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Branson, Giuliani to headline Qld summit

It’s hoped a visit by Sir Richard Branson and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to Queensland later this year will provide a much-needed shot in the arm as business tries to recover from the summer floods.

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Sir Richard and Mr Giuliani will headline Brisbane’s 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit from July 6-9. The conference, held every two years, is held to drive economic growth and help local businesses enter the Asia Pacific market.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said having the high profile pair at the conference was “unashamedly” about attracting delegates to the city.

“These two speakers, we believe, will give an extra level of prominence and interest to attract people from around the globe,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We will be pulling out all stops to showcase Brisbane.

“People internationally have seen the scenes of devastation, but they’ve also seen a city that rallied, they’ve seen the volunteer effort, they’ve seen the fast clean-up and now we want to show people what the city’s really all about.”

Mr Newman said more than 1500 delegates from more than 100 cities could attend the event. They would find Brisbane was a great city that had bounced back and was open for business, he said.

He said the event would provide a great shot in the arm for the southeast.

The previous summit in 2009 had led to more than $4 million in business being done, he said.

Mr Newman said there was a “certain symmetry” between Mr Giuliani’s experience rebuilding New York and Brisbane’s circumstance now.

“We are inspired, I think all of us, by what he did in New York, particularly how he had to handle that terrible day – September 11, 2001 – and the aftermath,” he said.

“And I think there is a certain symmetry in what he had to do and, dare I say it, what’s happened in the city of Brisbane with our recovery as well.

“So I think that works quite well for us.”

He also cited Sir Richard’s connections with Brisbane, being the headquarters of his Virgin Blue company.

The state government will chip in more than $300,000 to sponsor the summit, with the council spending up to $450,000 on the $1.8 million event.

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Enough is enough: Gallop

Gallop faced more questions about Manly’s call for an apology when he fronted a media conference before the NRL’s club members’ forum in western Sydney on Wednesday.

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But he was in no mood to continue the argument, urging the Sea Eagles to move on from their beef over the penalties handed down to star Brett Stewart and the club at the start of the 2009 season.

“Frankly, enough is enough on this issue, and we’re not going to revisit something that happened two years ago,” Gallop said.

“Manly had every opportunity to appeal those decisions at the time and they didn’t, they need to read their own report furnished to us at the time.

“They also need to stop saying the jury cleared Brett Stewart of anything other than a sexual assault charge.

“I think he needs to be allowed to focus on his football and everyone concerned should move on.”

The Sea Eagles, led by coach Des Hasler, launched a scathing attack on Gallop and the game’s organising body on Tuesday, claiming Stewart’s treatment, when he was suspended for four matches for allegedly breaching its code with drunken conduct following their boozy 2009 season launch, “was grossly unfair”.

The cash-strapped club was also fined $100,000 at the time. Stewart was subsequently cleared in court of a sex assault charge stemming from the hours after the launch.

Manly contrasted the NRL’s handling of Stewart with its treatment of West Tigers star Benji Marshall this week after the Wests Tigers star was involved in an incident that saw him charged with assault.

The governing body said it would await the outcome of Marshall’s assault charge in court before deciding any action.

And Gallop did not accept it was a valid comparison as there was no suggestion Marshall had breached the code of conduct apart from the police matter.

Gallop admitted on Wednesday that the Marshall saga, coming just two days after he launched the new season, was “not ideal”, but said he was comfortable with the way it had been handled.

“The facts around Benji’s charge will come out in court and I hope that it will happen sooner rather than later for his sake, the game’s sake and the Wests Tigers’ sake,” Gallop said.

“We would prefer not to be dealing with the issues we have had to deal with this week, we had a great season launch and everyone is excited about the footy on Friday.

“Sometimes the game has to deal with difficult issues and we have done that.”

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Gaddafi son says ‘victory in sight’

Muammar Gaddafi’s son says victory is in sight against rebels fighting his father’s iron-fisted regime after loyalist forces retook two key towns and Western powers fretted over how to deal with the civil war while tightening the screws further.

