House debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2012; Second Reading

7:10 pm

Photo of Luke SimpkinsLuke Simpkins (Cowan, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 tonight, because it was just on Saturday that the commemoration of Vietnam Veterans Day took place. I had the honour of attending two ceremonies in Perth. First there was the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia WA Branch's ceremony at the very impressive Vietnam War memorial in Kings Park. The service was very well attended. There were veterans of the Vietnam War and friends and relatives of those who gave their lives for a good cause. There was also the Premier's representative, Mr Michael Sutherland MLA. Although a list said that the opposition leader of WA would attend, he was not actually there. I was there. In fact, as it turned out I was the only representative from federal parliament at that event, which I think is a little bit sad. But I think that, as I talk about this bill tonight and the amendment from the member for Fadden, possibly we can see why the federal government was not represented at that event. But it was a very good event. It was a service that ran well. I would also pay tribute to Major General John Hartley AO (Retired), the National President of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Association. Major General Hartley spoke very well about the realities of the war that took place with Australian involvement between 1962 and 1973. Major General Hartley spoke about what happened in the war and how it is important to keep the support of the public—otherwise wars can be lost.

The second event that I went to to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day was later in the afternoon, at the Ballajura RSL. The Ballajura RSL is based at Ballajura Community College, which includes the Ballajura War Memorial and Peace Park, a park and place of reflection and commemoration that was paid for in significant part by the Howard government through a couple of different grants. I thank President Mike Gilmour, Scotty Alcorn, Barry Burley and Brian Rose, and the members, families and friends of the Ballajura sub-branch of the RSL. I thank them for the opportunity to speak at that commemoration.

This bill—


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