About the interim National Commissioner
On 5 February 2020, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the creation of a new National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. The commitment to establishing the National Commissioner recognised that too many Defence members and veterans take their own lives, and that action is needed to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent these deaths.
The interim National Commissioner, Dr Bernadette Boss CSC, was appointed on 16 November 2020 to commence important work on the Independent Review into Past Defence and Veteran Suicides, in line with the terms of reference announced by the Government.
On 08 July 2021, the Prime Minister announced the commencement of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. For more information on the announcement, please see the Prime Minister’s media release.
In light of this announcement, Dr Boss was provided with supplementary terms of reference asking her to conclude her work as the interim National Commissioner by 15 September 2021, by producing a report to Government about her work to date on the Independent Review.
At the conclusion of her work, Dr Boss wrote to Defence members, veterans, families and others in the wider Defence community to thank them for participating in her work on the Independent Review. In particular, Dr Boss expressed her sincere thanks to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force for their courage and resilience in sharing their personal experiences and stories with her.
She also enclosed a letter of introduction from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide inviting them to come forward and participate in the work of the Royal Commission. This was attached to her letter of thanks, and can be viewed by clicking on the link above.
Legislation and the future work of the National Commissioner
On 8 July 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020, currently before Parliament, would be amended to allow the National Commissioner function to commence either following the conclusion of the Royal Commission, or at an earlier time if recommended by the Royal Commission.