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He spoke after NATO and the European Union began 48 hours of crisis talks, amid growing calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, reports France would even support selective air strikes and more ships being deployed to the area.

“We’re coming,” Seif al-Islam told young regime supporters in Tripoli, referring to the advance of government forces towards the eastern rebel bastion of Benghazi.

“I send a message to our brothers and friends in the east who are sending us daily calls for help and asking us to rescue them: we’re coming,” he said.

“Victory is in sight. Victory is near,” he told the exuberant youths.

“I swear before God that we’re going to win.”

Earlier, in an interview broadcast on Britain’s Sky News and BBC TV, Seif said the regime would “never surrender” to the rebels and did not fear foreign intervention.

“This is our country, we will never, ever give up and we will never, ever surrender,” he insisted.

“We are not afraid of the American fleet, NATO, France, Europe. This is our country. We live here, we die here. We will never, ever surrender to those terrorists.”

The momentum in the conflict is shifting in favour of Gaddafi’s forces that are “robustly equipped” with Russian weapons and likely to defeat the rebels, US officials said.

“Initially the momentum was with the other side,” Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told US senators.

“That has started to shift. Whether or not it has fully moved to Gaddafi’s side at this time is not clear. We have now reached a state of equilibrium. The initiative may be actually be on the regime side.”

With its fighters in retreat, the opposition appealed to Western powers meeting in Brussels to follow France’s lead in recognising their national council.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States is in “direct contact” with senior opposition people, including members of the rebel national council.

“We are coordinating with the opposition, with the council to provide assistance and to determine the best ways we can support their aspirations,” he added, while saying Washington is still trying to get a sense of “what their vision is, who they represent, what their ideas are and where they would take Libya.”

Targeted by rocket fire, rebels fled from Ras Lanuf, a strategic coastal oil town in eastern Libya they captured last Friday, Agence France-Presse reporters said.

A hospital official in Brega, about 85 kilometres further east along the Mediterranean coast, said: “We have four dead and 35 wounded, but there’s still many more coming” in from Ras Lanuf.

Medics say 400 people have died and 2000 more have been wounded in eastern Libya since February 17.

On the battlefield, rebel vehicles streamed eastward from Ras Lanuf after hours of heavy shelling and rocket attacks.

Other rebels appeared to stay in town, but dejected fighters said they had been defeated as rockets exploded and there was at least one air strike.

“We’ve been defeated. They are shelling and we are running away. That means that they’re taking Ras Lanuf,” said one rebel fighter.

In the west, an intense battle for control of Zawiyah, the site of major oil installations 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, ended in victory for Gaddafi’s forces on Wednesday night.

“The town is now under the army’s control,” said a resident by telephone on Thursday.

Rebels overran Zawiyah soon after a popular uprising erupted against Gaddafi on February 15, and the city had been under assault for several days by artillery and tanks.

Despite the loss of Zawiyah, a rebel in the mountainous Jabal al-Gharbi region some 90 kilometres to the south said “revolutionaries control several towns” in that area, including Zintan, which was the site of earlier fighting.

In Brussels, NATO and the European Union were meeting on Thursday and Friday to ponder military and economic options against Gaddafi, which could include a no-fly zone, humanitarian aid and economic props.

A source close to Nicolas Sarkozy, who asked not to be named, said the French president will propose “striking an extremely limited number of points which are the source of the most deadly operations” by Gaddafi loyalists.

The sites being considered are Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia command headquarters in Tripoli, a military air base in Sirte, east of Tripoli and another in Sebha in the south, the source added.

The president’s office declined to confirm the claim.

France, which on Thursday recognised the rebel national council, has seized the initiative in pressure against Gaddafi and has been working with Britain to lobby for a United Nations Security Council imprimatur for a no-fly zone.

The United States wants any military action conducted under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with Arab regional backing seen as essential.

In Washington, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said “the Libyan air defence structure on the ground, radar and surface-to-air missiles, is quite substantial”.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that “if there is a demonstrable need, if we have a clear mandate and strong regional support, we stand ready to help”.

