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"You just get left behind." Queensland mum's last Facebook post before she and her four children were killed in a car crash, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. “You just get left behind.” Queensland mum’s last Facebook post before she and her four children were killed in a car crash.

The mother killed in a car crash with her four children posted a message about feeling alone on Facebook weeks before she died.

Charmaine Harris McLeod, 35, and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4, and Zaidok, 2, died after their station wagon slammed into an oncoming truck south of Kingaroy on Monday night.

“I feel as if, if you cant or dont grasp God/healing etc, when they think you should have then you just get left behind,” she wrote on the page for her local church last month.

“You would think there would be support/help, but very very little, they were always too busy, not one piece of clothing or a piece of bread was offered, let alone shelter.

“I feel as if I’ve done it alone… these are the things Jesus did, he ate with the less fortunate.. I’ve asked for prayer before surgery & yes I’ve had a lot of surgeries but they don’t, they do for others though.”

Bayside Christian Church assistant pastor Peter Ford first met McLeod when she was a teenager in Hervey Bay.

He remembers her as an active church member, who was the driving force behind a decade-old community barbecue event on Christmas Day for people without family and friends.

“In her younger days, she also worked with Youth In Search, which is a Queensland-wide organisation,” he told AAP.

“She really wanted to help others and the community – she had a heart for that.”

Pastor Ford said he spent the past day consoling shocked members of 700-strong church community after news broke of the family’s tragic deaths.

The children’s distraught father James McLeod has described his last visit with the beautiful souls, who he says were loved by everyone who knew them.

He told the Courier-Mail on Wednesday it was during this last visit that his youngest son, Zaidok, told him he loved him for the first time.

“Young Zaidok – he was just a little adventurer. A loving and kind kid,” McLeod told the newspaper.

“The last supervised visitation I had with them, not last Saturday but the Saturday beforehand, he actually said that he loves me, daddy, to me. Just out of the blue.

“They were beautiful, intelligent, bright, smart kids.”

Paramedics had to fight their way through flames and smoke to reach the vehicle, which was set ablaze along with the truck on Bunya Highway, just south of Kingaroy.

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They managed to pull out one of the girls who’d suffered horrific burns, but there was nothing they could do to save the others who died there.

The girl who was pulled from the car made it to hospital but died while on a rescue flight bound for Brisbane.

The truck driver was injured but managed to free himself as the blaze spread to surrounding grass.

Police believe the children’s mum was trying to overtake when her car slammed head-on into the truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction.

They were calling on Wednesday for any witnesses who might have seen the accident or have dashcam footage to help them piece together exactly what happened.

Forensic testing was also underway on Wednesday to formally identify the family.

“I just wish this wasn’t true,” Libby Fox wrote on a GoFundMe page to help raise $30,000 to pay for the funerals. $7700 had been donated by 232 people on Wednesday afternoon.

“My deepest sympathy and condolences for the loss of a beautiful mum and her four angel children,” Fox wrote.

2. Ashton Kutcher has testified at the murder trial of his former girlfriend.

UPDATE: Actor Ashton Kutcher testified Wednesday morning in the trial of the serial killing suspect known as the “Hollywood Ripper.” Kutcher was scheduled to go on a date with one of the suspect’s alleged victims on the day she was murdered in 2001. https://t.co/qZTONYXEu7 pic.twitter.com/xWc9kSnq2D

Ashton Kutcher has testified as a witness during a murder trial in Los Angeles.

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The 41-year-old actor has told the court he went to pick up Ashley Ellerin to go out for drinks on a night in 2001, but left when she did not answer her door.

The next day he learned she had been killed.

The TV and film star said from the witness stand on Wednesday that he looked into the window at the Hollywood home of 22-year-old Ellerin and saw what he believed were wine stains.

He then left, thinking the fashion design student had already gone out for the night.

Kutcher said he told detectives the next day he knew his fingerprints were on the door and he was “freaking out”.

His testimony came during the trial of Michael Gargiulo, who is charged with killing Ellerin and another woman.

Gargiulo, 43, has pleaded not guilty at Los Angeles Superior Court to two counts of murder and an attempted murder charge stemming from attacks in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008.

3. New rape charges for NRL Dragons player Jack de Belin.

jack de belin stood down
The NRL player received new rape charges over the alleged assault of a teenager in Wollongong. Image: Getty.

St George Illawarra Dragons NRL player Jack de Belin and a friend have been charged with new rape charges over the alleged assault of a teenager in Wollongong.

De Belin, 27, and Callan Sinclair, 21, were charged with aggravated sexual assault after the alleged attack on a 19-year-old woman in a unit in the early hours of December 9.

Police allege they had sexual intercourse with the woman without her consent, in circumstances of aggravation, and in the company.

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De Belin pleaded not guilty to the rape in February.

Sinclair has indicated he will also fight the allegations.

But NSW Police confirmed they charged de Belin with two additional counts of aggravated sexual assault in company when he faced Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday.

He now faces three charges.

Sinclair was also hit with a second rape offence on Wednesday.

AAP understands the charges relate to the same alleged victim during the same encounter on December 9.

The pair's bail conditions remained unchanged after Wednesday's appearance.

They are expected to return to the same court on July 24.

The sexual assault offence carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.

4. Sydney lockout laws likely to be relaxed as NSW Premier orders review.


Emergency service workers can't fathom why the Berejiklian government wants to review Sydney's controversial lockout laws but businesses are delighted by the development.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced a cross-party parliamentary committee will consult with police and health, community, entertainment and music groups when reviewing the city's night-time economy.

