Vietnam War veterans who served our country will join their Vietnamese counterparts who now call Australia home in leading the 2016 Melbourne ANZAC Day March for the first time.
Minister for Veterans John Eren and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott today joined veterans from both countries at Victoria’s Parliament to celebrate the close bond Australia and Vietnam share.
Today is the final Parliamentary sitting day before ANZAC Day, and more than 100 veterans attended the House as Parliamentarians paid tribute to their sacrifice.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, where 108 Australian troops defeated a Viet Cong force of more than 1500 soldiers. It has since become one of the most defining chapters of Australia’s military history.
The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military conflict of the 20th century. Nearly 60,000 Australians served in the war, and 521 were killed.
The war was held against a backdrop of controversy back home, marked by anti-war protest and fierce opposition to conscription. Many soldiers were unfairly maligned upon their return to Australia.
In the decades since, Victoria’s Vietnamese community has grown to become Australia’s second-largest Vietnamese population. In 1976, one year after the war ended, only 382 Vietnamese people called Australia home. That number grew to more than 12,000 by 1981, and stands at more than 68,000 today.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans John Eren
“Victoria’s friendship with Vietnam was forged on the battlefield, and it grew as so many Vietnamese made their home in our state. They have made a wonderful contribution to our society.”
“As we pause to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, it’s fitting that Victoria’s Australian and Vietnamese veterans will lead the Melbourne ANZAC Day March for the first time.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott
“For more than 40 years, Vietnamese Victorians have contributed so much to our state and nation. We acknowledge the post-war experiences of the Vietnamese families who migrated here – and the challenges they faced.”
“Our Vietnamese community is renowned for its hard work and devotion to family and community, as well as its spirit and willingness to share their cultures and traditions with others.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020