The 10 news stories that have defined 2016.

As 2016 draws to an end, it’s time to reflect on the year that was.

From the victory of Donald Trump, to the evidence of torture in Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, the world looks starkly different to what it did just 12 months ago.

When our children, and our children’s children, look back on the year 2016 these will be the 10 defining moments.

The return of Pauline Hanson

Following more than 20 years of controversy, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was reelected to the Senate on July 2nd.

During her first political term in the mid-’90s, Hanson was known for claims that Australia is being “swamped by Asians”. During this year’s election campaign she called for a ban on Muslim immigration and a royal commission into ‘Islam’.

In her maiden speech, Senator Hanson argued, “Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that’s incompatible with our own.”

Greens leader Richard Di Natale was one of a number of senators who walked out of the chamber.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Image via ABC.


Pauline Hanson calls for Muslim immigration ban in maiden speech to Senate.

The 8 most bizarre comments from Pauline Hanson’s press conference.

The Stanford rape victim impact statement

A victim impact letter read in court by a 23-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted by a former Stanford University swimmer went viral in June.

The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, was assaulted while unconscious outside a house party on the Stanford University campus in January 2015.


She provided her statement, which was more than 7000 words long, to Buzzfeed NewsYou can read the full letter here:

Rape victim’s powerful message to her attacker: “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me.”

The perpetrator, 20-year-old Brock Turner, was sentenced to only six months in jail, after a judge concluded that any longer would have a "severe impact on him".

stanford rapist brock turner banned from professional swimming
Image via ABC.

The spotlight placed on this particular case opened up a broader discussion about consent and campus sexual assault.

Terror attacks: Brussels, Nice, Syria, Pulse Nightclub

At last count, there have been 36 terrorist attacks thought to be in connection with ISIL in 2016.

It is estimated 1455 people have lost their lives as a result of these acts, and 3505 were left injured.

The most widely reported attacks included: Istanbul, Brussels, Nice, Syria, Pakistan and Berlin.

The shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida was the worst US shooting in 50 years, and the deadliest terror attack in the US since September 11, 2001.

People lay flowers in the street of Nice to pay tribute to the victims the day after the attack. Image via Getty.


At least 50 people have been killed in the worst mass shooting in US history.

Orlando shooting: What happened in the Pulse nightclub attack.

Omran Daqneesh, five, became the symbol of suffering in Aleppo

A video featuring a five-year-old boy dazed and confused, covered in blood and dust, was widely shared in August.

Omran Daqneesh had been pulled from the rubble of his family home following an air strike in war-torn Aleppo, Syria.

The nurse who treated Daqneesh told the ABC he did not cry, but rather sat still in shock.

The five-year-old came to represent the war in Syria, which has led to the displacement of more than six million people.

Omran Daqneesh. Image via Getty.


If this were your little boy, wouldn’t you do anything you could to keep him safe?


Evidence of torture of children held in Don Dale Detention Centre

Four Corners episode titled 'Australia's Shame' was aired on the ABC on July 26.

The program was broadcast worldwide and was an example of investigative journalism at its best, exposing "one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in Australia."

It revealed the centre "locks up 10-year-olds and places children as young as 13 in solitary confinement."

CCTV vision also shows the tear-gassing of six boys and youths being strapped in isolation to mechanical chairs.

Airing on a Monday night, it took less than 24 hours for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a royal commission into the abuse of young people in the Northern Territory corrections system.

The United Nations said "most of the children who were held at the detention facility are deeply traumatised".

Image via ABC.


Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre uncovered by Four Corners.

Simultaneously, the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States gained momentum, particuarly after the death of Alton Sterling.

On July 5th, bystanders filmed as Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot several times at close range by two white police officers.


The emotional moment Alton Sterling’s son breaks down after his dad’s death.


Brexit and the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron

This year saw the shock withdrawal of the United Kingdom for the European Union.

On June the 23rd, a referendum was held to vote on whether Britain should remain or exit from the EU. 52% voted in favour of the exit.

The world watched in shock as the announcement was made. Following the declaration, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned.

Prime Minister David Cameron resigns. Image via Getty.


It’s really happening. Britain has voted to leave the European Union.

British Prime Minister David Cameron steps down following shock vote to leave the EU.

Dreamworld accident

Four people — Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low — lost their lives in a tragic accident on the Thunder Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

On October 25 an empty raft became stuck, causing the raft behind it, which had six people on board, to jam. It then flipped back on itself, and the adults became trapped on the conveyor belt. They were killed almost instantaneously.

Two children were also on board, but were flung from the raft and managed to survive the accident.

dreamworld accident cause
The Dreamworld ride that claimed the lives of four adults. Image via ABC.


Exactly what went wrong on Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride.

Two children who were in the raft that flipped at Dreamworld survived, but watched their mothers die.

Celebrities who died

2016 has seen a number of shocking deaths in the entertainment industry.

These include David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Jon English, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael and Carrie Fisher.

Watch: A tribute to just some of the many icons we lost this year. (Post continues after video.)

Then love died...

2016 saw a number of high profile marriages and relationships come to an end.

These include Mariah Carey and James Packer, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne, Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman and Sam Frost and Sasha Mielczarek.

Brangelina split. Image via Getty.


Brad and Angelina didn’t create the perfect couple fantasy. We did.

Donald Trump

The US election dominated much of world news in 2016, and Donald Trump's victory is most likely the biggest news story of the last 12 months.

Time magazine summarised, "In one of the most shocking U.S. elections in modern political history, Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton," on November 9.

On July 27, Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee after defeating Bernie Sanders.

Listen: In a bonus episode of Mamamia Out Loud, we talk about the year that politics went psycho. (Post continues after audio.)

Mia Freedman wrote of Trump's victory, "The prospect of the first female president of the United States was dangled temptingly in front of us for almost two years before it was cruelly snatched away by a reality TV star who hasn’t paid taxes in 18 years, brags about grabbing women by the pussy, and calls all the women whose vaginas he doesn't want to grab 'dogs', 'pigs', 'fat' and 'disgusting'."


Mia Freedman writes: “Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump.”

This is what’s good about Donald Trump’s US election victory.

Trumpocalypse: “11 important things I learned on election day.”

As the maxim goes, news is "the first rough draft of history".

These 10 events, as dire as they may seem, offer us lessons and instruction for the future.

So, what will we learn from them?

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