Top vet urges PM on suicide probe
AUSTRALIA'S most decorated soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has joined calls for the government to hold a royal commission into veteran suicide on the back of a Daily Telegraph summit which sparks state government support for a probe.
Speaking on Alan Jones this morning, the esteemed veteran described the system as "broken" and joined a growing chorus of voices calling for a royal commission.
Roberts-Smith on Thursday morning told the 2GB host that a royal commission into the issue is critical to uncover the extent of failures within defence to support bruised soldiers.
The comments come after six brave mothers of veterans who died by suicide voiced their call for a royal commission at the Save Our Heroes Summit hosted by The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.
"When we get an independent review which confirms what we're talking about - that over 500 veterans have committed suicide since the start of the year - - we need to realise what is going on in the system isn't working, it's broken, which is why we need a royal commission."
A probe of the issue is likely to uncover more systemic failures within the system, Roberts-Smith said.
"I think that if we start looking we will realise there are more problems we're not aware of. "
When asked by Jones if the message was getting through to the government, he said a formal probe was the only solution.
"We should have a royal commission. The Prime Minister should act sooner rather than later … We need to understand this is just not an isolated incident for the government to deal with."
A culture of denial in defence about mental health is at the heart of the problem - and needs to be addressed head-on with a royal commission, he said.
"Leaders need to understand what they are accountable and responsible for so they can stop the issue happening."