Alleged Claremont killer's ex-wife tells trial she 'feared for her life', & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. Alleged Claremont killer’s ex-wife tells trial she ‘feared for her life’.

The first week of Western Australia’s so-called “trial of the century” is drawing to a close and plenty of revelations have already emerged.

Bradley Robert Edwards’ second wife gave explosive but truncated testimony on Thursday, saying she feared for her life towards the end of their marriage when she compiled a notebook of his bank transactions because she was sick of his lies.

At least one bank statement that the notes were based on was missing and covered the period when the third victim, 27-year-old lawyer Ciara Glennon, was murdered on March 15, 1997.

The notes also showed two withdrawals from a Bayview Terrace ATM, despite Edwards claiming to police he had no association with Claremont.

claremont serial killer trial
Edwards' three alleged victims. Images: AAP.

The woman was prevented from elaborating.

The woman explained how she and Edwards met at work and went on their first date in early April 1997.

By 2014, the woman said her marriage to Edwards deteriorated when she got "sick and tired of the lies".

"I feared for my life," she said.

She moved out of the house in July 2015, but her voice cracked when she told the court her 21-year-old daughter had remained living in the house with Edwards.

On Wednesday, the confessed rapist's first wife painted a picture of a dutiful husband who would drop her off and pick her up from work every day, and was civil after they broke up amid her infidelity.

But he once failed to collect her after an "incident" at Hollywood Hospital, she said.


That was an attack on a hospital social worker while he was doing work for Telstra at the facility in 1990, which earned him an assault conviction and an order to complete a sex offender program.

On Tuesday, Edwards' barrister Paul Yovich said in his brief opening remarks the defence case was simple: his client did not do it.

He said some DNA exhibits relied upon by prosecutors had been contaminated in a laboratory and fibre evidence may also be tainted.

On Monday, prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said it was a miracle the bodies of Ms Glennon and childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, were found in bushland.

While the body of 18-year-old secretary Sarah Spiers has not been found, the killer's identity would be proved in other ways, she said.

2. Sydney's controversial lockout laws will come to an end on January 14.

Sydney's lockout laws will be no more from January 14.

The controversial laws, which were introduced in 2014 in the CBD after the deaths of one-punch victims Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, will be wound back in the new year everywhere except Kings Cross.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday announced the changes, which will also remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glasses after midnight and remove the 10pm curfew on bottle shop opening hours.

A 3.30am last drinks curfew will also be implemented - a 30-minute extension that went against the 3.00am curfew recommended by doctors.

St Vincent's Hospital has expressed "dismay" at the government's decision to extend last drinks and bottle shop opening hours, against its recommendations.


"After five years of these laws keeping people safe from alcohol-related harms, this is a very disappointing conclusion," St Vincent's director of emergency Dr Paul Preisz said in a statement on Thursday.

"All the evidence tells us, here and overseas, that for every extra hour alcohol is sold, there is a corresponding increase in harm."

The government has pledged a review of the changes in 12 months.

"We did not take this decision lightly," Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

"Community safety is the number one priority but governments always have to balance community safety along with other considerations."

The lockout law changes come after a parliamentary report by the Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night-time Economy in September recommended the removal of the laws in the CBD, saying they cost NSW $16 billion a year.

The premier said while the lockout laws had made Sydney safer, it was now time to encourage the city's 24-hour economy.

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay on Thursday told reporters she welcomed the changes but said they should be made in the next week so businesses hurt by the laws could benefit from the festive season.

"We are disappointed that it hasn't been implemented sooner," Ms McKay said.

"Our one major concern is in regard to the lack of oversight by a minister for the night-time economy.

"This is more than just a regulation issue, it's more than just changing the time, this is an issue about how we revitalise our CBD."

Earlier, the premier dismissed the need for the role, saying ministerial responsibility would fall under the portfolio of Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore on Thursday told reporters the city was "rejoicing" at the news.

"This is a really exciting day for our night-time economy, for our musos, for hospo workers, for business in the city," Ms Moore said.

The parliamentary committee report, released on September 30, said the Kings Cross precinct is "not yet sufficiently changed" to warrant the removal of lockout laws, and the issue should be revisited in 12 months.

It said the repeal of lockout laws in Kings Cross, without improvements to lighting, street layout and venue density, would prompt a return to excessive alcohol consumption and violence.

3. Labor says the Morrison government owes hundreds of millions of dollars after robo-debt decision.


The Morrison government owes Australians hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation after the Federal Court ruled robo-debt was unlawful, Labor says.

