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Turnbull, Shorten head for Townsville

by June 11, 2016 General

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are heading north to campaign in Townsville in the Liberal-held seat of Herbert.

Their visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Black Hawk helicopters crash which claimed the lives of 18 servicemen – 15 members of the Special Air Service Regiment and three members of the Townsville-based 5th Aviation Regiment.

Not since aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and destroyer HMAS Voyager collided in February 1964, claiming the lives of 82 sailors, had as many defence personnel died in a single incident.

This tragedy will be remembered at a ceremony at the Black Hawk memorial in Townsville on Sunday afternoon.

It’s not clear yet if the leaders are attending.

Both were criticised for not attending the June 2 ramp ceremony when the remains of 25 Vietnam veterans and eight defence family members were repatriated from cemeteries in Singapore and Malaysia.

Mr Turnbull spent Saturday campaigning in the Queensland electorate of Fairfax, tipped to return to the Liberals after falling to businessman Clive Palmer in 2013.

Mr Shorten spent Saturday morning campaigning in Sydney, before heading to Melbourne.

© AAP 2016

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