"Footsteps going to a certain point." NSW mountaineer Ruth McCance feared dead after an avalanche in India's Himalayas, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. “Footsteps going to a certain point.” NSW mountaineer Ruth McCance feared dead after an avalanche in India’s Himalayas.

Footsteps heading into the path of an avalanche have been found in the search for a Sydney mountaineer, who is feared dead along with seven companions in India’s Himalayas.

Ruth McCance is missing along with British team leader Martin Moran, three men from the UK, two people from the US, and an Indian liaison officer.

The eight adventurers were part of a 12-member expedition attempting to summit a previously unclimbed route up Nanda Devi East.

The team trekked into the heart of the Nanda Devi sanctuary “with the ambition of summiting a virgin peak”, adventure company Moran Mountain said in a Facebook post on May 12.


The trip was expected to take about 24 days.

The company on May 22 wrote that the team had reached its second base camp at almost 5000 metres and “after a recce of the route, they will be making a summit attempt on an unclimbed peak at 6477m”.

The expedition’s British deputy leader, Mark Thomas, remained at the second base camp with three others, but was in radio contact with the group of eight that pushed higher.

When Thomas didn’t hear anything after May 26, he went up to look for them. He reportedly found a single unoccupied tent.

There was evidence of a large avalanche beyond that.

“For eight people, there should definitely have been more tents. I would expect at least three more tents to have been there,” IMF spokesman Amid Chowdhury told AAP on Sunday.

Indian Air Force helicopters made two reconnaissance missions on Sunday morning.

The first was to take photographs of the area for mountaineers from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation to examine and give advice as to where the group could be.

A second helicopter picked up Thomas from the base camp and returned to the site where the group is believed to have gone missing from, Chowdhury said.


“Today’s search has not hinted any results, we have not been able to spot any people, or any gear or any clothing,” he said.

“But they’ve been able to see footsteps going to a certain point and then beyond that is the track of the avalanche. So that’s the news, it’s not looking too good.”

Chowdhury said IMF would remain hopeful until there is absolutely clear evidence.

“Since we have been unable to see anything beyond the footsteps ending where the avalanche came down it’s not possible to make a definite, very certain conclusion that they were indeed in the avalanche, or they were not,” he said.

It’s hoped another aerial reconnaissance will be able to be undertaken on Monday, depending on the weather.

McCance’s husband, Trent Goldsack, said the last time he heard from her was a text message a week ago, which said, “OK at base camp”.

“They basically went dark after they left Delhi, but that was expected. She’s done this stuff before,” Goldsack told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Ever since he had known her, this was something McCance wanted to do, he said.

“She’s an amazing woman,” he told the Herald.

Websites linked to McCance reveal an avid adventurer and sailor.

The corporate coach, in a blog post from May 2016, revealed she gave up rock climbing at age 30 because she had “run out of mental and emotional reserves”.


But at 47 she returned to the mountains in a bid to find “wild places that nourish my spirit for as long as my body will let me”.

A rescue team of up to 20 people – including members of the Indian-Tibetan border police and the state disaster management force – left Munsiyari on Saturday morning local time, Chowdhury said.

But it will take them at least three days to reach the avalanche site.

Australia’s foreign affairs department said it was providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian who “may be among a group of trekkers missing in the Nanda Devi area of India”.

2. The crash that killed a QLD mother and her four kids may not have been an accident, police say.


Almost a week after the car crash that killed a Queensland mother and her four young children, Queensland homicide detectives are investigating the possibility the accident may have been deliberate.

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.

Police are now looking at whether the crash was a murder-suicide, after a note believed to have been handwritten by McLeod was found approximately 200 metres away from the scene by investigators, The Courier Mail reports.

This evidence, along with an absence of skid marks at the scene that suggest McLeod hadn’t tried to stop the car, has resulted in homicide investigators and other specialist police being asked to assist in the investigation.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said on Friday they have not yet added the deaths of McLeod and her four children to the official road toll, because there is a possibility the crash was not an accident.

On Monday, 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.


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 initially believed 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.

Police are also looking into McLeod’s online activity for any clues as to why the mother-of-four was driving three hours away from her Hervey Bay home where the crash took place, when there were no relatives in the area or nearby.

Weeks before she died, McLeod posted a message about feeling alone on Facebook.

“I feel as if, if you cant or don’t 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.”

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.”

Bayside Christian Church assistant pastor Peter Ford, who first met McLeod when she was a teenager in Hervey Bay, remembers her as an active church member and 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.”

GoFundMe in honour of McLeod and her children has so far raised over $17,000.


If this story has raised any issues for you, please seek professional help and contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

3. New Labor leader Anthony Albanese has appointed Bill Shorten shadow minister for the NDIS.

Bill Shorten is “very pleased” with his new role as shadow minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which sees the former Labor leader take a policy full-circle.

He said creating the NDIS was his first job in politics and “remains one of the great privileges” of his life.

“I’m honoured by the opportunity I’ve been given, I’m determined to see the promise of the NDIS fulfilled,” he wrote on Facebook on Sunday, after new leader Anthony Albanese unveiled his shadow ministry.


“I’m going to give everything I have to making this great Labor initiative a reality for those who rely on it.”

Along with the NDIS portfolio Mr Shorten will take on government services.

