News in 5: First look at same-sex marriage survey; Actor Johnny Ruffo suffered headaches years before cancer diagnosis.

1. The first look at the form that will decide on same-sex marriage in Australia is here.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a sample of the survey it will send out to Australian voters to decide if same-sex marriage should be made legal.

The first survey papers are set to be mailed today, with the ABS estimating it will take two weeks to send the forms to all 16 million eligible voters. The cost of the mailout is estimated to cost $122 million.

Everyone on the electoral roll should receive their copy of the survey by September 25.


The form asks just one, simple question, with respondents given a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box to mark as their response.

“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” reads the paper.

Instructions for how to complete the form are also included, which specify voters should use a dark pen to mark one box only.

“Put your form (and nothing else) in the enclosed Reply Paid envelope (no stamp needed),” the survey reads.

The stipulation has been included after social media users encouraged others to include glitter in the envelope with their survey results.

But the ABS warns that “any extraneous material inserted in the envelope” will make votes ineligible.

“This could also contaminate processing machinery or result in the survey also being destroyed and not processed,” the ABS said, according to ABC News.

Voters are also discouraged from using blank space on the survey to draw or write messages about why or how they voted.

The survey also reveals voters have a deadline of 6:00pm on November 7 to return their vote. A result is expected to be announced a week later on November 15.

2. 81-year-old Robert Whitwell was showing his granddaughter family photos. Then, she stabbed him to death.


Adelaide man Robert Whitwell was stabbed to death by his 19-year-old granddaughter, Brittney Jade Dwyer, on August 5, 2016, just moments are the pair looked through family photos together.

According to The Advertiser, court documents released by the Supreme Court reveal Brittney fatally stabbed her grandfather in the nest and chest as part of a plan to steal $114,000 of his life savings.

“Mr Whitwell invited the accused (Dwyer) into his home and they looked at photographs and videos of the accused and her brother when they were children,” a case summary stated.

The documents also stated that Dwyer’s friend, Bernadette Burns, originally planned to ‘watch’ Dwyer kill her own grandfather, but decided instead to wait in the car and apply her makeup.


After Dwyer text Burns saying she could no longer go through with it, Burns replied “she could not back out now because they had come all this way” and told her to “just harden up and do it”.

Around ten minutes later, Dwyer had stabbed her grandfather in his neck and chest. The documents reveal she helped the 81-year-old apply a Band-Aid to one of his wounds, before she washed the dishes as he passed away.

“The accused then sent a text message to Ms Burns saying ‘it’s done’,” the documents state.

Mr Whitwell’s body was discovered three days later and the girls were arrested on August 26.

Both pleaded guilty to murder and remain in custody. They are due to return to court for sentencing submissions next month.

3. Singer and actor Johnny Ruffo reveals he had suffered from headaches “for years” before cancer diagnosis.


Last month, 29-year-old Home and Away actor and The X Factor finalist revealed he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

He went to the hospital complaining of a migraine, and underwent emergency surgery to have the tumour removed.

Speaking to radio hosts Fitzy & Wippa yesterday, Ruffo revealed he had been suffering from horrible headaches for years before his diagnosis.

“I’ve sort of on and off been getting headaches for years but I just thought…I just put it down to drinking too much,” he said.

“As you do, you get a headache [and] you think, ‘I’ll just take a Panadol’.”

But when the headache started feeling “like a fire inside” his head, and he started slurring his words while talking to his girlfriend, he knew something was wrong.

“It was unbelievable, like the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. I can’t even describe it,” he said.

Ruffo then started slowly slipping into a coma overnight and hospital staff were unable to wake him. It was then they discovered he had a 7cm brain tumour that needed to be removed instantly.


“I spoke to the neurosurgeon that did the operation…he said to me ‘Look, you know, if you hadn’t come in when you did you would’ve died that night’,” Ruffo said.

“He said, ‘You would’ve had a brain aneurism and not woken up at all’.”

The performer is currently in the midst of radiotherapy treatment. After a four week break, he will then undergo six months of chemotherapy.

