|About this Item||Subjects||Vietnam; Ethnic Affairs; Ex-Servicemen
||Speakers||Lynn The Hon Charlie
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN [6.38 p.m.]: It is appropriate that I, as the son of a New Guinea veteran of the Second World War and as a proud Vietnam veteran, speak on the eighty-sixth anniversary of Armistice Day. All three campaigns involved the fight for freedom and democracy. Last Sunday I attended a function in south-west Sydney that announced the public formation of the Vietnam Reform Party known as Viet Tan. It followed the international announcement of the formation of Viet Tan in Berlin on 19 September 2004. The movement was founded by a Vietnamese patriot, Hoang Co Minh, in a border area of Vietnam on 10 September 1982. The objective of Viet Tan is to focus the energy and resources of the Vietnamese people worldwide on the mobilisation of a national alliance to abolish the communist dictatorship and bring about democratic reform in Vietnam.
More than 50 years ago some Vietnamese leaders chose to follow Communism and the promise of peace, happiness and prosperity after 120 years of French colonial rule and war. This led ultimately to a communist takeover in 1975. It is now obvious after 30 years of dictatorial rule that the Vietnamese Communist Party has not only failed in its aim to create a socialist society; it has also destroyed the very independence, freedom and happiness it promised. Its attempt to implement a Doi Moi or reform policy 10 years ago was a tragic failure. The only beneficiaries of that policy have been the dictators, who are referred to as red capitalists. The rest of the country's population has continued to suffer a poor and repressed lifestyle and they now want to break the yoke of communist power.
What is the result of the communist campaign? The Vietnam they supported is now one of the most oppressive communist regimes in the world today. A regime that rules by fear; a discredited regime that has institutionalised poverty as a way of life; a regime that has robbed its own people of the great potential they possess; a regime that must be overthrown by the same methods used by communist sympathisers in the 1960s and 1970s. It would be too much to expect the organisers of the moratorium movement to ever say sorry to the Vietnam veterans they betrayed, to say sorry to the South Vietnamese people who lost grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends in their desperate attempts to escape the communists, or to say sorry to those who spent years in re-education camps and solitary confinement.
Vietnamese people who have escaped to other democratic countries have worked extremely hard to develop new communities in their adopted countries. They now number about three million worldwide. They are intelligent, industrious, patriotic and proud. They are wonderful ambassadors, but they want their homeland back. They want the brothers, sisters and friends they left behind to enjoy freedom and to realise their potential. They want to break the yoke of communist oppression forever.
Next year, on 7 November 2005, will be the first anniversary of the establishment of the Viet Tan in Australia, as well as the thirtieth anniversary of the Vietnamese establishing themselves in this great democratic, multicultural country. I therefore invite the leaders of Viet Tan to commemorate this anniversary with a peaceful moratorium march in each capital city in Australia, to protest against the oppressive Communist regime in their homeland. I invite the Vietnam veteran community to come out and support our former allies in their quest to obtain the freedom we helped them to defend. I invite the millions of Australians who did not join the Communist-inspired moratorium marches of the 1960s and 1970s to come and join them in peaceful protest. Finally, I call on those cowardly Communist quislings to admit they were wrong and finally say sorry to the Australian Vietnam veterans they betrayed.
According to one of the speakers at the announcement, Communism has replaced their enslavement to the French columnists by enslavement to an ideology. We are referring here to a brutal, corrupt and discredited ideology that exists only in Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba and pockets of the New South Wales Parliament. A number of speakers at the meeting acknowledged that the Communists did not win the Vietnam War on the battlefield; they won it on the streets of Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Washington, Paris, London and other democratic cities in the free world. The war was lost because Communist sympathisers and student radicals were able to mobilise legions of gullible do-gooders in the greatest act of betrayal against Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen in the history of our nation.
The scars of this betrayal run deep among the Vietnam veteran community. The ode of the RSL may well be "Lest we forget", which refers to the sacrifices of our service men and women in law, but Vietnam veterans would add the words "the great betrayal". The memory of red paint and rotten eggs being thrown at one of our most eminent soldier-statesmen, Sir Roden Cutler, the memory of the hairy armpit brigade jumping in a pool of remembrance on Anzac Day in 1981 to mock our older Diggers, the memory of soldiers marching through city streets and being called baby killers, is seared in my memory. I, for one, will never forget or forgive the treachery of these cowardly quislings. As I said, I call on those cowardly Communist quislings to admit they were wrong and finally say sorry to the Australian Vietnam veterans they betrayed. And I invite the President of this place to be the first to do it.