News in 5: Abortion legalised in Queensland; Baby fighting for life after accident; Harry & Meghan to visit Melbourne.

-With AAP

1. ‘Historic’ abortion reforms pass in Qld.

Queensland’s abortion law reforms have been hailed as historic after they passed through parliament.

Under the changes, abortion will be removed from the criminal code and made a health issue, allowing women to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks’ gestation.

Terminations after 22 weeks will be allowed with the approval of two independent doctors.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the changes will ensure women can access safe and legal terminations without fear or stigma.

“This is an historic day for Queensland. The Palaszczuk government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday night.

The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities offering the procedure to stop staff and patients being harassed by anti-abortion activists.

They were passed 50 votes to 41 after both the government and opposition gave their members a conscience vote on the issue.

Opposition MPs Steve Minnikin, Jann Stuckey and former opposition leader Tim Nicholls voting in favour of the changes.

Mr Nicholls told reporters after the vote that he thought he had made the right decision.

“I think it was and will be seen to as an historic day for all the right reasons,” he said.

“I accept people won’t like the decision I have made, but ultimately that is down to me and my conscience.”


Before the debate began, it was revealed the LNP Pine Rivers state electorate council emailed MPs warning them they faced preselection challenges if they voted for the legislation.

It follows reports last month LNP President Gary Spence had warned his MPs they could face preselection challenges if they voted for the changes.

Labor MP Linus Power abstained from the final vote, while maverick Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller voted against the changes, saying she’d made her views on the issue clear for “decades”.

2. Baby fighting for life after freak camping accident.


The family of a three-month-old baby fighting for life after a freak camping accident which also killed one of their dogs say they are “broken”.

Max and Brenda Robins took their daughter Luna and two dogs camping near Dwellingup, Western Australia with family to celebrate their nephews first birthday.

During heavy wind and rain that night, a six-metre pine tree came crashing down on their tent.

Max Robins’ leg was crushed by the tree, while Brenda and Luna were both knocked unconscious. One of their dogs, Mila, was killed.

A crowdfunding page for the family said this was the biggest challenge of their lives.

“We are broken right now, both physically and emotionally,” it reads.

“We have sustained serious injuries and our daughter is currently being treated in the ICU of the children’s hospitals. She is stable and making progress.”

The GoFundMe page said both parents are unable to work due to their injuries.

Luna will require 24 hour monitoring for at least a month.

3. Harry and Meghan to ride Melbourne icon.


A trademark Melbourne experience awaits Prince Harry and his bride Meghan with plans for the royal couple to step aboard a tram while visiting the city.

During Thursday’s itinerary, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take a short ride and experience the world’s largest urban tram network, which boasts some 250km of track.

It’s likely to be a shiny new carriage fit for a king, or at least sixth-in-line-to-the-throne.

The expectant parents will spend time meeting the public, before visiting a school and might even step on some sand.

The couple will meet young community leaders during a special reception hosted by Governor Linda Dessau.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to host the duke and duchess, to show them innovative programs by young Victorians, and to introduce them to our next generation of leaders,” the governor said ahead of the visit.


Premier and republican Daniel Andrews will meet Prince Harry and Meghan at the airport on Thursday morning.

“We’ll be delighted to have them here,” he said.

“There’s some activities at Government House including an opportunity for the royal couple to meet lots of Victorians who I’m sure will be queued up to say ‘hello’ and to say ‘congratulations’ on the pregnancy and then there’s a pretty full program of events.”

After a busy day in Melbourne, Prince Harry and Meghan are due to head back to Sydney.

4. Dreamworld inspector never saw log books.


An engineer has defended his decision to issue a safety certificate for Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride despite never seeing any maintenance logs.

Thomas Polley was appointed by Dreamworld to complete an inspection as part of workplace health and safety regulations a month before four people died on the 30-year-old ride.

In a report dated October 17, 2016, Mr Polley deemed the ride to be mechanically and structurally safe to use.

On October 25 a malfunction on one of the ride’s water pumps led to two rafts colliding and flipping.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi all died in the tragedy.

At an inquest into their deaths on the Gold Coast, Mr Polley refuted a suggestion he should have not issued a certificate due to the lack of logbooks being non-compliant with legislation.

“I don’t agree with that because the ride to me was structurally and mechanically safe,” Mr Polley told the Southport Coroners Court on Wednesday.

Mr Polley was also queried on why he had marked the logbook area of his report as “no fault found” when regulators relied on the information to ensure compliance.

“Whether the regulator looks at it or not is not a big issue for me,” he replied.


Mr Polley will continue giving evidence when the inquest resumes at 9.30am on Thursday.

The inquest is also expected to hear from Dreamworld attractions manager Andrew Fyfe.

5. Call to respect Aussie female sports stars.

Australia’s world-class female athletes still aren’t fully reaping what they sow as global superstars, the nation’s peak advocacy body for women’s sport says.


Women Sport Australia issued a reminder prior to Wednesday’s annual awards night that its fight for a fair share was just beginning as they crowned Swim queen Cate Campbell Sportswoman of the Year.

With the Campbell sisters, surfer Sally Fitzgibbons and ex-track cyclist Anna Meares in the building, WSA president Carol Fox renewed calls for a more concerted effort to elevate the current crop of female stars into the spotlight.

“Women’s sport in Australia has never been stronger,” Fox said in a statement.

“It’s high time our female champions were recognised not just with red carpet award nights, but with a fair living wage, equal conditions on and off the field and equal media time and space.”

Fox said the responsibility rested with governments, sports organisations and local clubs to “provide adequate facilities and sustainable career paths for women in sport from the grassroots to the elite”.

The message struck a serious note in a night otherwise dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Australia’s female champions and just how far women’s sport has come.

Campbell was honoured with the top gong, beating out former winners Stephanie Gilmore (2011) and Sam Kerr (2017), after a vanquishing her Rio Olympics demons at this year’s Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs.

Other major award winners included tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley (Hall of Fame), cricketer Ellyse Perry (Moment of the Year), Matildas star Kerr (Leadership Legend) and boxer Skye Nicolson (Outstanding Woman in Sport).