Northern Territory veterans feel ‘forgotten’ and ‘left out’ in 2022 federal election campaign

Home Health Northern Territory veterans feel ‘forgotten’ and ‘left out’ in 2022 federal election campaign
Northern Territory veterans feel ‘forgotten’ and ‘left out’ in 2022 federal election campaign

Afghanistan veteran Matt Hull says the “hardest thing” about being out of the military is simply adapting to life as a civilian again.

“You don’t have to shave every day, you don’t have to do a million push ups just to prove yourself,” he said.

“You can feel a bit lost.

“I got through that period, unfortunately there’s quite a few veterans who didn’t.”

One day out from the federal election, Mr Hull – as well as fellow Darwin-based veterans Sam Snell and Hannah Taino-Spick – say ex-servicemen and woman across the Northern Territory have been feeling “forgotten” and “left out” throughout the campaign.

Ms Taino-Spick, a former Royal Australian Air Force member and current Charles Darwin University lecturer, wants political hopefuls to commit “in principle” to adopting all future recommendations from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

“The lack of commitment from this year’s frenzied election campaign, speaks volumes how major parties and their leaders feel about the nations veterans and their families: nothing.”

Ms Taino-Spick said improving the mental health of veterans across Australia should have been a key election issue.

Two people, a woman in a black and white dress and man in a bright orange uniform, walk together outside.
Hannah Taino-Spick and Matt Hull want political candidates to invest in the mental health of Australian veterans.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

Royal Commission report pushed back to 2024

In April, the final report date for the Royal Commission was extended by a year.

It’s now expected to be handed down on June 17, 2024.

Ms Snell, who served in the Royal Australian Navy from 2008 to 2015, is hopeful that the Royal Commission will lead to better supports for veterans and current serving members.

“The recommendations which come out of the Royal Commission will be critical, and they will be scrutinised,” she said. 

The Coalition, Australian Labor Party and The Greens were asked if they would commit to implementing the recommendations from the Royal Commission.

A Labor spokesman said the party wasn’t “going to pre-empt the recommendations of the Royal Commission” but would “carefully consider all of them when they are released”.

Senator Jordon Steele-John, The Greens spokesperson for Veteran’s Affairs, said the party had already committed to establishing a redress scheme for personnel “who have experienced violence and abuse through defence institutions during their time of service” in anticipation of the recommendations being handed down.

The Coalition didn’t respond directly to the question.

A woman with long dark hair looks off camera with a serious expression. She has a black dress and glasses.
Sam Snell served in the Australian Navy from 2008 to 2015.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

‘We’re about bringing everyone together’

Mr Hull is calling on whichever party wins the election tomorrow to work closely with retired and serving personnel throughout the Royal Commission process.

“This is not a time to finger point,” he said.

“This isn’t about division; it’s about coming together.

“Whoever wins on the weekend, just make sure that when it’s all said and done, after it’s all over, I hope that both sides can shake hands with each other and have a beer.

Darwin was recently added as an official location for a public hearing, a move which Ms Taino-Spick welcomed.

However, Ms Taino-Spick said more should and could be done to publicly advertise the addition of the Top End military town.

Darwin’s public hearing is scheduled for October 17, 2022.

Loading form…

Posted , updated 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.