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Queensland father pulled over by police the night before he and his baby son were found dead, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Queensland father pulled over by police the night before he and his baby son were found dead.


The father who allegedly murdered his six-month-old son was pulled over by Queensland Police and let go despite being over the alcohol limit on the night the baby’s mother reported him missing.

Police sources told 9News the 46-year-old father was pulled over for speeding and returned a low to mid-range positive blood alcohol reading not far from where his and his son William’s bodies were discovered on Wednesday.

It reported the father was let off with an infringement notice instead of being arrested and the officer did not see a baby in the car.

It is unknown if this was before or after William’s mother raised the alarm after her former partner failed to return him in relation to a court ordered agreement.

Detective Inspector Dave Drinnen said the man and the baby’s mother had recently separated after alleged domestic violence incidents, but did not give details.

Detectives are treating the death of the child as suspicious and the man’s death as non-suspicious.

Baby William’s aunt Katie Buckingham has started a GoFundMe campaign to take financial pressures off the mother after this tragedy.

“This should never have happened! The courts have let her down and not kept the babies father away from her son!” she said.

“Now this beautiful and innocent baby boy has been taken from her by the man who did nothing but make her life hell. Please help her and her kids to be able to pay for everything they need to so that they can grieve. This is the saddest day for everyone involved.”

After the mother raised the alarm, it sparked a high-risk missing persons investigation but police did not issue an amber alert seeking the public’s help.

The investigation will consider why an amber alert was not issued.

Anyone needing support is urged to contact beyondblue (1800 22 4636) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

2. UTS introduces ‘all-gender’ bathrooms.

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The University of Technology Sydney has opened all-gender bathrooms to show support for gender diversity.

The university already had unisex bathrooms, but the all-gender concept is more inclusive and aims to “make students feel safe and welcome on campas”, news.com.au reported.

In a statement, UTS said: “Some people within our community don’t identify with traditional binary genders (male and female). Others don’t feel comfortable using a bathroom designated by gender, sometimes because they’ve had a negative experience using a single-gender bathroom due to their appearance or gender identity.”

The toilets will be marked with the words “All Gender” and feature a symbol additional to the male and female symbols.

3. Qld floods leave hundreds homeless.

Hundreds of people remain holed up in Townsville evacuation centres as authorities race to find emergency accommodation for families whose homes were destroyed by floods.

Elsewhere in the north Queensland city, several suburbs remain partially flooded as mopping up operations continue in the tropical heat.

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The homeless families face weeks and months waiting for their flood-damaged homes to be repaired following 10 days of catastrophic flooding.

More than 730 homes have been found to be severely damaged and 252 completely uninhabitable following about 1500 damage assessments, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Thursday.

“That is sad news for families,” she told reporters.

About 20,000 homes are believed to have sustained water impact in the Townsville area.

It’s pushed the damage bill from the near-citywide floods to $124 million and rising, the Insurance Council says.

“As of 10am (on Thursday), insurers (HAD) received 10,064 claims, with insurance losses estimated at $124 million,” the council’s Campbell Fuller told AAP.

He also warned that scammers were active in Townsville, with fake tradies going door to door offering building inspections and repairs for cash before taking the money and running.

There have been more than 16,000 claims for personal hardship assistance with more than $1.9 million paid out so far.

Even as Townsville continues cleaning up after the floods, more flood waters are washing across west and northwest Queensland.

Graziers who last week were trying to ride out a long drought are now losing thousands of head of cattle in the floods.

Outback mayors spoke to disaster managers on Thursday, expressing the enormity of the flooding in communities such as Richmond, Flinders shire and Winton.

Severe weather warnings have finally been cancelled for North Queensland, with the weather system that caused the floods expected to move off the coast on Thursday night.

4. McLachlan due in court for indecency case.

Australian actor Craig McLachlan is due to face court in Melbourne on a raft of indecent assault charges, believed to stem from allegations raised by colleagues.

The screen and stage star, 53, was charged on summons in January with eight counts of indecent assault, one of common assault and attempted indecent assault.

At the time, a spokesman for McLachlan said “Craig is innocent of these charges which will be vigorously defended”.

The Gold Logie winner is scheduled to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, when it will be his first appearance over the charges.

McLachlan became a household name for his roles on Neighbours and Home and Away, and more recently he has led the Ballarat-filmed TV series Doctor Blake Mysteries.

He faced allegations of misconduct by fellow cast members in the Rocky Horror Show stage production, in which he played Dr Frank-N-Furter in 2014.

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The actor strongly denied the allegations and launched defamation action in NSW last year, suing Fairfax Media, the ABC and former co-star Christie Whelan Browne.

McLachlan is seeking $6.5 million in special damages in the defamation case, which has been delayed until after his criminal proceedings in Victoria.

5. ‘Mountain to climb’ for next NAB chief.

The next chief executive of NAB has a “mountain to climb” to bring the bank into line with community expectations, its outgoing chairman believes.

Ken Henry has expressed the sentiment after both he and NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn resigned from the bank on Thursday, in the aftermath of the financial services royal commission.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s final report – made public on Monday – expressed serious concerns about the pair’s leadership and failings that included charging fees for no service.

“Overall, my fear – that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice – remains,” Commissioner Hayne said.

In a media call, Dr Henry said he agrees with Dr Hayne that there is a big gap between what NAB aspires to be and what it currently is.

The bank’s next chief executive will need to be able to deliver a new culture that delivers good service to customers every time and everywhere, he added.

“We all know we’re on the right path, but we’re nowhere near the top of the mountain. The CEO that we bring in as Andrew’s successor has to take us to the top of the mountain.”

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Mr Thorburn, who was chief executive since August 2014, took the opportunity to apologise for his role in the bank’s failures.

“I’m disappointed about that, I’m sorry for that and I’m accountable for that.”

Mr Thorburn will finish at NAB on February 28, while Dr Henry indicated he would retire from the board once a new permanent CEO had been appointed.

Philip Chronican, a current NAB director with extensive domestic banking experience, will serve as acting CEO from March 1 until a permanent appointment is made.

The NAB board will initiate a global search process for the CEO role while actively considering a range of quality internal candidates.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did not wish to respond to the resignations, saying it’s not for him to comment on individual cases.

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the resignations would be of little comfort to victims of the banking industry.

“They don’t want to just see a couple of bankers kissed goodbye with golden handshakes,” he told AAP.

“They want real change to cut the rot out of our banks. This is what the Royal Commission has recommended.

“We must start legislating on these recommendations before the election.”

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