4. Americans remember the 16th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.


Victims’ relatives, survivors and rescuers have gathered at ground zero in New York City on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 on September 11, 2001.

AAP reports the commemoration began with a moment of silence and tolling bells at 8.46am (10.46pm AEST), which is the time when a terrorist-piloted plane slammed into the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Then victims’ relatives began reading the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed when four hijacked planes hit the centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001.

Republican President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, observed a moment of silence at the White House before taking part in an observance at the Pentagon.

During his first time observing the anniversary as president, Trump warned extremists that “American cannot be intimidated”.

“The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit but America cannot be intimidated,” he said.

“And those who try will soon join the long list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.

“Our values will endure. Our people will thrive. Our nation will prevail and the memory of our loved ones will never, ever die.”

There is also a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

5. Australian researchers make a breakthrough that could stop melanoma spreading in the body.


Scientists have shown they can stop melanoma from spreading to distant organs – a breakthrough that has the potential to significantly reduce the number of Australians dying from the skin cancer, experts say.

According to AAP, two international drug trials – led by investigators at Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) – have proven successful in preventing the spread of the disease in Stage III melanoma patients whose tumours had been surgically removed.

“These clinical trials show we now have ammunition to prevent melanoma spreading and progressing, which until now was a critical area of disease behaviour where we had no control,” Professor Georgina Long, the institute’s conjoint medical director, said.


“Our ultimate goal of making melanoma a chronic rather than a terminal illness is now so much closer to being achieved,” Prof Long said.

In Australia, one person dies of Melanoma every five hours.

If identified early, melanoma is easily cured via surgical removal from the skin surface. However for about 15 per cent of melanoma patients the disease has spread to the lymph nodes which is classified as Stage III melanoma.

Until now, these patients were at a high risk – 40 to 70 per cent – of their disease progressing to advanced and fatal melanoma.

Prof Long says the trial results will change the way melanoma patients are treated as well as their quality of life.

“Stage III melanoma patients who have had their tumours surgically removed have simply had to play the waiting game, to see if their melanoma would metastasise or spread. Living with such fear severely affected them and their loved ones,” Prof Long said.

6. The incredible story of an Aussie couple who saved 30 cats and dogs from Hurricane Irma.


Australian chiropractor Bradley Frick and his veterinarian wife, Linda Kitchen, didn’t lack company when killer hurricane Irma cut a path of destruction through their Florida neighbourhood.

The couple took a Noah’s Ark strategy.

When category three Irma’s 209km/h winds struck on Sunday, they were holed up with 30 cats and dogs and four chickens.

“It was pretty intense,” Dr Frick, originally from Bundaberg, Queensland, told AAP on Sunday.

Dr Kitchen had 27 cats and dogs boarding at her vet clinic in Bonita Springs in southwestern Florida, which took a direct hit from Irma.

So Dr Frick, the couple’s two cats, dog and four chickens from their backyard coop joined his wife and the cats and dogs at the clinic.


It was such a direct hit Irma’s eye travelled over the clinic.

Despite the ferocious sounds from the wind, the couple’s guests were well behaved.

“They were all really quiet,” said Dr Frick, who has lived in the US since 2008.

The clinic, a solid structure with hurricane shutters, had sheltered areas so they could take the pets for walks.

The couple held great fears for their home a short distance away so they took a nervous drive to check it out after the winds abated.

To their surprise it was intact.

Their coop was flooded so they were thankful they took the chickens.

Another Australian, David Nichols, a yacht broker formerly from Sydney who has lived in Florida for 40 years, also came through Irma with just minor damage to his Fort Lauderdale home.

“Looks like we definitely dodged a bullet,” Mr Nichols said.

Australian golf great Greg Norman endured the hurricane at his home on Jupiter Island, which is a popular place for sporting stars.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to all in Florida experiencing or about to experience this big bad SOB,” he posted on Twitter, with videos of the powerful winds.

Australian motorsport identity Kim Green evacuated his Tampa-St Petersburg home and took refuge in New Orleans.