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It is with profound sadness that I inform the House that a helicopter carrying Coalition forces
went down in Khandahar province in Afghanistan today.

There were ten Australian servicemen on board.

It's my sad responsibility to inform the House that three Australian Commandos from the Special
Operations Task Group have been killed.

Seven other Australian servicemen are wounded, two of them very seriously.

This is a tragic day for Australia and for the Australian Defence Force.

It is a day of the deepest sorrow for the friends and families of those who have lost their loved
ones in this tragedy.

I express to all of them the deepest condolences of the Australian Government and the Australian
people.

Our thoughts are also with those who have been wounded.

I want them and their families to know that they will receive the best possible medical care.

This tragedy brings to sixteen those Australians who have lost their lives serving our country in
Afghanistan.

This is a very heavy price to pay, particularly for the families of those brave Australians who
have lost their lives.

We know our mission in Afghanistan is hard, but this mission is critical for our common security.

We work alongside our allies from the United States and from other NATO countries to avoid
Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terrorists who can then strike at innocent
Australians both at home and abroad.

It is our nation's highest calling to wear the uniform of Australia.

Those who wear it do outstanding work for Australia and they do that outstanding work in this most
difficult, demanding and dangerous of environments.

Today we recall their service as we mourn the loss of some of Australia's finest.

The commitment, the dedication and sacrifice of those soldiers will not be forgotten.

It will never be forgotten.

All Australians owe them a debt of gratitude for their service and for their sacrifice.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of those who have fallen.

We mourn them, we pay tribute to them, we pay tribute to them having paid the ultimate sacrifice
for our nation.