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SYDNEY - Prime Minister John Howard says a re-elected coalition government would seek the repatriation of the remains of five Australian-based journalists killed in East Timor in 1975, including New Zealand cameraman Gary Cunningham.

A long-awaited report by Deputy NSW Coroner Dorelle Pinch into the death of the newsmen, known as the Balibo Five, this week found they were deliberately killed by invading Indonesian troops.

Indonesia has always insisted the Balibo Five were killed in crossfire in the border town of Balibo during its invasion of East Timor.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday indicated the government was willing to help with the repatriation of the remains of the men, which was recommended by the coroner.

Speaking from a car dealership in the safe Liberal seat of Greenway in western-Sydney, Mr Howard promised a re-elected coalition government would seek to have the remains of the men repatriated.

"I certainly would, if re-elected, seek the repatriation of the bodies," Mr Howard said.

"I think that is a reasonable thing and I can understand the desire of the families( for this to happen)."

- AAP