Australia

Tongans take up visas for Kojonup work

Beaufort River Meats plant manager Stu Cruden said six more workers would be arriving at the Kojonup plant after Christmas.

They applied for visas through a placement agency which sourced the work on their behalf after the scheme became available in July.

Under the Pacific Labour Scheme workers from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are able to apply for low and semi-skilled employment, for a long as three years, as part of a government bid to fill employment shortages in rural and regional Australia.

Melbourne to host Bledisloe Cup doubleheader

Rugby Australia confirmed the trans-Tasman rivals will play at Marvel Stadium for the first time since 2010, while their female counterparts - the Black Ferns and Wallaroos - will also feature in the doubleheader.

"Our Wallaby and Wallaroo doubleheader events in Australia have been extremely popular with fans in Sydney in Perth," said chief executive Raelene Castle. "And we are looking forward to staging the first ever doubleheader in front of packed Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Australia woman charged with murder after toddlers die in hot car

The two children, aged one and two, were found unresponsive by officers in Queensland on Saturday. It is unclear how long they had been inside the car.

The two girls showed evidence of being exposed to extreme heat, a police officer said.

Temperatures at the time they were discovered in the vehicle, in a town near Brisbane, were about 31C (88F).

Their mother, Kerri-Ann Conley, 27, is the first person to be charged with murder after Queensland state expanded the definition of murder to include "reckless indifference to human life".

Australia claim crushing win over Pakistan in first Test

Pakistan were bowled out for 335 in their second innings as Australia wrapped up victory inside four days in Brisbane.

Despite Babar Azam's brilliant century and a 95-run knock from Mohammad Rizwan, Australia were not to be denied – paceman Josh Hazlewood leading the way with figures of 4-63.

Pakistan resumed on 64-3 and faced a heavy defeat after man of the match Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner put Australia in a dominant position at 580, in reply to Pakistan's first-innings 240.

That'll do it!

Toddlers found dead in hot car, Queensland police say

Paramedics were called to a home on Logan Reserve Road in Waterford West about 1.35pm (4.35pm NZT) today, where they attempted to revive the two girls, aged one and two.

"Unfortunately, they were both declared deceased at the scene," Detective Inspector Mark White told reporters.

"The children exhibited evidence of being exposed to extreme heat."

Police arrived a short time later and a crime scene was declared around the vehicle, which was parked in the driveway at the front of the property.

Tongan-owned Agribusiness joins Australia’s Business Partnerships Platform

The BPP is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) principal programme contributing directly to accelerating Australia’s collaboration with businesses to address development challenges in the Pacific region.

Nishi Trading and DFAT are working together to increase the productivity of existing root crop exports. Australia is assisting Nishi Trading to build a cool storage facility, benefiting farmers through decreased product waste and increased income.

The partnership will assist Tonga in improving farm-to-market logistics for the export of root crops.

Cardinal Pell granted final chance to challenge sexual abuse convictions

Pell was granted leave to appeal the verdict in the High Court of Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 78, is currently serving a six-year jail term for abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

He lost his first challenge against his convictions in August and has consistently maintained his innocence.

Pell is the most high-ranking Catholic official in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

Australian bushfires reach Sydney's suburbs

Scores of fires are still burning in New South Wales amid temperatures of 35C (95F) and winds of 80km/h (50mph).

A feared southerly wind change has now occurred but the "catastrophic" day feared has largely been avoided.

No deaths were reported on Tuesday but fire chiefs warned that conditions meant the dangers facing the state were far from over.

About six million people live in New South Wales (NSW) state.

The number of fires still afflicting NSW ranged from 100 to 300 in Australian media reports.

Australian states declare state of emergency over 'catastrophic' threat from bushfires

At least three people are dead and thousands have been displaced by three days of dangerous weather conditions in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

But officials say the worst danger will come on Tuesday for areas around Sydney, the nation's largest city.

More than 120 bushfires are burning across the two states.

In NSW, the blazes have scorched 970,000 hectares of land and destroyed 150 houses. Nine homes have been razed in Queensland.

Oceania 7s: Double gold for Aussies in Suva

It was a double delight for the Aussie men, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a 19-12 win over Samoa earlier yesterday.

Both sides came from behind to win their finals against Fiji's teams.

The Aussie women trailed 12-0 in their championship final against FIjiana and stormed home with a 24-0 second-half to claim the gold medal.

That victory came after two wins over New Zealand in as many days, a huge boost of confidence for a young team.