Australian support for South Vietnam in the early 1960s was in keeping with American policy of stemming the tide of communism.
When the Australian government announced in 1964 the dispatch of a taskforce including conscripts called up under the National Service Scheme, public support began to decline. Later, images delivered on the nightly news, like the summary execution of a captured Viet Cong by the South Vietnamese chief of police, ensured the fight for public support at home was lost, and that Australia's position had become difficult to sell to the electorate.
From the arrival of advisers in 1962, until the last battalion left Nui Dat in November 1971, 50 000 Australians, including ground troops and Air Force and Navy personnel, saw service. Of these, some 500 were killed and almost 2,400 wounded. The war was the cause of the greatest social and political dissent in Australia since the conscription referendums of the First World War.