THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON AMANDA RISHWORTH MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR KINGSTON
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE CENTENARY OF ANZAC
MEMBER FOR LINGIARI
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF LONG TAN
Today marks 50 years since the Battle of Long Tan was fought.
Today we remember the sacrifice made in this battle, which was one of the most significant engagements in the Vietnam War for Australian forces. It involved 105 Australians and three New Zealanders against a force of more than 2,000 Viet Cong soldiers.
Australians were outnumbered roughly 20 to one in this brutal battle, which saw the highest number of Australian casualties in any single engagement during the Vietnam War.
During the battle, 18 Australians were killed and 24 Australians were wounded. On the Vietnamese side, at least 245 were killed and an estimated 350 wounded.
The bravery and gallantry shown by Australian soldiers that day has been recognised by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal through their decision to recommend a number of Australian troops for various gallantry awards.
We welcome last week’s announcement that 10 soldiers have been recommended for bravery awards for their service at the Battle of Long Tan.
Today we also remember the 60,000 other men and women who served our nation during the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War was marred by great loss and tragedy, not just for those directly involved, but also for their families and today we recognise and pay tribute to them.
It is profoundly disappointing that the Vietnamese Government has cancelled the 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony to mark Vietnam Veterans’ Day at Long Tan today. We are pleased the Vietnamese Government has now agreed to allow people to visit the site and pay their respects.
All veterans who have served and who serve today deserve our greatest respect and admiration for their service to our nation.
Today we especially honour the service, bravery and sacrifice of those that served at the Battle of Long Tan.
Lest we forget.
THURSDAY, 18 AUGUST 2016