Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has been scheduled to give evidence on Friday before the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The commission began its sixth public hearing on Monday with an opening statement from the counsel assisting, Kevin Connor SC.
Mr Connor said Ms Lambie will speak about her experience dealing with the Veterans’ Affairs Department after she was injured during her military service in the 1990s.
“Senator Lambie was, as you well know, a strong advocate for this Royal Commission,” Mr Connor said.
“Senator Lambie has her own lived experience. She served in the Australian Army as a soldier for 11 years from 1989 to 2000. Senator Lambie suffered a back injury during her army career (and was) medically discharged in 2000.
“We expect you will hear from Senator Lambie about some of her lived experience of her time in the army, and her long and difficult dealings with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs following her medical discharge.”
The commission also heard State Veterans’ Affairs Minister Guy Barnett will give evidence, on Tuesday.
For the first time, the hearing will investigate recruitment to the Australian Defence Force, including screening processes, psychological testing and retention.
The Hobart hearing will also focus on wellbeing centres and ex-service organisations, post traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention and support for families.
Other witnesses with lived experience will share their stories, and are expected to shine a spotlight on the systemic risk factors which may lead to suicide and suicidality.
“Every death by suicide is a tragedy, and sadly too many serving and ex-serving Defence members still feel that there is no alternative pathway,” Commission chair Nick Kaldas said.
“Support is available to help you contribute to our important work and to help save the lives of others.”
More than 1900 submissions have been received so far and there have been 162 private sessions.
These will be the last public hearings before an interim report is delivered on August 11.
It will focus on issues needing urgent action, as well as some preliminary observations.
Final recommendations will be delivered in June 2024.
Source: News AU