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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5043 ..

is organised by the Woden Valley RSL and a group of Vietnam Veterans Federation members called the Dark and Stormies. This commemoration allows hospital veterans to commemorate the special day, and is always followed by fantastic Anzac cookies made by the women’s auxiliary.

In conclusion, this government value and recognise the contribution made by veterans to the community. I have outlined a few of the initiatives where we have sought to appropriately recognise them in a very public way. We are committed to working with the commonwealth to ensure that Canberra’s veterans receive all the support and recognition so deserving of these honoured members of our community. I again thank Mr Coe for bringing this matter of public importance to the Assembly today.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (3.33): I rise to speak very briefly about a particular group of veterans which I particularly identify with. Of course, given my age, it is Vietnam veterans. My colleague Ms Bresnan will also speak about veterans issues more broadly.

Vietnam was the war of my generation. I was in the moratorium marches. My point is that it was a very important symbolic and defining war for the generation that I am part of. Whatever side you were on at the time, the point is that that was where the young men of my generation went. A lot of them did not go there willingly; there was conscription in those days. But they all came home after what could only be described as very traumatic experiences—I will not go through those—and they all came home affected. It was particularly affecting, given the controversy about the war, that when they came home they were not welcomed back to Australia in many cases.

I think that we have reached the stage now where we may or may not agree about whether the Vietnam War was a good thing but we can all agree that the Vietnam vets were people who now deserve our support 100 or 150 per cent. That is what the Vietnam vets association is doing. Because my parents live in Ginninderra nursing home, next to their premises, I go past them every week. I have had the pleasure of having lunch with them, and they are a great organisation. As I said, they are my age. They are supporting the men my age. They are supporting their partners—quite a number of my friends’ partners are supported by Vietnam vets—and they are supporting their whole families.

It is a really great place to go. It has got a really good garden. People who have not had the privilege of visiting it will not appreciate it, because you see the tin sheds from the outside, but if you do get a chance to have lunch there, I strongly suggest that you do. It is a good lunch, and it is a great garden. When you go in, you will find that they have got lots of facilities. They have got a really well-equipped carpentry workshop, which my father would have given his eyeteeth for when he was younger. They have got a metalworking workshop, again something that my father would have given his eyeteeth for. They have even got a decent kitchen—a more than decent kitchen. And they are planning to become more environmentally sustainable. They are putting in water tanks and, if they can get funding from the government, they will be putting in some PVs.

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