Letters revealing Queen Elizabeth II’s potential involvement in the controversial dismissal of an Australian prime minister in the 1970s will finally be made public, the country’s highest court ruled on Friday. A political crisis was sparked when Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was fired by the queen’s representative, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, in 1975. The incident was seen by some as massive overreach of the monarch’s powers.
About 47,000 of homes and businesses were left without power across the state of Western Australia on Sunday, as a severe storm brought wind speeds of more than 100km/h (60 miles per hour), according to officials. A Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) official, James Ashley, said the weather formation was dynamic and complex, as a system from Cyclone Mangga in the southern Indian Ocean interacted with a cold front.
The Australian government is calling for the G20 countries to take action on wildlife wet markets, calling them a “biosecurity and human health risk”. Australia is not yet calling for a ban – but says its own advisers believe they may need to be “phased out”. “Wet markets” are marketplaces that sell fresh food such as meat and fish. But some also sell wildlife.
Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration in the hope of emerging from the COVID-19 crisis in a “stronger financial position”. Australia’s second-largest airline made the announcement on Tuesday in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange. Chief executive Paul Scurrah added that the move was aimed at “securing the future of Virgin Australia Group”. The move puts 16,000 jobs at risk.
Australian police have raided the Ruby Princess, a Princess Cruises ship linked to a deadly outbreak of COVID-19. According to AFP, New South Wales Police’s criminal probe into Carnival centers around whether any laws were broken when around 2,700 Ruby Princess passengers were permitted to disembark from the ship in Sydney on March 19. Those passengers have since been linked to hundreds of COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths.
People around the world have rallied behind a nine-year-old Australian boy after a video of his deep distress over being bullied went viral. Yarraka Bayle posted the clip of her son, Quaden, crying after he was targeted at school for his dwarfism. The clip, viewed over 14 million times, has triggered an outpouring of support and #WeStandWithQuaden messages.
Bushfires across Australia’s most populous state have been contained for the first time in nearly six months. Heavy rains helped firefighters and boosted some dam levels to their highest in nearly two years. Australia has been battling hundreds of blazes since September in an unusually prolonged summer wildfire season that was fuelled by three years of drought, which experts have blamed on climate change.
Torrential rain across the east coast of Australia has extinguished a third of the fires in the region – and could put more out, officials say. A wide band of rain sweeping New South Wales (NSW) has put out 20 of about 60 fires in the state in the past day. Authorities have welcomed the downpour, but warned of flash flooding in Sydney and other cities along the coast.
Dozens of koalas have been found dead, starving and seriously injured at a tree-logging site in Australia. About 100 koalas are believed to have been killed by bulldozers, while others were injured or left to starve at the private site near Cape Bridgewater, according to animal protection group Animals Australia. The deaths come after tens of thousands of koalas were killed in bushfires across the country.
Australian authorities warned on Friday of severe fire danger in densely populated areas this weekend, declaring a state of emergency in the capital, Canberra, as soaring temperatures and strong winds whipped up huge, unpredictable blazes. With temperatures above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), emergency officials urged people to prepare for fires in parts of the southeast including hundreds of miles of coast south of Sydney.