We have the same difficulty as you have in terms of establishing rates of suicide in our veteran community. Our Department of Veterans' Affairs cannot actually say what the rate of suicide is in the veteran community, and this is a major problem.
I mentioned that last weekend there was a newspaper article about suicide. They were trying to work out what the rate of suicide was in the veteran community, and they had to decide. The reporter said that veterans' affairs could not actually give them a figure, so that's a problem.
Every time there's a suicide in our serving defence force population, we report on it. We do a post-event review and look at the factors that might have contributed to the person's suicide. There's normally a commission of inquiry, which looks very closely at the factors that may have contributed to the person's suicide. If there are any issues that need to be explored, then the commission of inquiry looks deeply into those factors, but we can really only report on the suicides within our currently serving population.
As I mentioned, at the moment we're running at about six or seven suicides a year. Our ADF population is not large; it's about 70,000, from memory, and if you look at our rates of suicide in our defence force compared with the Australian general population, we're running at about 60% of the general population if you match them for demographics, age, and gender. If you look at the people in our defence force who have died by suicide and match them by age and gender to the Australian population, we're running at about 60% of the rate for the national population. We're not overly happy with that statistic. We would like to get it down even further.
Later this year we are going to be conducting a major evaluation of our suicide prevention program initiatives. We are going to get an external consultant to come in and conduct the evaluation of all of our suicide prevention program initiatives.