Farewell to 2017: The Local Edition

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, it’s time to take a look back at some of the news stories and events that have dominated the Australian conversation the last 12 months.

As the world got used to Donald Trump calling the White House home, Malcolm Turnbull shared a testy phone call with the new ‘leader of the free world’.

According to The Washington Post, Trump berated him in what the US President called his “worst call ever”. The relationship hasn’t really recovered.

Turnbull was to figure heavily through the year on various issues; marriage equality and the citizenship saga the two that took on a life of their own.

On August 25, a record number of Australians were involved to vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. After weeks of deeply divisive debate, 61.6 percent of Australians voted ‘yes’. By year’s end, the first same sex marriages had been held.

Not such a happy ending for a number of Federal politicians, who were found to be dual citizens and therefore ineligible to sit in Parliament.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was the first to be found out and forced to resign. The dual Kiwi citizen had been in Parliament for nine years.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also turned out to be a ‘secret Kiwi’. He resigned, but re-contested his seat of New England and is back in the big house.

The world of state politics saw NSW Premier Mike Baird resign with Gladys Berejiklian sworn in as the 45th premier.

Over in the west, the Labor Party under Mark McGowan took office from Liberal Colin Barnett, while Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk became the first woman to win back-to-back elections.

Australia’s most powerful Catholic Cardinal George Pell was in the headlines. He gave evidence to the Sex Abuse Royal Commission from Rome, but returned to Australia after Victoria Police announced he’d been charged with multiple historical sexual assault offences. He’s yet to stand trial.

Tragedy came to Melbourne in 2017, when a man drove into pedestrians on Bourke Street, killing five people and injuring more than 30 others.

Five people also died when a light plane crashed into the DFO shopping centre near Essendon Airport, while Victoria Police also dealt with a terror-inspire shooting in the bayside suburb of Brighton.

It was revealed gunman Yacqub Khayre had been charged and acquitted over the Holsworthy Barracks terror plot of 2009.

While Melbourne came to terms with that event, the NSW coroner handed down the findings into the Lindt Café siege inquiry – an even that was televised much like the siege itself back in 2014.

2017 saw Schapelle Corby finally return home from Bali, where she’d served a lengthy sentence for drug smuggling. And while she was leaving prison, another young Aussie was going in.

Adelaide woman Cassie Sainsbury was jailed for six years after she was caught smuggling 5.8 kilos of cocaine through Bogota International Airport in Colombia.

And it was a win for actress Rebel Wilson, when she successfully sued Bauer Media, claiming they’d painted her as a serial liar.

It was a trial that made headlines around the world.

While radio journos around the country may complain about it being a ‘slow’ news day (week or month), it’s clear there has been plenty to keep us occupied.

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