ADSO Welcomes the Commission’s Interim Report into Defence and Veteran Suicide

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide is focused on the identification of systemic problems and solutions to suicide and suicidality among serving and ex-serving ADF members. It is vitally important to our Defence Family’s wellbeing.

The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) is the Defence Family’s advocate to governments, parliaments, and the Australian people. Its role is to protect the wellbeing of the Defence Family and to protect their service entitlements.

Kel Ryan

Kel Ryan, The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) national spokesperson, welcomes the Royal Commission’s Interim Report and acknowledges the exceptional work of the Commissioners who to date have received over 1,900 submissions and interviewed 194 persons many of whom are lived experience witnesses.  

The Report summarises their work to date, comments on preliminary observations and makes 13 recommendations about urgent and immediate issues including timelines for implementation. Key recommendations include:

  • Clearing the backlog of Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) claims by 31 March 2024 and that the Australian Government provide the necessary resources to ensure this occurs;  
  • Simplifying and harmonising complex and confusing veteran compensation and rehabilitation laws;
  • Increasing legal protections for serving and ex-serving ADF members to engage with the Royal Commission;
  • The exemption of the Royal Commission from parliamentary privilege, to make it easier for the inquiry to hold Defence and DVA to account; and
  • For Defence and DVA to improve access for serving and ex-serving members (and their families) to their service information, including medical records.

Read the full Report here

Royal Commissioners, Nick Kaldas APM (Chair), The Hon James Douglas QC and Dr Peggy Brown AO presented the Interim Report to the Governor-General, His Excellency, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) on 11 August 2022.

The Commission will now continue its “deep dive” into the analysis of those and other related issues, including suicide prevention and wellbeing, the role and support of families, ADF culture and transition to civilian life, before releasing its full Report in June 2024.

In 2023, it will deliver a special report that considers what form of permanent entity might follow this Royal Commission to sustain the momentum for change and maximise achievement of the outcomes envisaged by the Royal Commission.

“I encourage the Defence Family members to help the Commission by making their own submissions to the Inquiry and to support each other”. A National Legal Advice Service (DAVLS) has been established to help people who wish to engage with the Royal Commission. It is a free service.

 “Transition from service to civilian life is a significant event for ADF members and their families. ADSO stands ready to collaborate with all parties to support and implement the Commission’s recommendations”

Mr. Ryan said


Urgent support. If you require urgent or immediate help, please call: Triple zero (000) or present to your local emergency department.

Support services

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 24-hour counselling via telephone, online and video

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 24-hour crisis support line Nightly text line 0477 131 114

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 Free, immediate, short-term counselling via phone, webchat or email

1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 24-hour counselling service for sexual assault, family and domestic violence

Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491 For men concerned about their own use of violence or abuse information

Open Arms 1800 011 046 Free and confidential, 24/7 national counselling service for Australian veterans and their families, provided through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)

Defence Member and Family Helpline 1800 624 608 Defence All-hours Sup

ADSO comprises The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), Naval Association of Australia (NAA), RAAF Association (RAAFA), Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC), Australian Special Air Service Association (ASASA), the Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women, the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia, Partners of Veterans Association of Australia, Royal Australian Armoured Corps Corporation (RAACC), the National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia (NMBVAA), Defence Reserves Association (DRA), Australian Gulf War Veterans Association, Australian Commando Association, the War Widows Guild of Australia, Military Police Association Australia (MPAA), the Australian Army Apprentices Association, the Women Veterans Network, and the Combat Support Association.


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