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Frequently Asked Questions

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A Royal Commission is a public inquiry. In Australia, Royal Commissions are the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance.

A Royal Commission has broad powers to gather information to assist with its inquiry. The Royal Commission has the power to summons witnesses to appear before it and the power to request individuals or organisations produce documents as evidence.

The terms of reference sets out the key areas of investigation for the Royal Commission.

There is a legal advice service for people wishing to engage with the Royal Commission.

Family members who seek access to materials held by Defence or DVA about their loved ones in order to engage with the Royal Commission, for example to make a submission or prepare to be a witness, may contact the Defence and Veterans Legal Service for advice about obtaining those materials from Defence or DVA or other legal help. The Service can be contacted at or by calling 1800 33 1800 (Monday to Friday).


A submission is a statement to the Royal Commission which assists the Commission in its collection of information that is relevant to the inquiry as set out in the terms of reference.

Yes, you are free to publish and share your own submission once you have sent it to the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission intends to publish some of the submissions that it receives—but only where the person making the submission has indicated that they agree to its publication. However, the Royal Commission reserves the right not to publish certain submissions or to redact information within a submission. This includes circumstances where the information in a submission is not relevant to the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, where matters are subject to a non-publication order, or where there are privacy concerns about the information.

Private sessions

A private session is a confidential meeting with a Commissioner/s where you tell them about your personal experience. You decide what you say and what you do not want to share. Private sessions can happen by telephone, video link or in person.

Family members of defence members and veterans who have died by suicide or who have supported a defence member or veteran with lived experience of suicide behaviour or risk factors.

Defence members and veterans who have lived experience of suicide behaviour or risk factors (including attempted or contemplated suicide, feelings of suicide or poor mental health outcomes).

If you are an advocate and wish to inform the Commission of your client’s experience you are not eligible for a private session but you are encouraged to put in a submission.

A guide to your private session is available for more detailed information


The Royal Commission will publicise its public hearings on the website and elsewhere. You can subscribe to our mailing list for emails from the Royal Commission (including details about hearings). For information about hearings after they have been held (including videos and transcripts), check the Hearings page on the website.

At hearings, the Royal Commission will hear from people identified by Counsel Assisting to appear as a witness and give evidence. Not everyone who makes a submission will appear at a hearing.

Legal financial assistance is available to individuals and entities to assist with meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with engaging with the Royal Commission, including as a witness.