He told a news conference “it has been decided to increase the presence of NATO maritime assets in the central Mediterranean” to bolster surveillance of Libya and monitor an arms embargo.

However, there was no decision to launch a no-fly zone — opposed by Germany — with the alliance endorsing further military planning if the United Nations endorsed the move.

But with Russia opposing an air exclusion area, UN backing appeared unlikely for any move to shut down Gaddafi’s air force.

The ministers also called for urgent “detailed planning” for humanitarian efforts and for possible measures to enforce the arms embargo if called on by the UN Security Council, Rasmussen said.

The rebel national council, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a grouping of Muslim countries, have already called for a no-fly zone.

NATO has stepped up surveillance of Libya’s air space with radar-equipped aircraft, Rasmussen said.

Arab states in the Gulf said on Thursday that Gaddafi’s regime was illegitimate and that contacts should be initiated with the rebels.

In other developments, Greece announced that a plane was on the way to Tripoli to collect three Dutch soldiers freed after being captured last month in a botched attempt to evacuate two civilians by navy helicopter.

Elsewhere in the volatile Middle East, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh bowed to pressure after a month of violent protests, but his pledge to devolve power to parliament was swiftly rejected as too late by the opposition.

World oil prices dived on Thursday, despite jitters over Libyan unrest on the eve of planned protests in OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, tumbled $2.94 to $101.44 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for April slid $1.80 to $114.14 per barrel.

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Suns still years off AFL finals: Eade

Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has poured cold water on expectations of the AFL expansion club after their limp round one loss to Melbourne.

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The Suns were flat for long periods and out-muscled by a new-look Demons side, which finished 17th last season.

Eade made no attempt to hide his anger at the performance, leading him to a gloomy outlook for Gold Coast in 2015.

The former Sydney and Bulldogs coach says the Suns should forget about finals until their effort matches their talent.

“I think still a couple of years away at least, no doubt,” he told Channel Seven on Sunday.

“On the back of yesterday, maybe there’s an over-reliance on Gary (Ablett).

“(Maybe) it is 21, 22-year-olds that have been told that they have talent and they think that talent is going to get them through.

“I think we need to go past that … we need to stand up.”

The news from Queensland didn’t get any better for Eade, with Jaeger O’Meara set for a long absence with a ruptured patella from a Suns reserves match.

“He will be out for the season I would think,” Eade said of O’Meara.

“We were close to picking him … he played in a boggy heap at Coorparoo.

“It just seems like a freak accident, he went to soccer the ball and a guy came across his knee front on, hit him and hyperextended his knee.”

At least Ablett’s outlook is better, who Eade said “looked a bit rusty” but would be better for the run after an interrupted pre-season.

Eade’s comments on the Suns’ progression may come as a shock to club bosses, who replaced foundation coach Guy McKenna with Eade after their 2014 finals campaign fell flat, finishing 12th.

McKenna told ABC radio he believed he would still be senior coach if it wasn’t for Ablett’s shoulder injury, having qualified for September football.

But anyone at the MCG on Saturday saw only one 2015 finals aspirant and it wasn’t Gold Coast.

Eade said it was a disappointing performance on his return to senior coaching.

“We didn’t play very well at all … we got outworked,” he said.

“The disappointing part was things that we’d trained and practised for four months just weren’t there.

“For whatever reason they didn’t bring their effort down with them on the plane.

“And that’s the first thing you need to win a game of footy.”

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Don’t strip Bulldogs of points: Eels coach

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says rivals Canterbury shouldn’t be stripped of competition points by the NRL over their fans unruly behaviour.

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The Bulldogs’ one-point loss to South Sydney ended in chaos at ANZ Stadium on Good Friday, with bottles hurled at the referees by some of the club’s supporters.

Interchange official Darren Alchin was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured shoulder blade. He has since been discharged.

The reaction stemmed from a penalty against Canterbury skipper James Graham for catching the standing leg of Adam Reynolds as he attempted a long-range field goal in the final minute.

The call by referee Gerard Sutton handed the Rabbitohs a shot at goal from 10 metres, in like with the game’s rulebook.

