Scott Morrison will not oppose a push to establish a royal commission into veteran suicides.
A showdown was brewing after several Liberal MPs and party defector Craig Kelly threatened to cross the floor to support an inquiry.
The motion will go before the House of Representatives on Monday after it received the support of the Senate last week.
Veterans had planned to protest outside the parliament to put pressure on the government to establish a royal commission.
But in a move to prevent the government from more humiliation – after just one of its several industrial relations reforms passed last week – the Prime Minister told 2GB that he would help pass the motion.
“We won’t be opposing that motion at all,” Mr Morrison said.
Despite the backing, Mr Morrison signalled he would continue to push the government’s position for a permanent inquiry into veteran suicides.
“Royal commissions are fine but they are only temporary, they are not a silver bullet,” he said.
“You need permanent arrangements to address the root causes of these issues and that’s what we committed to doing worth with the parliament.
“I’m sure that these two things can come together and we can come to some sort of agreement over the course of this week.”
But Labor leader Anthony Albanese blasted Mr Morrison’s response.
“The Prime Minister needs to listen,” Mr Albanese said.
“We need to establish a royal commission, and it should be established now.”
In an emotional speech to the parliament, veteran and Herbert MP Phillip Thompson spoke directly to veterans and family members in the public gallery.
“The black hole in my heart from my 10 mates that have died is no where need to the pain that you must have been enduring this whole time,” Mr Thompson said to the loved ones of those who have died.
“I’m sorry you’ve had to come all this way to sit in the chamber and listen to us speak. Again, that would only make you relive all these harsh times.”
Mr Thompson, who held back tears, said he felt “physically ill” talking about people’s friends and family members who had taken their own lives.
“I don’t want to bury any more people,” he told the parliament.
“I spent years in that dark hole, my wife pulled me out of that hole, and some good friends who gave me a good clip around the ear.
“The hole was that dark that it felt like there was nothing else.”
Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester told the parliament he still believed that the government’s proposed national committee of advanced suicide prevention was good public policy.
“But the federal government does understand that some veterans and grieving families want both,” Mr Chester said.
“They want a royal commission first, and then a permanent national commission to provide enduring support.”
Mr Chester also addressed contentious remarks he made two years ago, when he said he didn’t see the point on spending millions of dollars on a royal commission, when that could be spent on medical specialists helping veterans.
“I know that my words did cause some concern to some veterans,” he said.
“I was confident at that point that we can develop policies that will unite the veteran community and I didn’t mean to cause it.”