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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Antoun Issa

Afternoon Update: bodies of Sydney couple found; Taylor Swift’s dad accused of hitting photographer; and France ambiguous on deploying troops to Ukraine

NSW Police conduct a line search
NSW Police conduct a line search on a rural property in Bungonia, 170km southwest of Sydney. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/EPA

Good afternoon. Police say they are “confident that we have located” the bodies of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird in Bungonia, 170km southwest of Sydney. The NSW Police commissioner, Karen Webb, said the families of the missing couple had been informed of the discovery.

Meanwhile, Webb is facing fresh criticism for referencing a Taylor Swift lyric in a media interview where she attempted to defend her response to the alleged murders of the Sydney couple. But the NSW premier, Chris Minns, threw his weight behind the commissioner today, saying Webb was doing an “exceptional job” after Sydney Mardi Gras disinvited NSW police from marching at this weekend’s parade.

Top news

  • Scott Morrison gives final speech to parliament | Morrison leaned heavily into Christian scripture, including incorrectly citing a Bible quote, as he bid farewell to politics, saying he has been “released from any bitterness”. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, thanked Morrison for his contributions, calling him a “truly formidable opponent”.

  • Sydney man killed in targeted shooting | A 20-year-old man was shot outside his home at about 8.30am in Fairfield Heights in what police believe was a targeted attack.

  • Rolfe’s lawyer calls for arrests after confrontation outside inquest | A lawyer for Zachary Rolfe says police should arrest the people who threatened and abused his client outside court yesterday. Abbott told the hearing that a group of “Aborigines” had shouted insults at Rolfe and one tried to strike him with a shoe. Rolfe, a former NT police officer, was found not guilty in March 2022 of the murder and manslaughter of Kumanjayi Walker.

  • Covid vaccine mandate ‘unlawful’ for Queensland emergency services | Police and ambulance workers were given unlawful directions to get vaccinated or face potential disciplinary action, the state’s supreme court has found. The court handed down its judgments in three lawsuits brought by 86 parties against Queensland’s police and ambulance services for their directions to workers issued in 2021 and 2022.

  • Joe Biden says Gaza ceasefire close | The US president says he believes a new, temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is possible by next Monday. Meanwhile in Australia the deputy chair of the Melbourne writers festival, Leslie Reti, has resigned over a poetry session on Aboriginal and Palestinian solidarity in this year’s program.

  • Swift’s dad investigated for alleged fracas with paparazzi | NSW police have been told that Scott Swift, 71, allegedly assaulted photographer Ben McDonald, 51, at the Neutral Bay wharf about 2.30am on Tuesday. “I didn’t realise it was her dad at the time,” McDonald said. “It was a bit of a shock but I’ll leave the police to do their job.”

  • Oklahoma students walk out over death of non-binary teen | Dozens of students at an Oklahoma high school walked out in a peaceful demonstration to show support for the LGBTQ+ community after the death of 16-year-old Nex Benedict after a fight in a school bathroom in which they said they were a target of bullying.

  • Elon Musk makes ‘things good’ with California bakery | Musk’s company Tesla had ditched an order for 4,000 mini pies from Giving Pies, a Black-owned bakery in San Jose, but the X owner paid the debt after the incident received attention. “This experience serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability faced by small businesses when dealing with larger corporations,” the bakery owner said.

In pictures

Rebels, universal love and Naomi Campbell: highlights from Milan fashion week

Milan was in a progressive and a pensive mood for autumn/winter 2024. Here’s our rundown of the collections, from the clothes to the front rows – click to view the gallery.

What they said …


“There is a change in Russia’s stance. It is striving to take on further territory and it has its eyes not just on Ukraine but on many other countries as well, so Russia is presenting a greater danger.” – Emmanuel Macron

Macron has refused to rule out sending ground troops to Ukraine, but said no consensus existed on the move at a meeting of 20 mainly European leaders in Paris. It was convened by the French president to ramp up the European response to the Russian military advances in Ukraine.

In numbers

That’s according to a YouGov poll commissioned by humanitarian organisations, including Plan International Australia, Oxfam Australia and Caritas Australia.

Before bed read

Deeply heartfelt and revealing letters from Eric Clapton to Pattie Boyd while she was married to George Harrison are to be sold at auction, laying bare one of rock’s most notorious love triangles.

Boyd was a model and an icon of swinging London in the 1960s, marrying Harrison in 1966 after meeting him on the set of Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night – she claimed he wrote the Beatles ballad Something about her, though he later denied it. Towards the end of the decade Harrison and Clapton began writing music together, and Clapton became besotted with Boyd. Read the story, including glimpses of Clapton’s letters.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: LOG. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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