ADF breached privacy laws to discredit sailor after he made a complaint.

A former navy diver has broken down at an inquiry, alleging the ADF breached privacy laws to discredit him after he made a complaint

Story by ABC court reporter Jamelle Wells

The final block of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide sitting in Sydney is focusing on leadership and accountability.

Witness John Armfield told the Commission today that after his brother Andrew took his own life in 2011, it was months before he could obtain a copy of an internal report.

It arrived by registered post, and he sobbed as he read the document alone outside his local post office.

“I was sitting in my car broken. I had loyally served my nation. I had recruited for my nation…..they left me on my own.”

The witness said he received letters dismissing his complaint about the report process and lack of support.

He sought counselling, but alleged ADF officials tried to discredit him.

Mr Armfield said privacy laws were broken after documents about his mental health and his brother’s suicide were placed in an internal electronic document storage system called “Objective.”

“We are not the cause of the ADF’s troubles. Our data analysis has confirmed that their greatest enemy lies within the ADF itself and its resistance to change,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles and Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Keogh are due to give evidence on Thursday.


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