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Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention appointed

02 Oct 2020

The National Mental Health Commission welcomes the Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter’s announcement of the appointment of Dr Bernadette Boss, CSC, as the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.

Christine Morgan said, “While my role as the Prime Minister’s Suicide Prevention Adviser will stay focussed on developing options to improve the whole-of-government coordination and delivery of suicide prevention activities across portfolios, the specific focus on defence personnel, veterans and their families is welcomed. The appointment of an interim Commissioner can only strengthen our national approach to suicide prevention.”

Subject to passage of legislation currently before the Parliament, Dr Boss’ role will be formalised as the National Commissioner with powers broadly equivalent to a Royal Commission to:

  • inquire into the circumstances of past and future ADF member and veteran deaths by suicide, including suspected deaths by suicide
  • hear about the impact of ADF member and veteran deaths by suicide on families and others who are affected
  • make findings and recommendations to the Australian Government; and
  • promote the understanding of suicide risks for ADF members and veterans, and factors that can improve the wellbeing of ADF members and veterans.

“I look forward to working with Dr Bernadette Boss, CSC, to ensure that our broader review and advice can inform and support the work of the Commissioner going forward, meaning that Australians get the right support at the right time,” said Ms Morgan.

More information about the Commissioner’s work and Terms of Reference are available at