Australia in the VIetnam War

Australia in
the VIetnam War

The only time Australia has come under
direct attack from another country, was when Japan bombed Darwin and sunk
a number of ships in Sydney, during World War 2. The question then has
to be asked, why Australia has been involved in so many conflicts. A number
of recent conflicts in this century come to mind, they include, The Boer

War, World War One, World War Two and The Vietnam War. By far the conflict
that drew the most outrage from Australian citizens was the Vietnam War.

Australia has been drawn into these conflicts through a number of treaties
and alliances made with other countries. Often it is not the conflicts
that have drawn most outrage from Australian citizens, rather the insistence
of other countries, for Australia to accept large numbers of post-war refugees.

The introduction of conscription into

Australia during the Vietnam War, caused much outrage in the Australian
public. Vietnam was the first war ever to be properly televised, the public
saw for the first time the true brutality of war. The public started to
question Australia’s involvement in the war. Moratoriums were held around

Australia in protest against conscription and Australia’s involvement in
the war. Much of the protesting was done by students and the younger generations,
there was still support for the war effort. This was reflected in the November

1966 elections, when there was a landslide victory for the Liberals. Conscription
did have an effect on the Liberal governments popularity, a few months
after a complete troop withdrawal in 1972 from Vietnam, the Whitlam Labour
government replaced the McMahon Liberal government. Historically, one of
the influencing factors of the Liberal’s election loss was the Governments
choice to get involved in a war that had little to do with Australia.

Australia’s involvement in Vietnam came
about due to the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation(SEATO). Australia
was a country involved in SEATO. After Americas request, South Vietnam
requested Australia’s help in the Vietnam Conflict. Australia’s involvement
in this organisation was an important one, if South-East Asia fell to communism,
then it’s northern shores would be vulnerable. Having said this, Australia’s
involvement in this conflict was not purely for this reason. Political
ambition was a major contributing factor in Australia’s involvement. After
all, it was a chance to help one of the most powerful countries in the
world out, and this would strengthen Australia’s political alliances with


After all wars, there are always large
numbers of homeless refugees. Australia has always been seen as a good
place to house such refugees, due to it’s size. Socially there has been
much unrest in the Australian public to this. The Australian public have
seen Asian migrants and refugees as a threat to their jobs, as they work
harder for less pay. Post-Vietnam War was no exception, with 70000 Indo-Chinese
refugees arriving in Australia since the late 1970’s. Politically the acceptance
of war time refugees into Australia, has put the Australian government
in a good image with other countries, this acceptance of refugees and migrants
has strengthened Australia’s trade ties with other countries introducing
large amounts of Capital Revenue.

Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam

War was pointless, many Australians died fighting a war that had very little
to do with them. Australia’s involvement was largely Political. The question
has to be asked, is it okay to sacrifice innocent citizens in a war for
political gain. The large amount of protests held reflect, how socially
disillusioned and discontent ordinary Australians were with the war. Australian’s
involvement in foreign wars, have bought large numbers of refugees to Australia,
this has been evident through the number of Vietnamese boat people coming
to Australia. Although there have been some positives for Australia’s involvement
in other countries war’s, the negatives far outweigh the positives, with
many innocent Australian citizens dying for another countries war. With
increased public awareness through televising of current wars, Australia’s
involvement in other countries wars may end, thus fewer innocent lives
will be lost.