Lest We Forget
I recently participated in the annual Human Rights Dialogue between Australia and Vietnam. The Dialogue is conducted each year, alternating between the two countries. It is an opportunity for Australia to raise General human rights issues, including the cases of individuals who have been detained in Vietnam.
The Dialogue occurred a few days before the commemoration of the Battle of Long Tan which we commemorated at the Doncaster RSL. It reminded me that Australia has been able to work with former opponents for our mutual benefit. Think of Germany, Turkey and Japan, against whom we fought in the world wars.
The Battle of Long Tan took place on August 18, 1966. A small force of 108 Australians were heavily outnumbered by a Vietcong force of 1,500 – 2,500. Facing overwhelming numbers, the Australians withstood the assault. Eighteen Australians were killed and 24 wounded. This small force killed 254 Vietcong and stopped the move on Nui Dat. I spoke in Parliament about this last week. Despite being former enemies, our two countries have been able to forge a new partnership involving trade, tourism and culture.