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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015
VA084

VIETNAM VETERANS’ DAY

On Vietnam Veterans’ Day, Australians pause to remember the service and sacrifice of all those who fought in the Vietnam War.

More than 60,000 Australian servicemen and women deployed to Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, with 521 killed in service. Many of those who survived endured great hardship during the war, and returned home with both physical and emotional scars.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson has today asked all Australians to honour those who fought in Vietnam at our nation’s request.

“It is important that we properly acknowledge the service and sacrifice of these men and women, who upheld the finest traditions of the ANZACs during this terrible war,” Senator Ronaldson said.

To recognise the participation of Australian service personnel in the Vietnam War, the Australian Government is undertaking a range of commemorative activities over the next 12 months.

“Today, we have published a new online Vietnam War Roll of Honour Image Gallery that features a range of images, from cherished family photographs to enlistment portraits and candid pictures taken in Vietnam, of the 521 Australians who did not return from war,” Senator Ronaldson said.

The images were collected over several years by staff of the Office of Australian War Graves, with many provided by relatives and friends of our war dead. To access the gallery visit: http://vietnam-war.commemoration.gov.au.

Senator Ronaldson said a major national commemorative service marking the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan would take place in August 2016 at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra.

“Planning is also underway, in consultation with the Vietnamese Government, for a small veterans’ mission to travel to Vietnam in August 2016,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“To assist local communities in honouring the service of our Vietnam veterans, a special one-off funding round will be built into the 2015-16 Saluting their Service grants programme.

“The program will award grants of between $4,000 and $20,000 for initiatives such as commemorative events and reunions,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Plans to repatriate the remains of Australian soldiers who died during the Vietnam War and are buried overseas – should families choose to accept the offer – are on track to occur in the middle of next year.

“Unfortunately, many of our Vietnam veterans did not receive the appropriate recognition for their service and sacrifice when they returned home from the War,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“I encourage all Australians to reflect on their service today and to consider how they can be involved in next year’s 50th anniversary commemorations,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Media enquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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