11am, 10th May 2023
Waurn Ponds: IC2.108
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“Digger’s Suicide”: Veterans, Suicidality, and the Media in Australia, 1914-1950
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide represents an important moment in the government’s effort to understand and prevent suicide among serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force. However, while the Commission’s hearings have made headlines in the media, the issues they are covering are not new. This paper explores how veteran suicide was reported in Australian newspapers across the first half of the twentieth century. In doing so, it moves beyond a medico-legal framework to examine the broader political, social and cultural forces that have shaped how veteran suicide has been represented in the media and the implications of this for our understanding of veterans’ health and wellbeing today.
Dr Margaret Hutchison is a lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her research examines the policies and practices of care for Australian veterans and the cultural legacies of war. Her current work focuses on the history of veteran suicide in Australia. Margaret earned a PhD from the Australian National University. She has held a number of academic and research positions, including working as a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University and as a researcher on the Official History of Australian Operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor at the Australian War Memorial.