Royal Commission: Coalition wants veterans voice back in Cabinet to secure urgent action.

Royal Commission: Coalition wants veterans voice back in Cabinet to secure urgent action.

15 Aug 2022

·      Coalition urges Prime Minister to reverse decision to dump Veterans Minister from Cabinet

·      Coalition at the ready to help government expedite reforms recommended by Royal Commission

·      Report highlights why Royal Commission was essential for the welfare of defence and veteran community.


The Coalition has welcomed the tabling of the interim report from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Barnaby Joyce, said the Royal Commission was instigated by the Coalition, and now the current Government had the responsibility of implementing it.

Mr Joyce confirmed the Coalition was at the ready to assist the government expedite any necessary reforms through the Parliament in keeping with recommendations to fast-track legislation to streamline veterans’ entitlements.

“We look forward to working constructively to bring about the process and improvements required for dealing with such things as the backlog of claims, but it is the role of the new Government to spell out in a deliberate fashion exactly how they are going to do it,” he said.

He said the report’s recommendations required swift action from government; and were best navigated through the bureaucratic, budgetary, and parliamentary processes with the voice of veterans being restored at the Cabinet table.

“Having Veteran’s Affairs languishing in the outer Ministry with the Minister for Republic, does not show proper respect for the importance of these issues in need of reform,” he said.

“The Coalition brought about the McKinsey report; the Coalition instigated the Royal Commission; and the Coalition elevated Veterans’ Affairs to the front bench. Now the Labor Government, in a recommendation to itself, should re-instigate Veterans’ Affairs to the front bench to deal with the paramount importance of the royal commission.

Mr Joyce also called on the government to use its upcoming budget to at least match the Coalition’s 2022/23 Budget commitment for additional funding to clear the backlog of unprocessed claims and reduce waiting times.

“The challenge isn’t just in funding the positions; but ensuring the Department works with speed to fill them,” he said.

Mr Joyce said the government had an absolute duty to support defence personnel and veterans along with their families.

“Where that has not happened in the past, under any government, then we are all deeply sorry. But I am heartened that the decision to establish and properly fund a Royal Commission is now clearly starting to give clarity to the depth of the problems, and the road ahead to ensure we give the best possible support,” Mr Joyce said.

“The government can longer look over its shoulder. It must show competency not just in what needs to be done, but in how it is actually going to do it. A lack of detail on delivery indicates less of a chance in delivering,” he said.


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