Julie-Ann Finney, mother of former Royal Australian Navy Petty Officer Dave Stafford Finney who committed suicide last year, has rejected Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposal for a permanent suicide commissioner without a Royal Commission first.
CAPTION: Julie-Ann Finney (right) at Australia’s Parliament House with Colleen Pillen, Nikki Jamieson and Senator Jacqui Lambie.
PM Morrison last week announced a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention with the powers of a Royal Commission, but would, “investigate suicides and related issues as they arise, rather than being restricted by a one-off review looking at past practices”.
Mrs Finney is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister again today and said she was continuing her call for a Royal Commission.
“I just stood in the Parliament House courtyard alongside two amazing mothers – Colleen Pillen and Nikki Jamieson – and Senator Jacqui Lambie and we are united in our call for a Royal Commission,” Mrs Finney said in a statement.
She said that while she was grateful to the prime minister and this government for the announcement of a rolling commissioner, she maintained the new commissioner would only be able to do their job properly if they were informed by the findings of a Royal Commission.
“Currently, the proposed office of the commissioner would only be informed by a review, undertaken by the government, with terms of reference set by the very bodies that need to be investigated,” she said.
“It is vital we properly look back on the 500 or more suicides since 2001, and learn from those tragedies.
“We need to give this commissioner proper evidence, so that we might have proper care for the brave men and women currently serving, and proper justice for those we lost to veterans’ suicide.
“I believe the proposed national commissioner will help save the lives of our bravest, and I commend the government on their ongoing commitment to veterans’ support and wellbeing.
“[But] this will never be over until we drastically improve the well-being of veterans – and that will never happen until we get a Royal Commission.”
Mrs Finney thanked Senator Lambie for inviting today’s delegation to Parliament House to deliver her petition, and thanked the Prime Minister for this government’s ongoing commitment to veterans.
Julie-Ann Finney is proud mother of Dave Stafford Finney, who committed suicide on 2 February last year.
If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.