Saturday's news in less than 5 minutes.

 1. Mother arrested for murder of children in Cairns.

Police have confirmed this morning that a 37-year-old mother has been arrested for the murder of eight children near Cairns yesterday. She has not yet been formally charged.

The woman is the mother of seven of the deceased children and aunt to the eighth who was visiting the home. She remains in hospital in a stable condition with stab wounds to her chest.

The bodies of the children have been removed from the home and police and detectives are now working together to determine a timeline for their deaths. The mother, who is now lucid, is assisting with this investigation.

For more details read this post here: UPDATE: Mother arrested for murder of 8 children in Cairns.

 2. Koori elders hold traditional healing ceremony for Sydney.

A group of Koori elders held a traditional smoking ceremony in Sydney’s Martin Place yesterday. The square in the middle of Sydney’s CBD, which was the scene of a horrific siege on Monday, is also in the heart of Gadigal land.

The group of elders took to the square to show respect and mourning for the victims of the siege and the families who have been impacted. Yuen Elder Max Harrison told NITV that the ceremony, which ended out the front of the Lindt cafe, was about healing and promoting unity.

“It’s about healing those people that went down in that siege,” he said.


You can read more about the victims of the siege here: These are the brave hostages of the Sydney siege.

3. Julia Gillard cleared by Royal Commission into Trade Unions – and seeks an apology.

The Royal Trade Commission has found that Julia Gillard did not commit a crime and was not aware of any criminality committed by union officials during her time as a lawyer for the Australian Workers Union.

However Commissioner Dyson Heydon has stated that it was difficult to judge the credibility of the former PM as a witness given her “intense degree of preparation, her familiarity with the materials.”

In a statement, Ms Gillard said she welcomed Commissioner Heydon’s finding she did not committ a crime. “Decency would require those who falsely accused me to apologise,” Ms Gillard said.

Julia Gillard.

The Commissioner reflected that Ms Gillard’s demanour during her time giving evidence was a “very good witness”, but that she demonstrated “occasional evasiveness, or non-responsiveness, or irritability”.

In her statement, the former PM said the Commissioner had “made some comments about the evidence before him with which I [Ms Gillard] do not agree.

“Australians may well ask themselves whether the millions of dollars the Abbott government has spent on a 20-year-old matter that was already in the hands of the police would have been better allocated to health, education or law enforcement.”


4. Arthur Sinodinos resigns as Assistant Treasurer, paving way for possible Cabinet reshuffle.


Arthur Sinodinos has told the Prime Minister he is resigning as Assistant Treasurer, paving the way for Tony Abbott to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Senator Sinodinos stood aside from his ministerial duties in March after being called before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). He was questioned about his former role as a director of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), which ICAC has been investigating over corruption allegations.

At the time, Mr Abbott indicated he expected Senator Sinodinos to resume his duties once the ICAC case had concluded. But the report from ICAC has been delayed from January 2015 to March, which Senator Sinodinos said he was “extremely disappointed” about.

“I believe I’ll be vindicated in terms of no corrupt conduct or illegality and I look forward to those reports coming out in due course but, as I’ve said, that could be some time yet,” he said.

A version of this post originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished here with permission.

5. Clothing store for homeless people opens in Melbourne (and you can help).

The Street Shop, a free clothing store for the homeless opens today in Melbourne. The store will allow homeless people to choose the clothes that they like or need.

The idea started in Cape Town in South Africa this year and has now spread across the world to 130 countries.


Marcus Crook, who runs the Homeless of Melbourne Facebook page, told ABC News, “The idea is people come along at about 11 o’clock to Federation Square and hang up an item of clothing they’d like to receive themselves, or something that they’d like to pass on,” he said.

“It’s not just a dumping ground for clothing that you don’t want anymore, it’s more like to pass on a gift for Christmas.”

People who want to donate are asked to bring a special item (freshly washed – and something you would want to receive yourself) to the store today (Federation Square, corner of Swanston and Flinders Street Melbourne) from 11am onwards and help to hang them on the hangers or place them in the boxes.

At 12noon today, The Street Store will open its doors to the homeless community in Melbourne. Homeless people will be able to help themselves and choose exactly what they like and need. There will also be the opportunity to purchase food vouchers for homeless people, plus barbers offering haircuts for people living on the streets.

If you would like to take a piece of clothing to The Street Store to donate to a homeless person this Christmas, you can find more information here. For more information about The Street Store movement, you can find more information here.