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Christianity is still the most common religion (52% of Australians identified as any of the Christian denominations) but has been declining in popularity in Australia for the past 50 years – in 1966, 88% of Australians identified as Christian and by 1991 it was 74%.

Catholicism is the largest Christian grouping, accounting for almost a quarter (22.6%) of the Australian population.

Islam (2.6%) and Buddhism (2.4%) were the next most common religions reported.

Hinduism had the most significant growth from 2006 to 2016 (from 1.3% to 1.9%) driven by immigration from South Asia.

The most religious state was New South Wales where 66% of people reported a religious affiliation, and the lowest proportion of people (53%) with a religious affiliation was in Tasmania.
Power crews are working to restore electricity to tens of thousands of homes after a massive power blackout in Sydney's west this afternoon.

Some 60,000 homes and businesses across Sydney's west lost electricity about 4:00pm when the power outage occurred, blacking out suburbs including Campsie, Ashfield and Earlwood.

The Transport Management Centre (TMC) said the outage had affected up to 100 sets of traffic lights in the blacked out area.

"People really need to take extreme care and follow directions of police manning key intersections in these areas," the TMC's Bronwyn Martin said.

Crews had to battle through Sydney's infamous peak-hour traffic before they were able to start repairs.

Ausgrid said it had so far restored power to about 15,000 customers
A day-care owner who amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune by making false claims for government benefits has been jailed for at least four years.

But Melissa Jade Higgins, 29, has filed a notice of intention to appeal and sought bail immediately after her sentence was delivered in the Downing Centre District Court on Friday.

Judge Donna Woodburne adjourned her decision on bail to hear further submissions next week.

In delivering her sentence, Judge Woodburne said Higgins was motivated by greed when she deliberately and repeatedly abused a government scheme designed to help vulnerable children.

Judge Woodburne said a term of imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence, noting the "great injustice" Higgins had committed against all genuine welfare recipients to enrich herself.
A plane has performed an emergency landing at Perth Domestic Airport this morning.

The Skippers Aviation aircraft carrying 50 passengers departed Perth Airport for Leinster in the Goldfields at 6.35am but the pilot reported engine issues shortly after take-off.

Flightradar24 shows the aircraft only flew as far as Bullsbrook before heading back to the airport.

Emergency crews including firefighters were called to the airport and the plane landed safely and without incident at 6.55am.
The warm weather means more motorcycles will be on the road but Vancouver police are issuing their yearly warning about excessive noise.

Police say noise from motorcycles is a common complaint and are reminding bikers they could be fined if officers think it’s too loud.

A recent B.C. Supreme Court decision means officers no longer need to use a decibel metre to measure exhaust noise.

If they think it’s too loud they can hand riders a $109 ticket on the spot.
A 20-year-old man from Perth’s south has gone from living on the streets to buying a brand new boat after he and his partner won $200,000 from a scratchie.

Jordan Ross and Jayde Hicks found out they won after they went to the Lucky Charm newsagent in Willetton to check their ticket.

CCTV from the store managed to capture the exact moment, with the pair looking at each other in disbelief before throwing their arms around one another.

“When I got it, I was just bawling my eyes out, I was shaking,” Ms Hicks told 9NEWS.

“This money is life changing...I was under so much stress and financial hardship.”

Mr Ross explained he had been living on the streets five years ago, and he and Ms Hicks had been forced to postpone their wedding because of money problems.
Police chiefs should consider arming Melbourne's officers on the beat with assault rifles, lord mayor Robert Doyle has suggested.

Cr Doyle said it was "not a look I'd particularly enjoy on our streets", but after the explosion that killed 22 people leaving a pop concert in Manchester, Melbourne's general duties officers might need to carry assault weapons.

Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he would prefer that everyday access to such weapons remained with the force's tactical unit, while Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt called for general duties officers to have "ready access" to long-arm rifles.

Mr Gatt said it doesn't necessarily mean the guns need to be carried at all times, but police should be able to access them in the event of mass shooters or terrorist attacks.

In some jurisdictions, he said, these sorts of weapons are carried in police cars.
Australian tennis legend and Christian pastor Margaret Court has publicly announced she will stop flying Qantas "where possible" in protest at the airline's promotion of gay marriage.

"I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage," Perth resident Ms Court said in the letter published in The West Australian newspaper.

"I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.

"Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines were possible for my extensive travelling."

The nation's other major domestic airline Virgin, and its founder Richard Branson, also support gay marriage.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce recently had a pie thrown in his face in front of hundreds of people at a business breakfast in Perth by Tony Overheu, 67.
Music icon, autotune pioneer and perennial Queen Cher says she is “hoping” to tour both Australia and New Zealand in 2018.

In a sneaky tweet posted today, the singer says, “Hoping 2 do Concerts in Australia & New Zealand In 2018. Will Update.”

Cher last toured Australia in 2005 on ‘Living Proof: The Farewell Tour’, and won over even more Australians last year when she called former Prime Minister Tony Abbott a “twiddle tosser”.

She then endeared herself to Aussies even more by apologising for the remark, even though she didn’t really need to.

Cher released her latest (and 25th!) album Closer To The Truth in 2013, but she’s best known for her hits like ‘Believe’, ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ and ‘Strong Enough’.
Promoting the idea of 'love in all flavors,' Ice cream giants Ben & Jerry’s are putting up a fight for gay marriage.

Disallowing customers to order two scoops of the same ice cream until Australia legalises gay marriage, the ice cream connoisseurs are taking a stance within the company moto of ‘peace and love’.

“Imagine heading down to your local Scoop Shop to order your favourite two scoops of Cookie Dough in a waffle cone,” the company wrote. “But you find out you are now allowed… you’d be furious!"

Hoping to catch up with other Western countries on the subject, Ben & Jerry's branded product boxes with blank postal cards, ready for seal and delivery, requesting Parliment make a change.