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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18692

Mr ANDERSON (Acting Prime Minister) (2:01 PM) —Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to raise two matters if I may.

The SPEAKER —The Acting Prime Minister may proceed.

Mr ANDERSON —The first is to remind the House that today is Vietnam Veterans Day when we honour all of those who served in Vietnam. It is the 37th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, the best known battle fought by Australians in the Vietnam War. Today is an opportunity for us to remember the 50,000 ADF personnel who served in Vietnam over a period of 10 years and, in particular, the 520 Australians who died for their country. On Vietnam Veterans Day, I ask the House and all Australians to remember the courage and determination shown by our Vietnam veterans and to remember those who paid the ultimate price.

I know, too, that all members of this House would join with me in recording our sadness at the passing of journalist Ian Henderson on Saturday. Although he spent the last few years working for the ABC in Sydney, Ian was a long-time inhabitant of this building, and I think it is fair to say that he was respected by all for the accuracy and fairness of his work. Ian was a former Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party. He spent 16 years working for Labor before turning his hand to journalism. It was at the time a controversial decision in the eyes of some. There were a few furrowed brows when he joined the Canberra Times as economics correspondent and then again when he became political correspondent at the Australian. We occasionally locked horns, but in our dealings I always found him to be scrupulously straight and someone who put his own political views aside when he was reporting.

The Prime Minister recorded in this place his concerns about Ian's health when he first fell ill. He recorded his sadness over the weekend at the news of his death. I join him—and I am sure I speak for all members of the government; indeed, all members of this House—in extending my commiserations to Ian's partner, Fiona; his parents, Albert and Norma; and his sister, Lesley.

The SPEAKER —I extend similar indulgence to the Leader of the Opposition.