Greens spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Whish-Wilson, said, “The entire nation was shocked by the revelations of the recent Four Corners episode regarding the prevalence of mental illness and PTSD amongst our defence force personnel returning from deployments and other service.
“Last Remembrance Day, I backed the call by ‘Soldier On’ for Australians to observe an extra minute’s silence to honour those veterans and active members of the defence force who have been severely affected by their service, and those who have been lost to suicide.
“This Inquiry will help shine additional light onto the unique issues some of our defence personnel suffer in their daily lives.
“It will specifically look into matters such as the extent of mental ill health and PTSD among veterans and serving personnel, the adequacy of resourcing for support services available and what is required to tackle veterans’ homelessness and suicide.
“I expect the Committee will take a thorough and diligent approach to this most serious of matters.
“If ever an Inquiry was set up to be about scrutiny and results, not politics, it is this one.
“I am calling on stakeholders, including those in the defence and veterans community, to make submissions. We need to hear from everyone and make sure the Government acts on evidence immediately,” he concluded.
Terms of Reference
The mental health of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who have returned from combat, peacekeeping or other deployment, with particular reference to:
a) The extent and significance of mental ill-health and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returned service personnel;
b) Identification and disclosure policies of the ADF in relation to mental ill-health and PTSD;
c) Record keeping for mental ill-health and PTSD, including hospitalisations and deaths;
d) Mental health evaluation and counselling services available to returned service personnel;
e) The adequacy of mental health support services, including housing support services, provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA);
f) The support available for partners, carers and families of returned service personnel who experience mental ill-health and PTSD;
g) The growing number of returned service personnel experiencing homelessness due to mental ill-health, PTSD and other issues related to their service;
h) The effectiveness of the Memorandum of Understanding between the ADF and DVA for the Cooperative Delivery of Care;
i) The effectiveness of training and education offerings to returned service personnel upon their discharge from the ADF; and
j) Other related matters.