Aboriginal people were made to collect wood for their own pyres in at least four mass killings in Western Australia, according to new research. Guardian Australia and the University of Newcastle found the practice was still happening as late as 1926 in increasingly organised fashion involving soldiers, police, magistrates and native police, with dozens of new massacre sites revealed. “There’s always police involved in the story, right across Australia,” said Professor Lyndall Ryan, leader of the University of Newcastle research team. The research indicated at least 65 massacres were in retaliation for the killing or theft of livestock or property.
Queensland wild weather: Storms have rained hailstones as large as cricket balls over areas of Queensland, with lighting strikes sparking blazes in a state already contending with more than 80 bushfires. Hailstones smashed the windscreens of dozens of cars on Sunday, and a vehicle in Buderim was crushed by a tree brought down by wild winds ($). The storms brought down powerlines and cut power to 20,000 homes, with lightning strikes igniting grass and tree fires around the Sunshine Coast. More evacuations were ordered across the state, including at Ravensbourn and Moreton Island. Smoke from the fires has left parts of south-east Queensland with air pollution worse than Mumbai.
NSW bushfires smash records: In New South Wales, firefighters used milder conditions to strengthen containment lines for some of the 56 fires still burning ahead of a Tuesday heatwave that could see temperatures reach the mid-40s. The NSW Rural Fire Services has reported that nearly 500 homes have been lost in the bushfire season to date, more than double the previous most severe bushfire season in 2013-14, when 248 homes were lost. More than 1,650,000 hectares have been burnt across the state — more land than during the past three bushfire seasons combined. The news comes as exiled rugby star Israel Folau declares same-sex marriage and abortion are responsible for the bushfires and drought afflicting Australia.
Australia-China relationship breakdown: A two-decade-old human rights partnership between Australia and China was suspended in August, reports The Australian ($). The partnership, which included activities such as study visits, workshops and policy development, has been officially frozen, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed. The news comes as federal politicians including Greens leader Richard Di Natale and Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick have criticised China for banning Liberals Andrew Hastie and James Paterson from visiting the country. In August, Hastie compared the global response to the rise of China to how countries handled the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne described new revelations about the planning behind China’s mass incarceration of the Uighur minority as “disturbing”. The leak of documents revealed China’s President Xi Jinping called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship”. The news comes as tensions continue to rise in Hong Kong, where police are threatening to use live ammunition as they lay siege to a university campus occupied by protesters, who are fighting back arrows and petrol bombs.
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