Victoria Police Minister Wade Noonan will take a three months’ leave from work due to the toll of “constant exposure to details of unspeakable crimes and traumatic events,” The Guardian reports.
Noonan announced in a statement on Monday that he will seek professional counselling. “It has been difficult to cope with the constant exposure to details of unspeakable crimes and traumatic events that are an everyday part of my role and accumulation of these experiences has taken an unexpected toll,” Noonan said in a statement.
Noonan thanked his family and wife for their “love and encouragement.” Noonan’s tenure as a police and corrections minister included the proceedings of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s sexual harassment case against the police force and the murder cases of 11-year-old Luke Batty and Doncaster schoolgirl Masa Vukotic.
Beyondblue, a mental health organization, praised Noonan for his decision. The former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett also praised Noonan. He said that an individual’s health is more important than the politics of the day.
“Wade Noonan has admitted to being affected by some of the more personal and human aspects of his job. He has sought time out to get professional help to deal with those matters,” Kennett said. He cited the experience of former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik who took a leave of absence to treat depression before successfully returning to the job, The Age reports.
“At Victoria Police, we know all too well the impact of mental health in the emergency services sector. I wish him [Noonan] and family well over the coming months,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said.
Finance Minister Robin Scott will take over the Police and Corrections Minister position during Noonan’s absence. Noonan said he was looking forward to resuming both his roles in due course.