The federal government has named Bernadette Boss as the new interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.
Since 2012 Boss has served as a magistrate and coroner of the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court and also served in various command and staff roles in the Australian Defence Force where she was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross.
“Dr Boss’ significant experience as both a magistrate and coroner, coupled with her understanding of human rights issues and experience in the Australian Defence Force, make her well placed to engage with the families, friends and communities affected by the loss of a loved one,” Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement on Sept. 30.
“Her office will be truly independent and deliver genuine transparency as it helps to uncover the root causes and contributing factors in ADF member and veteran deaths by suicide.”
Porter said the commissioner will have powers broadly equivalent to a royal commission to investigate suspected deaths by suicide by former or serving ADF members and make recommendations to the government
Boss said the issue of suicide disproportionately affected the defence and veteran community.
“I know many families, serving and ex-serving ADF members and others who have been calling for action in response to these tragic deaths. I want to hear their stories,” she said.
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