A Northern Territory policeman has been charged with murder over the shooting death of an Indigenous man, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. A Northern Territory policeman has been charged with murder over the shooting death of an Indigenous man.

A Northern Territory policeman has been charged with murder over last weekend’s shooting of 19-year-old Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker.

Walker died after he was shot at Yuendumu, 300 kilometres from Alice Springs, on Saturday night when two police officers went there to arrest him for breaches of his suspended sentence.

A 28-year old male NT police officer has been charged with one count of murder, NT Police said in a statement on Wednesday night.

Police said the officer, identified as Constable Zachary Rolfe, had been suspended on pay and charged with one count of murder. He was granted bail in an out-of-session court hearing, and was due to reappear in court in Alice Springs on December 19, the statement said.

Walker’s family and Yuendumu residents asked why the police officer had fired his gun three times instead of using a taser to provide an electric shock or pepper spray.

They were also not told about his death until the morning after he was shot, after believing overnight that he was still alive.

Angry residents from the remote community of about 800 Warlpiri people gathered after the shooting at the police station as officers locked themselves inside.

NT Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Michael White said after the shooting that Walker had lunged at an officer and stabbed him with a weapon, which sources had said were scissors and a struggle ensued, but the family disputed that version.

The officers had body-worn cameras that have been viewed by NT police internal investigators.

Walker was released from prison on October 21 over property and stealing offences, but was being re-arrested for breaching the terms of his release.

Police had allowed Mr Walker to attend the funeral of a relative earlier that day.

There were no medical staff to initially help after the shooting as Yuendumu Health Centre workers evacuated earlier on Saturday due to safety concerns.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service also delayed its response amid safety concerns before it was called off because the young man died.

Staff from Yuelamu Health Centre 60 km away were injured after going to Yuendumu following the shooting and assisting in pronouncing Mr Walker dead.

They were injured in community unrest and required evacuation to receive treatment for lacerations and bruises at the Alice Springs Hospital.

Emotions are running high among Indigenous people in the NT and around the nation and the death has been a flashpoint for anger over the treatment of Aboriginal people by police, including deaths in custody, high prison rates, past massacres and the Stolen Generations.


The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner and NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker flew to Yuendumu to assure people an independent investigation would be conducted.

Rallies have been held in Alice Springs, Darwin, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Hundreds of protesters chanted “Justice for Walker” and “stop killing us” as a smoking ceremony took place in Darwin’s near the steps of parliament on Wednesday.

2. United States President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing gets under way.

The US House of Representatives has launched the first public hearing of Donald Trump’s impeachment investigation, the extraordinary process to determine whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, opened the hearing on Wednesday for the start of testimony.

It’s a remarkable moment, even for a White House full of them. The hearing is the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions towards Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offences.

The proceedings were being broadcast live, and on social media, from a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill.

Only three US presidents have faced such hearings before, and real-time Twitter commentary is ongoing from the president himself, who has been retweeting messages from supporters after tweeting “READ THE TRANSCRIPT”.


3. Crisis talks are being planned over ABC Olympics coverage.


Crisis talks are being planned between the Australian Olympic Committee and the ABC in a bid to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics live on radio.

The ABC has said its budget is too stretched to afford the $1 million needed to send commentators to Japan and set up its broadcasting system.

The shock decision ends 67 years of live Olympics coverage from the public broadcaster.

The AOC labelled the decision short-sighted and a “great let down to Australians”.

AOC boss Matt Carroll has written to ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose who will look to meet with the AOC at “the earliest opportunity”.

It is understood the AOC are keen to explore all avenues that could help raise the funds needed to fund the broadcast.

An indexation freeze on the ABC in the 2018 budget led to $83.8 million in cuts, while 600 jobs have been lost in the past five years.

Financial restrictions placed on the ABC by the federal government since 2014 mean by 2022 the public broadcaster will have lost $783 million in funding.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the Olympics decision would disappoint many Australians but added it was the ABC’s responsibility to explain the decision.

ABC programming director Judith Whelan said the budget was “running hot”.

“Our budget is very tight. It has been tightened tremendously over the past five years and we are facing more budgetary pressure at the moment,” Ms Whelan said.

The AOC has also written to the Sports Minister Richard Colbeck and Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The Greens passed a motion in the Senate on Wednesday noting the ABC’s decision and calling on the government to provide stable and adequate funding to the broadcaster.

