Australia news LIVE: Wieambilla shooting kills two Queensland … – Sydney Morning Herald

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Staying with the Queensland press conference, and Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said “considerable weaponry” was found at the scene of yesterday’s shooting and “the fact that two [officers] got out alive is a miracle”.
She said there would be a full investigation and described the scene as “unimaginable”.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.Credit:Michelle Smith
“In my opinion, those officers did not stand a chance,” she said of the four officers who came under fire.
“When you are in that scene walking towards the house and where this apparently took place, they were in an exposed area, and I cannot believe that two officers got out alive.”
That’s where we’ll leave our rolling coverage of today’s events, thank you for joining us. My colleague Broede Carmody will be back tomorrow morning to keep you informed.
If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you might have missed earlier:
Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, and Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, were killed in the stand-off.
Returning to the Queensland shooting, online accounts sharing the name of one of the trio shot and killed by police repeatedly shared views that the Port Arthur massacre was a false-flag event to “disarm” Australians.
Three people were shot by police following the deaths of two young constables and a bystander during the horror stand-off at a rural property on Monday afternoon.
Bearing the name Gareth Train — who along with wife Stacey owned the Western Downs property on which the “execution-style” killing of police occurred on Monday — the accounts had been active in fringe online communities as far back as September 2020.
Then, the account had commented on a “your rights and the police” post on a sovereign citizen conspiracy site saying he had “directed law enforcement to leave my premises over the last 20yrs”.
“At times have also asked them to remove their hands from their weapons or pull their pistols and whistle Dixie. Fortunately for me, they have all been cowards,” the account wrote.
Read the full story here.
A public servant employed to check Centrelink recipients’ debts under the robo-debt scheme warned her superiors about the flawed debt calculation method, which she said effectively double-counted income.
Colleen Taylor told senior colleagues, “You just can’t do this to people,” the royal commission into robo-debt in Brisbane heard on Tuesday.
Taylor told the inquiry one of her colleagues at the Department of Human Services had quit over the scheme, while others had discussed how they could stop it.
“There was a lot of discussion of just how unfair it was, and sympathy for the information that was out there in the media,” Taylor said.
She said there were several examples of alleged debts where there was no real discrepancy, but one had been raised by the duplication of employers due to typographical errors in the records.
“I argued the point, and they said, ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you can just go’,” she said.
Taylor also wrote to department secretary Kathryn Campbell following an all-staff email which had assured workers there was no change to the way the department was calculating debts.
Taylor told Campbell in January 2017 there had been a “dramatic change” between the previous manual assessment of payment and income discrepancies, and the new system that relied heavily on income averaging.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who is a former Queensland police officer, has joined those paying tribute to the service of two young constables who were shot dead in a siege in the western downs on Monday afternoon.
Dutton told Nine News the deaths of Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, and Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, at a property at Wieambilla would “send a shiver down the spine of any police officer” attending a job today.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“It’s bad enough as a police officer going to a scene where you know there are firearms or there’s domestic violence, or you’re walking into a scene which might be dangerous,” Dutton said.
“But when you have a few police officers who are turning up to check an address, walking up the driveway, and they’re gunned down in a cold-blooded style, that will send a shiver down the spine of any police officer attending any job today right around the country.”
Dutton said it was time for the country to support the police community and to “always remember that they go into the line of fire and into that danger zone so that we don’t have to”.
“We should be very grateful for the work, the service and the sacrifice of these two officers yesterday, and spare a thought, and a prayer today, for all of those in the police family.”
A climate change activist released on bail pending an appeal of her jail sentence for disrupting traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge is not allowed to go within one kilometre of the landmark, in a case that has reignited debate over protest laws.
Deanna “Violet” Maree Coco was sentenced in Downing Centre Local Court on December 2 to 15 months in prison, with a non-parole period of eight months, for her role in the Fireproof Australia action. Her severity appeal is listed in March.
Supporters of Deanna “Violet” Maree Coco rallied outside the Downing Centre court complex on Tuesday morning.Credit:Kate Geraghty
The 32-year-old was arrested after she climbed on top of a truck and lit a flare as the vehicle was parked in a southbound lane of the bridge about 8.30am on April 13.
Coco was jailed on charges of disrupting vehicles on the bridge, possessing a bright light distress signal in a public place, and resisting or hindering a police officer in the execution of duty.
Read the full story from Sydney court reporter Sarah McPhee here.
The Federal Government says a new bilateral security pact between Australia and Vanuatu recognises cooperation between the countries must adapt to better tackle the effects of climate change and COVID-19.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said in a statement the bilateral security agreement with Vanuatu, signed on Tuesday, was “a practical expression of the family first approach to peace and security in our region”.
