Live updates: Mass whale beaching in Tasmania, Landmark win for Indigenous Australians in mining battle, Kids injured in bus rollover, Action over FIFO sexual harassment – 9News

Welcome to the 9News.com.au live blog for Wednesday, September 21, 2022. The AFL will launch an independent investigation following allegations of historical racism at Hawthorn Football Club. Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, who previously worked at Hawthorn, has stepped down to cooperate with the inquiry. Thirty-three people, including 27 schoolgirls, have been taken to hospital after a horror schoolbus and truck crash near Melbourne. Support for an Australian republic has slipped, according to a new poll for Nine newspapers. And 14 sperm whales have washed up dead on an Australian island, leaving experts baffled.
Brisbane coach takes 'leave of absence' following explosive Hawthorn report
College holds 'deep concern' for injured students, adults after horror bus crash in Victoria
'Mystery' as fourteen sperm whales wash ashore Australian island
Four Ukrainian regions schedule votes this week to join Russia
Thank you for following our live breaking news blog for Wednesday, September 21.
Here's what made headlines throughout the day:
The AFL will launch an independent investigation following allegations of historical racism at Hawthorn Football Club.
Thirty-three people, including 27 schoolgirls, have been taken to hospital after a horror school bus and truck crash near Melbourne.
Support for an Australian republic has slipped, according to a new poll for Nine newspapers.
Fourteen sperm whales have washed up dead on an Australian island, leaving experts baffled.
And Vladimir Putin has just announced a partial mobilisation of Russia to conscript reservists in a rare televised address to the nation.
We'll be back with our live blog tomorrow morning.
Until then, you can stay up to date with all the latest news at 9News.com.au and nine.com.au.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine reaches nearly seven months.
Putin's address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia.
The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following Ukrainian successes on the battlefield.
The referendums, which have been expected to take since the first months of the war, will start Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.
A Tiwi Islander has won a landmark case in the Federal Court, with drilling to be halted at a massive gas project northwest of Darwin.
Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority should not have approved drilling off the Tiwi Islands.
Tiwi Islander Dennis Tipakalippa launched legal action in June, saying the regulator should not have allowed Santos to drill eight wells in the Barossa gas field, 265 kilometres northwest of Darwin.
The Munupi elder said he was not consulted over the company's environmental plan and feared the project could damage his people's sea-country.
Santos, Australia's second-largest independent gas producer, said it had all necessary approvals following consultation with stakeholders.
But in a judgment handed down on Wednesday afternoon, Justice Bromberg said the regulator should not have been lawfully satisfied the project's drilling plan met the legal criteria.
The federal court judge ordered the regulator's approval be set aside and the current drilling injunction continue to October 6.
Santos last month agreed to halt most of its work ahead of Wednesday's ruling.
The company said it would not drill any new wells in the Barossa gas field and stop before it breaches the gas reservoir in its initial drilling.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Police and hospital staff are giving an update following a horror bus and truck crash north-west of Melbourne in the early hours of the morning that led to 33 people, including 27 schoolgirls, being taken to hospital.
Acting Superintendent Jason Templar has used the media briefing to remind drivers that police will be beginning Operation Scoreboard tonight, in which they will crack down on drivers over this coming long weekend.
"You will see police everywhere on our major roads," he said.
Ballarat Health Services CEO Dale Fraser said a Code Brown had been enacted at the hospital at about 7am due to the number of patients arriving at the hospital from the bus crash.
He said 16 patients from the crash attended the hospital, requiring a call-out for more staff to come on board.
He said the Code Brown was stood down by 2pm, when only five patients from the crash were still at the hospital.
"They are all in a stable condition, we do expect further discharges today," he said.
Fraser said the outcome of the crash had been helped by safety precautions.
"We were very lucky here with seatbelts."
The Western Australian Government is supporting all the recommendations made to it by a review into sexual harassment in the state's fly in, fly out mining sector.
Three months after the report was tabled in state parliament, WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston, who is also the Minister for Industrial Relations, has presented the government's response, which includes adding additional resources to the industry regulator – including a 24/7 hotline which will be a "triage point" for complaints.
The government will also fund a community legal centre for victims of sexual misconduct in the industry. That legal centre will be able to refer victims to other services so they can receive justice. Johnston said the centre will be run outside of government to avoid any conflict of interest.
While announcing the response, Johnston also called on the industry to improve.
"We know the government can only go so far and the industry needs to change," he said.
"Industry needs to step up and provide a better environment."
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
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