Dear Editor,

On 18 August each year, we commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, a defining event in Australia’s longest international conflict. The Long Tan rubber plantation was the scene of one of the most intense and dramatic battles of the Vietnam War. 108 men were cut off and outnumbered at least ten to one as they withstood Viet Cong attacks for three hours.

The Battle of Long Tan saw the heaviest Australian casualties in a single engagement in the Vietnam War, but their courageous stand against their enemy became a defining action of the war.

2023 marks 50 years since Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War was formally declared at an end.

Between 1962 and 1973 over 60,000 Australians, including ground troops and air force and navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 523 died and almost 2,400 were wounded.

Beyond the physical costs, the Vietnam War was the cause of the greatest social and political dissent in Australia since the conscription referendums of WW1. As the first war to be televised and broadcast back to Australians, it sparked widespread protest across the nation.

Unlike returning veterans of WW1 and WW2 who were welcomed home as heroes, returning Vietnam Veterans were met with a hostile reception. This had a severe psychological impact on veterans, many of whom were already traumatised by their experiences in Vietnam.

As we commemorate the Battle of Long Tan this Friday, also known as Vietnam Veterans Day, and as we mark 50 years since Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam, let us recognise and thank our veterans for what they endured for their country and what they sacrificed to uphold our values and our freedoms.

On 18 August, I ask that like me, you will pause and reflect their service, sacrifice and selflessness.

Lest we forget.


Tony Pasin MP

Federal Member for Barker