About the Office of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention
On 5 February 2020, the Australian Government announced the establishment of a new permanent National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention (the National Commissioner). Dr Bernadette Boss CSC has been appointed as interim National Commissioner.
The National Commissioner will examine Australian Defence Force (ADF) and veteran deaths by suicide, with a main focus on supporting the prevention of future deaths. The National Commissioner will not make, review, or overturn coronial findings. However, they will work closely with coroners to support a better mutual understanding of the systemic issues, trends and risk factors relevant to deaths by suicide of serving and ex-serving ADF members.
The interim National Commissioner is conducting a comprehensive Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides. The review is being conducted independently from the Australian Government, including with independence from the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
It will look into risk and protective factors and systemic issues related to suicide risk among serving and ex-serving ADF members, by examining past deaths by suicide, or suspected suicide, of ADF members and veterans.
It will give specific consideration to ADF service, transition out of the ADF, and pre and post-service issues. It will, as relevant, also consider the broader social and cultural factors that may relate to suicide risk.
Subject to the passage of legislation, it is expected that the National Commissioner will have the power to:
- inquire into the circumstances of past and future deaths of serving and ex-serving ADF members by suicide, including suspected deaths by suicide
- hear about the impact of deaths of serving and ex-serving ADF members by suicide on families and others affected
- make findings and recommendations to the Australian Government following such inquiries
- promote the understanding of suicide risk factors for serving and ex-serving ADF members
- protective factors that can improve their wellbeing and prevent suicide.
The National Commissioner is administratively housed within the Attorney-General's Department. Staff of the Office of the National Commissioner are employees of the Attorney-General’s Department.
Staff of the Office of the National Commissioner are responsible for supporting the National Commissioner’s operations, including establishing and implementing its operational policies, procedures and practices. Trauma-informed and restorative principles underpin the policies, procedures and practices of the National Commissioner and their Office.
Engagement with the Australian Defence Force and veteran communities, and their families, is a strong focus for the Office of the National Commissioner. The contributions of families, veterans, advocacy groups, and other interested stakeholders are of key importance to the work of the National Commissioner.
We are seeking the services of candidates from a range of disciplines who are interested in working in the following functions in the Office of the National Commissioner:
- Administration and executive support – including office management, administration, travel, procurement, finance and logistics.
- Policy – including strategic policy, research and analysis, data analysis, complex written work, report writing and briefing.
- Legal - including specialist and general legal advice and support, legal policy, and establishing and implementing relevant processes and procedures to support the National Commissioner in exercising their legislative powers.
- Media and communications – including providing communications and media advice to the National Commissioner, responding to media inquiries, and managing outward facing communication platforms including the website.
- Community engagement – including engaging with the public, answering phone calls from the public, responding to queries from the public, secretariat, and organising meetings, round tables, hearings and the like.
- Facilitation – including providing advice regarding best practice in facilitation and restorative practice, establishing and implementing relevant policies and procedures, and supporting the National Commissioner and members of the public in relevant community engagements.
- Operations – including ICT, records management and security coordination and support, governance and project management.
- Counselling – including counselling and support for members of the public engaging with the National Commissioner, and wellbeing and vicarious trauma prevention and support activities for staff.
Staff may need to be available to undertake frequent travel.
The Office of the National Commissioner is based in Canberra. If offered a role, candidates will generally be expected to meet their own costs in moving to the office locality.
The National Commissioner is not engaging employees on an ongoing (permanent) basis. To fill vacancies, the National Commissioner will use a range of employment methods to engage staff on temporary arrangements, including:
- non-ongoing APS employment (initial periods of up to 18 months with the possibility of extension for the duration of the Royal Commission)
- secondments from other APS and non-APS employers (for specified/agreed terms)
- labour hire contractors (for specified/agreed terms)
- ABN contractors (for specified/agreed terms).
Decisions on how a particular role will be filled will be dependent on a number of business factors applicable at the time of filling each role. How a role will be filled and the employment method that will be offered will be discussed with candidates at their initial interview.
We are committed to providing a flexible, diverse and inclusive workplace.
Who are we looking for?
We seek people who bring external ideas, diverse experience, and global perspectives, and are willing to explore innovative ways of working. People who work for us will display leadership at all levels, apply information effectively in order to solve problems, and work collaboratively to achieve outcomes.
Successful candidates will join a supportive, friendly and collaborative team, working in a fast paced and dynamic environment.
Specific requirements across all of the roles:
- Able to generate innovative solutions, share ideas, and gather/critically analyse information.
- Able to work flexibly to tight timeframes, recognise change in priorities, remain engaged and productive.
- Ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders with a clear view of the desired outcome.
- Understands own expertise, performance, and models the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
- Able to collaborate with team members and internal/external stakeholders, while remaining accountable for actions.
Please refer to the AGD Performance Expectations for more detail.
The range and nature of work within the Office of the National Commissioner requires a workforce that reflects our diverse society. As a staff member of the Office of the National Commissioner, and an employee of the Attorney-General’s Department, you will:
- be part of an inclusive and diverse work environment
- receive a generous starting salary and work conditions
- benefit from supportive learning and development
- be supported by a range of active networks including the Indigenous Employee Network, the Celebrating Ability Network, the Pride Network, the Women’s Network and the Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Network.
To see further information regarding our support for our employees, please see our Workplace Diversity Page.