Lambie, by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.