Adjournment: Vietnam Veterans' Day, Shipbuilding, illicit drugs

Today is the 49th Vietnam Veterans Day, and next year will mark the 50th anniversary. I take this opportunity to remember and honour the 521 Australians who died fighting in that war.

Because of Senate duties, I could not attend the official ceremonies in Canberra today, so earlier this morning I went to that beautiful Vietnam veterans memorial in Canberra and laid some flowers and reflected on their and their families' sacrifices.

I was lucky enough to catch up with a few veterans who were out early this morning, and I acknowledge the strong feelings that are stirred up on this day.

I thank the families and friends of those 521 Australian Defence Force members for enduring their terrible loss so we can live free and enjoy the democratic rights and privileges we often take for granted.

Of course, unfortunately, the deaths of our Vietnam soldiers, airmen and sailors did not stop in Vietnam. Too many of the more than 60,000 members of the Australian Defence Force who survived their time overseas in Vietnam lost their lives back home in Australia and continue to lose their lives because of the physical and mental damage they experienced during their service and in their transition into civilian life.

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