“It reflects Australia and Vanuatu’s ongoing commitment to working together as members of the Pacific family to address shared security challenges,” he said.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong (right) with Pacific Minister Pat Conroy in Vanuatu. Credit:DFAT
The security deal covers cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, policing, defence, border security, environment and resource security, cybersecurity and maritime and aviation safety, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Penny Wong is putting Australia forward as the security partner of choice in the Pacific as she leads a bipartisan delegation across the region, while pledging Australia would engage in partnerships of mutual respect and co-operation to ensure nations always maintain their sovereignty.
Speaking in Vanuatu alongside Pacific Minister Pat Conroy and Coalition counterparts Simon Birmingham and Michael McCormack, Senator Wong said regional security was a shared responsibility.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure our sovereign decisions enhance the security of all members of the Pacific and we’re deeply proud to be the Vanuatu principal security partner of choice,” she said in Port Vila.
“Decisions about how a country wishes to engage with [Australia], what level of co-operation, what priorities that country articulates are issues for that sovereign nation.”
The delegation also took part in a handover of a new wharf and police boat.
with AAP, Reuters
Liberal senator Marise Payne, who was human services minister at the time the robo-debt scheme was being devised, appeared before the royal commission.
Returning to the robo-debt royal commission, and a final proposal for the welfare crackdown that became the robo-debt scheme was submitted to the former federal government’s razor gang with a recommendation for legislative change inexplicably erased.
Liberal senator Marise Payne, who was human services minister when the program was being devised, told the royal commission on Tuesday that she didn’t know why the advice had fallen “off the radar” despite appearing in briefings signed by her and Scott Morrison, who was in the social services portfolio in early 2015.
Senator Marise Payne appearing at the robo-debt royal commission.
Counsel assisting the commission, Justin Greggery, KC, said advice foreshadowing the need to change legislation to allow Centrelink recipients’ income to be calculated by reference to Tax Office data appeared in briefs to the ministers before a final policy proposal went to the expenditure review committee without it.
“How did the identification of the problem in the lead-up to the final executive minute drop off the radar by the time it seems the executive review committee considered the proposal?” Greggery asked.
Payne replied: “I don’t know the answer to that question, and I say that in all transparency. The material which has been made available to me is material that I have been through for the purposes of appearing here today. But in terms of that particular matter, I don’t know the answer to that.”
Anthony Albanese played the role of a distant, COVID-stricken Santa Claus today to six authors who won the annual Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, presented in Launceston.
The prizes, each worth $80,000 tax-free, were the culmination of the year’s literary awards season and were announced just in time for the books to get a seasonal sales boost in the peak, pre-Christmas book-selling season.
Andy Jackson, Leanne Hall, Christine Helliwell, Sherryl Clark, Mark Willacy and Nicolas Rothwell: the six winners of the 2022 PM’s Literary Awards.
The winners were: fiction, Nicolas Rothwell (Red Heaven); poetry, Andy Jackson (Human Looking); non-fiction, Mark Willacy (Rogue Forces: An Explosive Insiders’ Account of Australian SAS War Crimes in Afghanistan); Australian history, Christine Helliwell (Semut: The Untold Story of a Secret Australian Operation in WWII Borneo); young-adult literature, Leanne Hall (The Gaps); children’s literature, Sherryl Clark, illustrations by Briony Stewart (Mina and the Whole Wide World).
The shortlisted authors each receive $5000.
Read the full story here.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to the two police officers and one bystander who were shot dead in the Queensland siege, saying all Australians were “shocked and saddened” by the tragic loss of life.
In a brief statement, Albanese said Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, and neighbour Alan Dare had their lives “cruelly cut short”. He also paid tribute to the officers who survived the incident.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese faces a difficult challenge on energy prices.Credit:AAP
“This is, indeed, a devastating day for everyone who loved these Australians, and our hearts go out to those in the grip of terrible grief,” Albanese said.
“We know that this news has fallen heart and hard on a close-knit and caring Queensland community. As well as, of course, the community to which all police officers belong.”
Albanese said it was a difficult day for all police officers and their families. He said all police were aware of the risks and dangers they faced in the line of duty, and yet they did their job for their communities.
“That is courage and it is public service at the highest level, and today and every day I pay tribute to each and every one of the police officers who serve their local communities and who serve their nation.
“This is not a price that anyone who puts on the uniform should ever pay. We can never count the true cost.
“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all those affected by this tragedy. With honour, they served, and Australia mourns with you today. We stand with you always.”

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