The government has already relaxed aspects of the laws by extending trading hours during major events and making it easier for small bars, restaurants and cafes to start up and operate.

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"Now is the time, five years since the initial introduction of the laws, for us to take stock and examine whether any further changes should be made," Ms Berejiklian told parliament on Wednesday.

The premier said non-domestic assaults had significantly dropped in the CBD and Kings Cross since 2014 when the government introduced the laws in response to alcohol-fuelled violence.

The Liberal leader said everyone welcomed the increase in community health and safety "and any changes considered should keep these considerations front and centre".

Keep Sydney Open party leader Tyson Koh - who unsuccessfully ran for an upper house seat in the March state election - believes the review is a positive sign.

"We knew that (the laws) were ridiculous from day one and finally the premier has seen the light," Mr Koh told AAP.

But Dr Tony Sara from the Last Drinks campaign - which represents some police and ambulance officers, nurses and doctors - said he couldn't fathom why there would be another review.

"We would think the facts are fairly clear that the lockout laws have been very successful, they've saved lives, they've prevented serious injuries," he told reporters in Sydney.

"About 1800 assaults have not happened as a result of the lockout laws. We would say what is the point? What is going on here?"

Sydney Business Chamber spokesman Chris Lamont acknowledges the lockout laws have curbed alcohol-related violence but says "it's clear they've had a negative impact on the vibrancy of our city."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore argues the lockout laws have taken a "sledgehammer" to Sydney's nightlife.

"As the committee considers winding back the laws, it must consider other measures to ensure a safe and vibrant nightlife," she tweeted on Wednesday.

Labor will support the review and plans to nominate a member from each house to sit on the committee.

"We intend to take an evidence-based approach to the impact of the lockout laws on both safety and Sydney's night-time economy," opposition spokesman John Graham said in a statement.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party leader Robert Borsak - who like Greens MP Cate Faehrmann wants the lockout laws repealed - is cynical of the review so won't participate.

"In the end, you'll have a committee dominated by the government that will simply do the government's bidding," he told AAP.

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The parliamentary committee will look at any measures needed to maintain and enhance health and community safety, enhance the night economy and ensure that regulations - including lockout laws - remain balanced.

Police Minister David Elliott noted community safety was high on its terms of reference, saying he'd be working with the police commissioner "to make sure that that is remembered".

The committee is due to report by the end of September.

5. Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally set for Labor frontbench as Ed Husic steps aside.

Anthony Albanese Labor leadership
Photo: Brook Mitchell

Incoming Labor leader Anthony Albanese has won the first test of his authority with shadow minister Ed Husic stepping aside to allow former NSW premier Kristina Keneally to sit on the opposition's frontbench.

Mr Albanese insisted Senator Keneally go into the shadow ministry, against the will of some of her NSW Right faction colleagues who wanted Mr Husic to stay on.

The NSW MP said while he had loved being a shadow minister he would not be running for the role and stood aside on Wednesday.

"Instead I'll be backing my great friend Kristina Keneally for that spot. We need to ensure someone of Kristina's enormous talents has the opportunity to make a powerful contribution on the frontline, in the Senate," Mr Husic said in a statement on Facebook.

With Bill Shorten quitting the leadership following the party's May 18 election loss, Mr Albanese was the only nominee for the top post and Victorian MP Richard Marles will be endorsed unopposed as his deputy.

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Mr Albanese arrived back in Canberra on Wednesday for Left and Right faction meetings and the first post-election caucus meeting on Thursday.

The caucus will pick the 30 members of the shadow ministry, but Mr Albanese will allocate portfolios - expected to be announced on Sunday or Monday.

There is speculation shadow treasurer Chris Bowen will make way for Queensland MP Jim Chalmers in the key economic portfolio, with Mr Bowen taking on another frontbench role.

Mr Shorten, who led the party for six years and opposed Mr Albanese's elevation to the role, is understood to be seeking the disabilities portfolio.

Mr Albanese said he would treat the former leader with the "appropriate respect".

"I have no doubt that the team that we assemble will be balanced ... in terms of gender, in terms of state representation and I expect that it will be a very good team who will hold the government to account," Mr Albanese told reporters.

Victorian senator Kim Carr's decision not to seek a shadow cabinet post opens another vacancy for Mr Albanese to fill.

In the outer ministry there are two vacant positions with NSW senator Doug Cameron and Queensland senator Claire Moore retiring from parliament.

Question marks hang over factionally unaligned ACT MP Andrew Leigh's future on the frontbench.

Some caucus members are concerned about a shortfall of women in top posts, with Tanya Plibersek having stepped down from the deputy role.

There is a push to restore gender balance with Senator Keneally installed as deputy leader in the Senate, working alongside Senate leader Penny Wong, but there is resistance from the current deputy Don Farrell.

Mr Albanese said any decisions would reflect the fact the "caucus is supreme".

"I'm talking to caucus members not with hats on, I'm talking to them about the Labor interest - not any factional interests, not state interests but the Labor interest," he said.

"What I want is after the next election, when I first visit Parliament House, to drive up through another entrance ... the ministerial wing.

"And we can only achieve that if we have the best team, if we're united, if coherent in the views that we put forward and I'm very confident that we can do that."

The new shadow ministry will meet for the first time next week.

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