STATE governments are lining up to support calls for a royal commission into the shocking rate of military suicide, while the federal minister in charge of veteran care has been accused of undermining the campaign to secure one.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester was accused in a fiery interview with 2GB radio host Ben Fordham of being “privately critical” of The Daily Telegraph’s Save Our Heroes campaign.
“Privately you are being extremely critical of the Save Our Heroes campaign … so don’t pretend you’re a fan,” Fordham told the minister.
It is understood Mr Chester’s social media account wrote to a prominent member of the media saying the Save Our Heroes campaign caused “more harm than good”.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday backed a royal commission.
STATE governments are lining up to back calls for a royal commission into the shocking rate of military suicide, while the federal minister in charge of veteran care has been privately criticising the campaign to make it happen.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester (pictured right) has denied any suggestion he is trying to undermine The Daily Telegraph’s Save Our Heroes campaign.
In a fiery interview 2GB radio host Ben Fordham yesterday accused Mr Chester of being “privately critical” of the campaign.
“I have spoken to The Daily Telegraph and supported them in their campaign,” Mr Chester said.
Fordham hit back suggesting Mr Chester was not telling the full story.
“Are you seriously telling me that,” Fordham asked.
“No you are not are you, because privately you are being extremely critical of the Save Our Heroes campaign … so don’t pretend you’re a fan even if you’ve sucked up to them in hindsight and telling them you are.”
It is understood Mr Chester’s social media account wrote to prominent members of the media several months ago saying the Save Our Heroes campaign caused “more harm than good”.
“If we portray (veterans) all as broken, it becomes impossible to get them jobs after service,” the message said.
The Minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.
Meanwhile, Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has given her full support to a royal commission, while South Australia’s Liberal Premier Steven Marshall has also indicated support. “Veterans’ suicide is a national tragedy and a royal commission certainly deserves consideration,” Mr Marshall said.
A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said she supported the call and would “like to see more done for veterans in the first place”.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian government said the state was already looking into support and services provided to veterans in its own royal commission into mental health. “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue and we would welcome any federal involvement,” she said.
It comes as Labor leader Anthony Albanese expressed full support for a royal commission.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under increasing pressure to call the inquiry and said yesterday he would consider all options over the Christmas break.
“I’ve given an undertaking that we will continue to reflect on these things over the break before making a decision on this matter.
“But I can assure you of this — what I am seeking to do is ensure that whenever a veteran has sadly taken their life … that on every single occasion there must be justice, there must be accountability, there must be learnings and there must be change,” the PM said.