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21       Defence— Veterans’ suicide—Proposed Royal Commission

Senator Lambie, also on behalf of Senators Patrick and Kitching, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 703—That the Senate—

(a)              notes that:

(i)                    suicide by current and former Australian Defence Force members continues to claim at least a life a week,

(ii)                  on 5 February 2020, the Prime Minister said his National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention would be ‘bigger and better than a Royal Commission’, and

(iii)                on 27 February 2020, the Senate disagreed with the Prime Minister;

(b)              again condemns the Morrison Government’s proposed National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention as a poor imitation of a Royal Commission;

(c)              believes that nothing short of a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide can address this painful and ongoing scourge; 

(d)             expresses its view that:

(i)                    the Prime Minister’s National Commissioner will have neither the power, nor the resources, of a Royal Commission, and can in no way be considered ‘bigger and better’, 

(ii)                  any insistence on this unproven, experimental model over the proven and successful model of a Royal Commission is made knowing that it risks making things worse, not better;

(e)              calls on the Morrison Government to establish a Royal Commission into Veterans’ Suicide, with a clear start and end date; and

(f)               invites the Royal Commissioner to recommend that a standing, permanent capability be established to oversee reform, should the Commissioner see fit to do so.

Statement by leave : The Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries (Senator Duniam), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 32

Senators—

Ayres

Farrell

Lines

Sheldon

Bilyk

Faruqi

McAllister

Siewert

Brown

Gallacher

McCarthy

Sterle

Carr

Gallagher

McKim

Urquhart*

Chisholm

Green

O’Neill

Walsh

Ciccone

Hanson

Patrick

Waters

Di Natale

Hanson-Young

Pratt

Watt

Dodson

Lambie

Rice

Whish-Wilson

 

 

NOES, 29

Senators—

Antic

Duniam

McKenzie

Ruston

Askew

Fierravanti-Wells

McLachlan

Ryan

Brockman

Henderson

Molan

Scarr

Canavan

Hughes

O’Sullivan

Seselja

Chandler

Hume

Paterson

Smith, Dean*

Colbeck

McDonald

Rennick

Stoker

Cormann

McGrath

Reynolds

Van

Davey

 

* Tellers

Question agreed to.