On 18th August 1966, the 1st Australian Taskforce was stationed on a communist supply route and was attacked. In low visibility, with 18 men killed and 24 wounded the 108 man unit thought they had suffered a defeat, but daylight revealed approximate enemy losses of 245 men, 350 wounded, 3 captured and a defeat of a 1,500-2,500 man opponent.
Ms Peulich said it was a victory against the communist army, a win for South Vietnam, and one that will never be forgotten.
Sadly, 521 Australians and countless Vietnamese lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Thousands upon thousands more were injured or scarred by the experience, but were fighting for freedom – fighting the oppression of the left-wing Communist forces.
Ms Peulich thanked many people for highlighting the strong Victorian-Vietnamese relationship, for undertaking activities to mark the anniversary and for organising the lead in the march.
Quotes attributed to Inga Peulich MLC, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs:
“With the fall of Saigon in 1975, many South Vietnamese came to Australia – the door opened by a former Liberal Government led by the then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, and have made a valuable contribution ever since.
“For bringing the commemorations together I acknowledge Bob Elworthy, Minh Nguyen, Major General David McLachlan, Ken Baker, Viv Nguyen, Bon Nguyen, Vo Tri Dung, Truc Nguyen, Bishop Vincent Long Nguyen, Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang, Chau Hoang Vu and their associations.
“I also wish to commend the Victorian Parliamentary Friendship group for the Vietnamese community and the many MPs, from the Liberal Party and other parties, who have spoken on the Victoria-Vietnamese relationship in Parliament this week.