Labor echoed the sentiment and blamed Mr Morrison for the decision, pointing to the $83.8 million worth of cuts in his 2018 budget.


“After years of cuts at the hands of the Liberal National government and with a further three years of cuts ahead for the ABC, they’ve been left with no choice,” Labor senator Deborah O’Neill told parliament.

“As a result of that (budget) decision by the prime minister of this country, Australians will miss out on this much-loved content that is part of Australia’s media, sporting and cultural identity.

“This will hit hard in country and remote areas, particularly where the ABC radio broadcast is often the only way of keeping up to date with what’s going on at the Olympics.

“When the government cuts the ABC, Australians miss out – especially those in rural and regional Australia.”

The ABC still intends to provide daily Olympic updates on ABC News and ABC Grandstand.

4. A veteran has been ordered to evacuate amid Queensland fire.

A veteran says a bushfire was about 200 metres from his car as he fled a property near Bundaberg after being warned by police he would be arrested if he didn’t leave.

Camp Gregory Veteran’s Retreat caretaker Kit Carson said he abandoned his caravan, bought only a few weeks ago, on the 40-acre property about 10 kilometres from Woodgate.

Police declared an exclusion area covering Woodgate as the fire moved quickly through the area.

A ‘leave immediately’ warning about a fast-moving fire burning between Woodgate Road and Burrum River in the Buxton area inland from Woodgate was issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at 3.50pm on Wednesday.


Mr Carson told AAP he planned to fight the “immense fire” with water stored in a firefighting tanker but police escorted him and his dog to the Goodwood State School.

“The fire was coming towards me pretty fast when the police threatened me with the handcuffs,” he said.

Mr Carson said he hoped the controlled burning done previously would save the retreat but he expected that his caravan would be at risk.

There was a crowd of people at the school but he was yet to find out whether he would be there overnight.

QFES warned the fire is expected to have a significant impact on residents, who were told to evacuate immediately along Buxton Road.

“Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing,” QFES warned.

Road conditions were expected to become dangerous and power, water and mobile service might be lost.

Goodwood State School students who live at Woodgate are stuck at school due to the road closures but would be kept there under supervision until they could be fetched or return home.

About 34 properties at Walkers Point were evacuated on Wednesday as the fire crossed the only road into Woodgate Beach.

Emergency housing was being sought for some residents who had evacuated to the Woodgate Beach Bowls Club.

Police made the emergency declaration due to the dangerous grass fire, saying residents within the exclusion zone should follow the advice of emergency services and leave the area.

Woodgate Road between Heidkes Road and Frizzells Road was closed, limiting access to Woodgate.

The exclusion zone is bound by Burrum River west of the Bruce Highway, Bruce Highway north to Goodwood Road, Goodwood Road to Elliot River.

5. The father of one of George Pell’s victim is ‘gutted’ by the appeal.


The decision to allow Cardinal George Pell to argue for an appeal of his sex abuse convictions has devastated the father of one of the dead victims.

The High Court on Wednesday revealed it will hear arguments from Pell’s lawyers about why his appeal should go ahead against his conviction for sexually abusing two choirboys.

Lisa Flynn, who represents the father of one of Pell’s victims, said the High Court’s decision had “gutted” her client.

“He was really hopeful that this would be over for him today because as the process goes on, and has gone on for some time, it is extremely re-traumatising for him,” she told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday.

“There has been some high points, in that when the jury made their unanimous decision to convict Pell, but every appeal that is announced by Pell is a downturn.”

A lawyer for the other victim, who is still alive but who also cannot be named, did not want to comment.

“The appeals process is a very important part of the checks and balances of the criminal justice system,” his lawyer Dr Vivian Waller told AAP.

“Both my client and I are deeply respectful of that process. We will await the outcome of the appeal.”

Ms Flynn said the father of the dead victim watched his happy boy spiral into drugs after the abuse.

“I’ve heard him many times, use the phrase ‘It’s a waste of a life’, he feels that his son’s life has been wasted because of this abuse that he suffered at the hands of Pell,” she told reporters.

In a letter to the Vatican, the dead man’s father said he never understood why his son changed until detectives contacted him after his death.

“As a Catholic, I felt betrayed by the church, but as a parent I felt like a failure, I felt as if I failed my son and my family, and I still feel that way today,” he wrote.

The man asked the Vatican to explain why Pell has kept his title as cardinal, and why it has not told Pell to drop his appeals.