Base linked to drugs, suicide

A TV report has alleged drug abuse by navy personnel on HMAS Stirling at Garden Island.
A TV report has alleged drug abuse by navy personnel on HMAS Stirling at Garden Island.

The ABC�s 7.30 revealed earlier this week that three sailors, all friends, from the Garden Island base had committed suicide in the space of just over 12 months.

A father of one of the men has started an online petition calling for changes to the Royal Australian Navy�s policy on reporting suicide and mental illness to sailors� families.

The South Metropolitan Region MLC said the Navy should come into line with other industries and test employees.

�Navy personnel should be tested just like FIFO workers or those working on sites in the Western Trade Coast,� he said.

�If they test positive, they should be sacked, it�s simple. If half the personnel are gone after testing, so be it.�

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Defence was �urgently looking into� the reports of suicide and drug abuse on HMAS Stirling.

�I think the culture of Defence is much better now when it comes to the pastoral care of Defence Force personnel than it was in times past, but we can always do better,� he said.

�The fact ice is reaching out, even to Defence Force personnel, indicates the scale of the problem and need for urgent action at every level.�

Mr Edman said ice was an epidemic in Rockingham and Kwinana and had been for many years.

�Ice is an issue for many in this area,� he said.

�I have families constantly contacting me about the drug and its effects on lives.