[Photo caption: 2016 Fraser Coast candidate (right), Peter Carey with Ted Sorenson (State Member for Hervey Bay, Queensland) in HCMC two months ago, January 2016. Photo supplied by Peter Carey.]

Tomorrow, Saturday, 19 March 2016, the Fraser Coast Regional Council elections will be held in Queensland.

Such an election would not normally generate much attention in Vietnam, however, Vietnam has caught the attention of one candidate in that election, Peter Carey.

Two months ago in January 2016, Peter visited Vietnam with Ted Sorensen, the State Member for Hervey Bay, Queensland. As it happens, the electorate of Hervey Bay has the highest number of Vietnam Veterans in Australia.

While the two were in Vietnam, they visited Vung Tau on Australia Day for a warm and friendly dinner between former soldiers of Vietnam and Australia. The occasion marked the 48th anniversary since the same men previously saw each other – under vastly different circumstances, facing off against each other under different flags during the Vietnam / American War.

Later this year, on 18 August, Peter hopes to return to Vietnam for a special 50th Anniversary service of the Battle of Long Tan at the Long Tan Cross (near Vung Tau). The service will be followed by a Gala Dinner in Vung Tau where former foes of the same battle will join hands in a gesture of friendship and reconciliation.

When Peter was here in January, he also visited several businesses which impressed him enormously including a seafood factory owned by an entrepreneur from Queensland: “The strict hygiene protocols we had to go through to enter the factory was nothing short of amazing”.

In an email to AusCham yesterday, Peter wrote that he will know the outcome of tomorrow’s election by, “hopefully, this time next week. I (then want to see how I) can utilise my new role to further the relationship between the region and Vietnam.

“There are many opportunities, I believe, across Hervey Bay, the Fraser Coast, Wide Bay and Lockyer Valley region in a number of areas that include:

  • Education both secondary and tertiary;
  • Seafood; and
  • Foods – from nuts to chillies, vegetables etc.”

AusCham is pleased that Vietnam is gaining more attention in Australia which is focussed on the development of all aspects of bilateral relations. It wishes Peter Carey and all candidates well in tomorrow’s Fraser Coast Regional Council elections.

 

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