The NRL will meet this week to consider sanctions against the club and fans, with the loss of competition points a possibility.

But Arthur said he was dead against that option.

“I seriously don’t think they should be,” he said on Sunday.

“But that’s up to the NRL to make those decisions, it’s got nothing to do with me.”

Police say they are continuing to investigate the bottle throwing, with two men identified and legal action expected against them.

They also face bans for life from NRL matches.

In separate incidents outside the stadium, a 21-year-old Rabbitohs fan was knocked down and received a cut above his eye after being allegedly shoulder-barged from behind post-match.

A 38-year-old was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm over the incident and granted conditional bail.

A 22-year-old man has also been arrested and charged over the alleged assault in which a boy was pushed to the ground not long after kick-off.

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Cilento review won’t be witch hunt: Dick

A major review into Brisbane’s much-maligned Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital won’t be a witch hunt.

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Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick announced an independent review into the $1.5 billion hospital’s commissioning on Sunday.

It follows a clinical review, released last month, that found confusion and dysfunction plagued the facility’s first fortnight of operation.

But the latest review won’t simply be about allocating blame, he said.

“It’s about capturing lessons.

“This is not a witch hunt,” he said.”

Questions raised about training, staffing levels and the readiness of on-site facilities would all be probed, he said.

The lessons learnt will help make future projects – like another new hospital for the Sunshine Coast – run smoother.

While he conceded Lady Cilento’s opening might’ve been rushed, Mr Dick said it was now operating well.

But Together secretary Alex Scott said the latest review should address ongoing issues of under-resourcing instead of simply focusing on the site’s imperfect start.

In particular, public sector union head said more staff would be needed the traditionally busier winter months to maintain proper patient care.

The earlier clinical review found the Lady Cilento site experienced a number of teething problems when it opened last November, such as disoriented staff and missing medical records.

The transition of 3000-odd staff and patients from the merged Mater and Royal Children’s hospitals to the south Brisbane site involved “unprecedented” challenges, it found.

The latest review is due for completion on June 30.

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Clarkson says Hawks must start anew

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has consigned the Hawks’ back-to-back premierships to history ahead of their round one Easter Monday clash with Geelong.

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Far from being an advantage, Clarkson says the title of reigning premier only makes it harder to compete.

It’s a message that’s being drummed into his playing group as they attempt to kick off their season with a bang.

“We don’t get any credits for season 2014,” he said.

“It’s not like they give us a couple of wins to start the season, we’re not going to get a three or four goal head-start against the Cats.”

And then there’s the added difficulty of playing with a target on their back.

“The draw is particularly tough and sides are going to be coming at the premier and that’s par for the course,” he said.

“And then of course there’s the draft that makes it more difficult to bring players into your system.”

Not that the Hawks, who under Clarkson have billed themselves as a “destination club”, have had any trouble recruiting at the top end of the ladder.

All-Australian backman James Frawley will make his debut for the Hawks, while No.2 draft pick Jono O’Rourke has been named as an emergency.

Hawthorn also has highly-rated players back from injuries, including young gun Jed Anderson and Brendan Whitecross.

Anderson will play his first game of AFL for 18 months on Monday, but Clarkson said his time out with pneumonia and a shoulder injury hasn’t been totally negative.

“It’s given him a chance to mature physically and in the mind and develop some resilience,” he said.

“We’re excited with what he can bring to our side.”

Clarkson will move around Josh Gibson, Brian Lake and Frawley on Geelong giants Tom Hawkins and Mitch Clark until he finds a balance that can negate their impact.

“It’s going to be a bit of trial and error … it’ll be a really intriguing part of the game I’m sure,” he said.

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‘Odd couple’ of federal politics work to bring back multiculturalism

They could be described as the ‘odd couple’ of federal politics.

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From different sides of the political spectrum, one of Greek heritage the other of British stock, together MPs Russell Broadbent and Maria Vamvakinou have fought to have the concept of multiculturalism accepted once again in Australia.

