Lived experience witnesses to share their stories at Darwin hearing
The family of a man who died by suicide at Robertson Barracks earlier this year will be among the lived experience witnesses to share their story at the seventh public hearing of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide in Darwin.
On the opening day of the Darwin hearing, the Commission was told that John and Robyn Halloran will next week speak about their son, Private Thomas Halloran who died in April.
Counsel Assisting the Commission, Peter Singleton thanked the Hallorans' for speaking to the Commission while "still very much in the process of recovering from the shock and pain of their indescribable loss."
Mr Singleton said Private Halloran's experience in the ADF touched on important issues being explored by the Commission.
"Those issues include the medical care and support provided after injury, bullying, and the effectiveness of disciplinary action."
"The manner in which John and Robyn learned of their son's death will also be highlighted during their lived experience evidence," he said.
First Nations veteran Paul Walker, a former Army signalman, will also give lived experience evidence and will talk about Army culture.
Commission Chair Nick Kaldas continued to urge current serving members to engage with the Commission.
"Please know that we have received public and private assurances from the Chief of Defence Force that no serving member will be penalised for speaking to us," he said.
"We have strong protections in place to ensure that what you tell us will remain confidential - and you can even choose to make an anonymous submission if you wish."
The seven-day hearing will also focus on issues around deployment, including critical incidents, medical waivers, and mental and physical health-screening processes.
The ADF's processes regarding recruitment, marketing and advertising to Defence populations that are of higher risk of suicide and suicidality will also be explored.
The Royal Commission has so far received more than 2,500 written submissions from individuals and organisations across Australia, including 57 from the Northern Territory.
The hearing, at the Hilton Darwin Hotel, will sit until October 27 and is open to the public.
Those unable to attend in person can watch via livestream on the Royal Commission website.
Anyone affected by Defence and veteran suicide is encouraged to make a submission and supports are in place to help with the process.