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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9096


Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (13:57): It was with great pride that I attended the Vietnam Veterans service on Sunday at Anzac Park in Townsville. The ranks may be thinning and they may be getting a little bit tired, but when the RSM called them to order and to line up in fours, they did so with glee. Some were not able to stand for the entire service.

It was a great service and a great time to pause and reflect on what has gone before. These men, who fought for us in Vietnam, probably all went through Townsville on their way to war. We should reflect on the way they were treated when they left—and when they came back. They still bear scars from that. But they should know that the reason we treat current ADF members and their families so well is our memory of the way we treated them—the shabby treatment they received.

I recently went to see the 2RAR—the parade to send them overseas. The then Chief of Army stood and spoke for 15 minutes. Nearly 12 minutes of that was addressed to the families of those who were to be deployed—telling them about the services that would be available and how they are included in the effort. In some way the Vietnam veterans have paved the way for that to happen and hopefully, in some part and in some measure, that makes up for the shabby treatment they received. For those guys who still bear the scars, we say, 'Lest we forget.'