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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2373..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Yesterday during a vigorous debate I indicated that Mr Smyth had attended a seminar at Westminster. I apologise to Mr Smyth. He is quite correct, he has never attended a seminar at Westminster on behalf of this Assembly. I should have said Mr Seselja.

Adjournment

Motion by (Mr Corbell ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Battle of Long Tan

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (5.23): This afternoon Mr Stanhope, my colleague Mr Smyth and I attended a commemoration to honour a number of veterans from the famous Battle of Long Tan. The Chief Minister laid a wreath and made a good speech. It was good to take part in a local commemoration of a famous battle that I think in time will become even more famous.

Over the past 40 years the Battle of Long Tan has not been given due credit. Forty years ago tomorrow the Battle of Long Tan took place in a rubber plantation. D Company of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, not long in Vietnam, went out on patrol. About five miles out of base it bumped into a huge concentration, about 2,500, of Vietcong and some North Vietnamese regulars. Eighteen Australians lost their lives on that day.

The Battle of Long Tan saw a magnificent effort by all concerned, by D Company specifically, but also by the support elements: the rescue mission from the battalion, the armoured personnel carriers that broke up a North Vietnamese advance into Australian positions, and a battery of Kiwi artillery that played a crucial role in turning the battle in favour of the Australian forces.

Tonight and also tomorrow I hope that a number of outstanding issues relating to that battle are resolved. Many of the diggers who came home are still alive. I look forward to seeing Tony Sharp, an old friend of mine, who was present at the last football reunion at Muswellbrook rugby club. Tony's younger brother, Gordon, a platoon commander and national service officer, was a television cameraman before he was called up. He completed his officer training at Skyville and was platoon commander of 11 Platoon, the platoon that pushed out into the plantation.

Gordon raised his head and was shot at an early stage in the battle and his platoon sergeant, Bob Buick, who was given a military medal, managed to extradite the platoon back to the company area in a magnificent display of leadership after his boss had been killed. A decade ago I vividly remember attending another football reunion in Muswellbrook and staying with Tony Sharp, or Sharpie, as he is known. At the time he had only recently been married at Long Tan. I remember seeing some letters that Gordon had sent on 11 and 12 August, less than a week before the battle, telling Tony and his


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