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Helicopter victims awarded medal -

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Helicopter victims awarded medal

Reporter: Peta Donald

TONY JONES: The nine victims of the Sea King helicopter crash in Indonesia 10 days ago are to
receive an Australian medal. They're to be awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal. It's
being changed to include service by military personnel in non-warlike environments. Peta Donald has
more from Canberra.

PETA DONALD: It's time for the funerals for the Australians killed in the Sea King helicopter
tragedy. Today in Canberra there was a final farewell for Lieutenant Mathew Davey. In Nowra, too,
emotions were raw at a service for Leading Seaman Scott Bennett.

MAN AT FUNERAL: Scotty, God bless you. May you rest in peace.

PETA DONALD: A week after they were awarded Indonesia's Medal of Honour, the Australian Government
has now found a way to formally honour their sacrifice. The nine Australian defence personnel are
to be awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: We must recognise the modern reality and that is that it's military
people, as well as civilians, that carry out humanitarian work.

PETA DONALD: It's been welcomed by the RSL, which was opposed to a military medal for the crash
victims.

BILL CREWS, RSL NATIONAL PRESIDENT: So we haven't done something that turns the whole arrangement
upside down. We've actually kept the integrity of our system, which is most important for the
future.

GRAHAM EDWARDS, OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN: The Government's done the right thing and we support them.
They are being recognised by what is a very appropriate medal.

PETA DONALD: After nine years, there could also be a medal for the victims of another peacetime
accident, for the 18 defence personnel who died in the Black Hawk helicopter crash near Townsville.

JOHN HOWARD: What the Government has under very active consideration at the moment is a change in
relation to the rules governing the defence medal. Back at the crash site on Nias island, crew from
HMAS Kanimbla have built a memorial for their colleagues. It includes a propeller blade from the
helicopter. Peta Donald, Lateline.