Scott Morrison – O’Brien calls for royal commission on veteran suicides
That motion passed but did not compel the government to announce a royal commission. The Prime Minister’s reluctance to initiate a royal commission has triggered criticism from Labor that he is acting too slowly. Half a dozen Coalition MPs have said they are willing to cross the floor to support one.
Mr O’Brien said his veterans affairs spokesman Tim Bull had relayed the Victorian Coalition’s position to their federal counterparts and he was aware Mr Morrison was giving the issue “serious consideration”.
“My message to the federal government is veterans desperately want a royal commission into veteran suicide. And it’s time. It’s time to honour the sacrifice that our veterans have made,” he said.
Mr O’Brien’s announcement of his party’s position means the Victorian Parliament now has bipartisan support for a royal commission.
Victoria’s acting Premier James Merlino criticised the opposition for being “late to the party” on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to give a pat on the back to the state opposition … who’ve just realised this is a serious issue,” he said.
“[We have been calling for this] for months and months and months.”
In March federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison had offered only “weasel words” on veteran suicides.
“It can’t be resisted any more, the government should be calling a royal commission and should be doing one today, given they know that this has been coming for a long period of time,” Mr Albanese said ahead of the vote on the motion for a royal commission in Parliament.
If you are a current or former ADF member, or a relative, and need counselling or support, contact the Defence All-Hours Support Line on 1800 628 036 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.
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Michael is a state political reporter for The Age.