Scott Morrison has confirmed the coalition will not oppose a motion calling for a royal commission into veteran suicides but remains committed to an alternative model.
The prime minister said the non-binding motion would be waved through the House of Representatives, avoiding an embarrassing loss.
“We won’t be opposing that motion at all,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
“We’ve always thought you need something better than and more than a royal commission.
“What we need is a permanent arrangement and that’s what we’ve put into the parliament.”
The government has introduced legislation to establish a permanent agency with the powers of a royal commission to address veteran suicides.
“I’m sure that these two things can come together and we can come to some agreement over the course of this week,” Mr Morrison said.
“I want to do what’s right for veterans.
“Royal commissions are fine but they’re only temporary, they’re not a silver bullet. You need permanent arrangements and support to address the root causes of these issues and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has again challenged the prime minister to establish the royal commission.
“It’s more tricky words from the prime minister, isn’t it? This should be above politics but we get more spin,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“He won’t oppose the motion. How about he supports the motion and support what the parliament is asking for?”
Coalition senators voted with Labor, the Greens and independents to establish a royal commission last week.
The motion notes Australian Defence Force personnel have a suicide rate of less than half of the wider community’s while serving, but nearly twice the general population rate once they leave.
It calls on the Morrison government to establish a royal commission into the rate of suicide among current and former ADF personnel.
The coalition would probably lose the vote if it contested the motion.
Craig Kelly, who quit the Liberal Party last month to become an independent, was prepared to vote in favour.
So too was Queensland independent Bob Katter.
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