The government should say how long they knew the scheme was unlawful, Labor's shadow government services minister Bill Shorten demanded.

The controversial robo-debt was ruled unlawful on Wednesday, with the court saying Centrelink could not have been satisfied the debt was correct.

The decision comes after the federal government made significant changes to the debt recovery system, which has used data-matching to land people with debts they do not owe.

While not commenting on the court decision, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert has defended the process of ensuring Australians receive the correct amount of welfare.

"We will continue to use data matching to line up a tax return with an individual Australian's welfare they've received as the basis to ascertain whether a debt may exist," he told parliament during a debate on robo-debt.

The previous Labor government introduced a similar process to robo-debt in 2011, where each case was reviewed by a Department of Human Services staff member.

The coalition moved to a fully-automated system in 2016.

The Federal Court's ruling is an earthquake decision, Mr Shorten says.

"This is not the end of the robo-debt matter because there will be hundreds of thousands of Australians who went through stress, trauma, administrative headache," he said.

"And if you believe some grieving families, it's been the cause of suicide."

The Greens have accused the government of defying the Senate after it refused to produce its legal advice on why it had decided to wind back robo-debt.


Senator Rachel Siewert said the government was evading responsibility.

"Clearly this government has something to hide," Senator Siewert said.

Wednesday's decision centred around Victorian woman Deanna Amato, who was ordered to pay $2754 to the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs Centrelink.

Victorian Legal Aid took her case to the Federal Court and she was paid the $1709 taken from her tax return to cover the debt.

It "could not have been satisfied that a debt was owed in the amount of the alleged debt", Justice Jennifer Davies decided in the Federal Court.

The justice decided Ms Amato was also entitled to the interest earned on the money and the government was ordered to pay her legal costs.

The robo-debt scheme is also facing a potential class action lawsuit.

Earlier this month Department of Human Services staff were told not to rely entirely on the robo-debt system and instead undertake further investigations to determine whether people owe money.

4. Domestic violence shelters will get a $60m boost in government funding.

Crisis accommodation providers for women and children fleeing domestic violence will soon be able to apply for a share of $60 million in federal government grants.

The total funding package is expected to benefit up to 6500 women and children each year by helping organisations construct, repurpose or renovate buildings.

"Domestic violence, unfortunately, is a big contributor to (homelessness), so we're looking forward to these places getting built," Assistant Community Housing Minister Luke Howarth told reporters on Thursday.

"It's certainly a very positive start to ensuring women and children are protected."

But Mr Howarth acknowledged the package would not meet the demand for accommodation.

"I expect that we will be oversubscribed and we won't be able to meet all the demand on this round but if we need further rounds then I'll be pushing the prime minister and others to open up further rounds," he said.

The first accommodation funded by the scheme is not expected to open until early 2022.

Included in the package is also $18 million dedicated to improving safety when women choose to stay in their homes, which could be used for upgrades including locks or more

5. Jacinda Ardern apologises to the families of those killed in the Mount Erebus tragedy.


Forty years after the tragedy, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given a "whole-hearted and wide-reaching" apology to the families of those killed in the Mount Erebus disaster.

On November 28, 1979, Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into the side of the Antarctic mountain, killing all 257 on board, including 200 Kiwis and one Australian.

The anniversary of the worst aviation incident in the country's history - and greatest peacetime loss of life - has drawn much attention in New Zealand.

There have been calls for a memorial and the re-airing of grievances thrown up by two official and conflicting reports conducted in the aftermath of the crash.

Previous governments failed to table those inquiries in parliament until 20 years after the crash.

On Thursday, Ardern gathered with victims' families at Government House in Auckland to deliver the apology, saying the government's botched response "was wrong. It caused trauma on top of grief. And persecution on top of pain".

"I have read many accounts from family members. Letters telling stories of that day, of the weeks that followed, of the trauma that arises any time that Erebus is mentioned," she said.

"All I know is that after 40 years, setting down grief will only be made harder, if we don't acknowledge past wrongs.

"After 40 years, on behalf of today's government, the time has come to apologise for the actions of an airline then in full state ownership; which ultimately caused the loss of the aircraft and the loss of those you loved.

"This apology is whole-hearted and wide-reaching. We will never know your grief but I know the time has come to say I am sorry."

At the same time as the memorial service in Auckland, staff based at New Zealand's Scott Base in Antarctica also read a message from Ardern and held a moment's silence.