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 Australias involvement in the war. Moratoriums were held around Australia in protest against conscription and Australias 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 Liberals election loss was the Governments choice to get involved in a war that had little to do with Australia. Australias 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 Australias help in the Vietnam Conflict. Australias involvement in this organisation was an important one, if South-East Asia fell to communism, then its northern shores would be vulnerable.
Having said this, Australias involvement in this conflict was not purely for this reason. Political ambition was a major contributing factor in Australias involvement. After all, it was a chance to help one of the most powerful countries in the world out, and this would strengthen Australias political alliances with America. 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 its 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 1970s.
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 Australias trade ties with other countries introducing large amounts of Capital Revenue. Australias involvement in the Vietnam War was pointless, many Australians died fighting a war that had very little to do with them. Australias 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. Australians 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 Australias involvement in other countries wars, 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, Australias involvement in other countries wars may end, thus fewer innocent lives will be lost.