Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral
Wednesday 1 August, 2018
I rise today to acknowledge the 50th
Anniversary of the 26-day long Battle of Coral-Balmoral.
I rise to support this motion to
acknowledge the sacrifice of the Australian soldiers and their families who
courageously fought to defend fire support bases at Coral-Balmoral. The
sacrifice of 60, 000 soldiers and their families who served in Vietnam. 3, 000 men
served at the battles of fire support bases Coral-Balmoral. These 3, 000
Australian soldiers were outnumbered by up to 4, 000 North Vietnamese and Viet
Cong soldiers. Here, 26 young men and their families made the ultimate
sacrifice, and more than 100 men were injured. Three of these men are buried at
Centennial Park Cemetery- Sergeant Peter Lewis from Poochera, near Streaky Bay;
Private Allan Cooper from Rose Park; and Private William Thomas, a national
serviceman from Adelaide.
I have previously spoken in this
place about veterans returning from Vietnam feeling disconnected from ANZAC
veterans. Veterans who feel they have little in common- a different war,
different tactics and different times. But being a veteran is not in the
specifics of the war, but the ability to lean on one another and the comfort of
Our veterans have fought for
recognition since their return from Vietnam. They all made sacrifices. I stand
in this place with the belief that Vietnam War veterans deserve to be
recognised and acknowledged. Recognised
for their sacrifice, hardship, bravery and strength. It is with pride that I note
that on the 13 May 2018, Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Darren
Chester MP, announced that the 3, 000 soldiers who courageously fought at the
Battle of Coral-Balmoral would be awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry. A
military unit that is awarded for extraordinary courage in action.
I would like to acknowledge and thank
the veteran’s community for their continued support and hard work for our
veterans, both young and old. Organisations such as Legacy which I have
previously spoken about in this place. Legacy works with the families of
veterans, particularly war widows and their dependent children. Legacy
currently cares for around 65, 000 widow(er)s, and 1, 800 children and disabled
dependants throughout Australia.
On the year of the 50th
Anniversary of the Battle of Coral- Balmoral, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank all Vietnam veterans and their families for their
sacrifice, bravery and strength. Our veterans are the backbone of our nation.
They protect our freedoms and advocate for democracy and justice. Our veterans
are our real-life heroes.