Australia was one of the first countries to commit troops to the war in Iraq in 2003, but now the country has ended its combat operations there.
Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, who was swept to power in November, promised the return home for the troops, which is due to begin in a few days.
Mr Rudd said that the Iraq deployment was making Australia more of a terrorist target.
More than 500 troops have been deployed by Australia in Iraq. They are helping to train some 33,000 Iraqi soldiers.
About 300 Australians will remain inside Iraq on logistical and air surveillance duties.
Even though several Australian soldiers were wounded in Iraq, no one was killed in combat.
The cost of the war
The former prime minister, John Howard, who has been defeated by Mr Rudd, has defended his decision to send in troops in 2003.
“I firmly believe it was the right thing to have done” he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
He added that the cost of the war had been “very, very heavy and much greater than anybody would have liked”.
Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the Australian mission had been a success.
“Our soldiers have worked tirelessly to ensure that local people in southern Iraq have the best possible chance to move on from their suffering under Saddam’s regime and, as a government, we are extremely proud of their service” he said in a statement on Sunday.
He singled out the Australian contribution to the Iraqi army’s Counter Insurgency Academy as a “lasting legacy”.