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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4630


The following notices were given:

Mr Gosling to move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral during the Vietnam War;

(b) on 12 May 1968 two battalions, 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) and 3rd Battalion RAR with Attachments, were deployed as the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) to Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, approximately 20 kilometres north of Bien Hoa City, and were involved in a series of actions until 6 June 1968; and

(c) the series of battles were incredibly fierce and costly, claiming the lives of 26 Anzacs, with up to 100 wounded and an estimated 300 North Vietnamese combatants killed during the almost one month of fighting;

(2) acknowledges all of the units and elements that comprised the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) that deployed to Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral;

(3) notes that:

(a) the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal recently wrote to the Minister for Defence Personnel recommending: 'That the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) be awarded the "Unit Citation for Gallantry" for extraordinary gallantry in action at the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, between 12 May and 6 June 1968.';

(b) on 13 May 2018 the Minister for Veterans' Affairs announced that the Governor-General had approved the awarding of the Unit Citation for Gallantry to the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) group and all those associated units who participated in that battle;

(c) this announcement had been long awaited and much anticipated;

(d) on this day, the 50th anniversary of the commencement of fighting, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd RAR during the battle, Brigadier Jeffrey James 'JJ' Shelton DSO MC passed away while watching the ceremony from his hospital bed;

(e) 'Jim' Shelton, who had been unwell for some time, closed his eyes and passed away peacefully at 92 years of age; and

(f) the RAR Association noted that Brigadier Shelton will be remembered by those who knew him and those who served with him as a true gentleman and a soldier's soldier;

(4) remembers those who lost their lives serving our country and all who came home wounded, or bearing the hidden scars of war; and

(5) recognises those who returned to life in Australia, that their journey from battlefield to towns and suburbs can be a difficult one and we must continue to support those who served and the people who love and care for them.