House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Statements by Members

Battle of Long Tan: 52nd Anniversary, Vietnam Veterans Day

1:46 pm

Photo of Kevin AndrewsKevin Andrews (Menzies, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise in the House today to acknowledge the 52nd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and also to acknowledge the Vietnam Veterans Day, which was held on Saturday this past weekend. In doing so I'd like to acknowledge all of those Australians who served in Vietnam and, indeed, all those Australians that have served in each of the conflicts which this country has been engaged in.

The Vietnam conflict was the longest military engagement that this country was involved in last century—longer than the First World War, longer than the Second World War. Indeed, during the decade of 1962 to 1972 some 60,000 Australians served for one period or another in Vietnam and, of that 60,000, more than 500 didn't return home. They died as a result of that conflict.

The Battle of Long Tan, of course, was fought on 18 August 1966. It was one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam conflict, with some 108 members of the 6th Royal Australian Regiment up against a Viet Cong force of more than 2,000. Seventeen Australians were killed, 25 wounded, and one of those 25 died a few years later. With the great casualties of the war, I don't think we in this country sufficiently and appropriately commemorated those who went to Vietnam War, and it's an opportunity to do that on an ongoing basis.