Former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek will keep the education and training portfolio while NSW senator Kristina Keneally will be Labor’s first spokeswoman for home affairs on top of her deputy senate leader role.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was quick to criticise the appointment, accusing her of being opposed to the government’s Operation Sovereign Borders.

“There couldn’t be anybody less qualified in the Labor Party to be the home affairs shadow minister,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

As expected, Queensland MP Jim Chalmers has been given the role of shadow treasurer, saying the party’s financial policies are up for review.

He takes the role from Chris Bowen, who will work on the health portfolio after asking for a social policy area.

This is a wide step for Mr Bowen, who was central to the financial policies Labor took to the election – such as changes to franking credits and negative gearing.

The policies were the focus of government attacks during the election campaign and were pivotal in Labor’s loss.


Mr Albanese says Dr Chalmers will lead an “effective team”, which also includes ACT senator Katy Gallagher on finance and Stephen Jones with financial services.

“Our economic team I think is particularly strong,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney as he announced the new line-up.

Mr Albanese says Mr Bowen is “quite pleased” with his new role, as is Mr Shorten.

“He looks forward to it with enthusiasm and he will do the job well. He is an important part of our team,” the new leader said about Mr Shorten.

Queensland MP Terri Butler will take on environment and water while Mark Butler is to remain on energy and climate change.

Catherine King – who had health for a record six years as a shadow minister – will now look after infrastructure, transport and regional development.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles remains on defence, while Senate leader Penny Wong will also stay with the foreign affairs portfolio.

Canberra-based MP Andrew Leigh, who was dumped from the shadow ministry in the post-election reshuffle, will become shadow assistant minister for Treasury and charities.

Western Sydney MP Ed Husic, who made way for Senator Keneally on the front bench, was not named as an assistant shadow minister in Labor’s line-up.

4. A cruise ship has collided with a tourist boat docked in Venice.


A cruise ship has rammed into a parked tourist boat as it docked in Venice, Italian media reports say.

The ship, which dwarfed the other vessel, crashed as it came into the San Basilio cruise terminal in the popular lagoon city on Sunday, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

Dramatic footage of the collision appeared to show some people falling into the water as the smaller boat was hit. The larger ship, with the name “Msc Opera” on the side, loudly blasted its horn as it approached while passersby ran away.


Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro confirmed on Twitter that a ship had rammed into the dock.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper said that four of the smaller boat’s passengers sustained light injuries.

The accident took place on the Giudecca canal in the centre of Venice, where there has been long-running debate over access to cruise ships on the city’s iconic but increasingly overcrowded waterways. Critics have called for a complete ban on cruise ships.

5. NSW Police vow to end ‘boys club’ problems following “disturbing” report findings.

NSW Police are promising to dismantle their despised promotions system, end the force’s “boys club” culture, and clamp down on sexual harassment in a bid to level the playing field for female officers.

The police union is calling for urgent action, noting the “disturbing” findings of a new report have not come as a shock to everybody.

Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO, was tasked with examining the impact the police force’s internal culture is having on women trying to move up through the ranks in June last year.

The review, released on Sunday, surveyed almost 3500 officers online and sat down with focus groups and individuals.

It concluded women were forced to conform to a “masculine culture” to find a position in the organisation.

“Female police officers conveyed to the review that they have to modify their behaviours and are constantly trying to ‘prove themselves’ in order to be ‘accepted’ and ‘taken seriously’.”


Further, the report found two-thirds of female officers felt cliques, in-crowds and the “boys club” formed a barrier to promotion. Over half of male officers also felt excluded from the informal networks in the force.

A 2006 inquiry which found 47.5 per cent of police officers had experienced sexual harassment at work.

But the Broderick review found the issue has endured in parts of the force.

One-in-three women reported sexually harassed by a colleague in the last five years, the review says, while only 13 per cent of men said the same.

Only 15 per cent of officers said they’d make a formal complaint fearing it could negatively impact their career.

NSW Police moved toward a new promotions system designed to combat corruption and nepotism in the early 2000s.

But, now, that system evokes “almost universal dissatisfaction” from police because it’s seen as too rigid, onerous, slow-moving, affected by cliques and indifferent to carers, the review says.

“There is a general view that the promotions system as it currently operates does not always ensure that the best candidate is promoted,” it says.

The force does not appear discriminatory on the surface, police told the review, but the fact women are more likely to be carers means they’re facing disproportionate adversity.


“Loss of standing due to working part-time creates a cascading effect where women are less likely to be given ‘the big jobs’ which can impact on their opportunities to further progress.”

As a result female officers are under-represented in all leadership positions.

Commissioner Mick Fuller, who requested the review, welcomed the findings and fully supported the 30 recommendations it made.

He pledged to move past the “male-dominated bygone era” and bring in a new, equitable promotions system.

“A police officer, male or female, who is trying to balance family and home life with their careers, through part-time and flexible working arrangements, should not be discriminated against or overlooked for promotion and development,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

President of the Police Association of NSW, Tony King, said the findings are “confronting”.

“Unfortunately for those of us who have been calling for reform for a long time, they haven’t come as a complete shock though,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

He called for a high-quality complaints system to address harassment.

“The statistics around the number of police being sexually harassed at work is unacceptable – that simply cannot go on,” he said.

He applauded Mr Fuller for addressing the serious issues in the force.