They launched federal Parliament’s ‘Friends of Multiculturalism’ committee in 2007 during a time when the refugee debate had impacted on Australia’s support for multiculturalism.

“Seven years ago there wasn’t a friend in the building for multiculturalism so it was a bit cheeky of Maria and I in the first place to say, right, we are starting Friends of Multiculturalism. As one very good friend of mine said ‘Russell there will only be two at the meeting you and Maria, that is the state of multiculturalism in this place. No one will turn up,’” Liberal MP Russell Broadbent told SBS.

But that wasn’t what happened. The Committee gained strength and influence.

“Our diplomatic community were the first to come along and join us at our meetings because they saw how our multicultural nation was working well. They see it from a different perspective because they are looking from the outside and say ‘this nation is working’.”

Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou believed it was important to fight for multiculturalism and that the effort was bipartisan.

“The committee was established really to bring back the concept of multiculturalism to Canberra, to put it back on the political agenda because we were emerging from a decade long period where multiculturalism had become a very contentious and negative concept,” Ms Vamvakinou told SBS.

“The media in particular and public attitudes seemed to blame issues, especially the arrival of refugees, ‘boat people’ as they came to be called and any community disturbances were blamed on multiculturalism. So the whole concept of being an Australian was being challenged in a very negative way.

“I have always believed that multiculturalism as a policy has served this country not only well but it is the reason why we are the successful society we are today,” said Ms Vamvakinou.

Over the years the committee has advocated, promoted and encouraged other members of Parliament to join them and success followed.

“We now have a situation where multiculturalism in the parliamentary building is not a bad word. It is a good word once again,” Mr Broadbent said.

At the recent launch of a report into aged care for migrant communities, hosted by the Friends of Multiculturalism, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the advocacy of Vamvakinou and  Broadbent.

“I want to commend them for the work they do in this parliament on building the understanding and support for many issues I know are so important to celebrating, acknowledging and working through the challenges and opportunities that come with our very diverse ethnic society and many language backgrounds and multicultural nature of the way our country has developed over many, many years.”

“They do a great job,” Mr Morrison said. “I think it is a very bipartisan area of policy activity and I hope that would long continue.”

The aged care report for migrant communities highlighted the need for greater services for aging migrant communities a subject both MPs have championed.

Speaking after the report Mr Morrison said there should be more nursing support in languages other than English and for various community groups to have more of their own aged care facilities.  

“They absolutely need nurses who speak their language,” Mr Morrison said.

The report noted that with so many culturally diverse communities in Australia, and a ‘one size fits all approach’ to aged care does not work. It highlighted more services will be needed, particularly in dementia care, in the coming years.

After the launch of that report both MPs were pleased with the influence they are starting to have.

Mr Broadbent says Australia needs to spread the message that multiculturalism has been a story of success and inclusion. Maria Vamvakinou says multiculturalism allows people who come to Australia to integrate and retain their cultural links.

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Coote relishing Penrith return

North Queensland’s Lachlan Coote admits he’s making up for lost time in a career that promised so much when he first burst on to the NRL scene with Penrith in 2008.

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Coote will celebrate his 26th birthday by facing his former club on Monday for the first time since being cut loose by Ivan Cleary with a year of his lucrative contract remaining at the end of 2013.

The emergence of Matt Moylan at the Panthers deemed Coote surplus to requirements as did a litany of injuries including a shoulder reconstruction and Osteitis Pubis – a lower abdominal problem. The result was just 83 appearances in six years at the club.

He hoped a move to Townsville, away from the creature comforts of his western Sydney home, would hand him a fresh start but just a month out from the start of the 2014 campaign he ruptured his knee ligaments.

Coote finally debuted for the Cowboys in the round three 44-22 loss to Brisbane before tasting victory for the first time at his new club against Melbourne last Monday.

He’ll return ‘home’ in a positive frame of mind and not thinking about revenge.

“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s my first return to the old club,” Coote said.

“It’s not really about all that (revenge). I am happy here but it is always good to get a win against your old club and hopefully we do that.

“My knee felt good against Melbourne and it was good to be able to push off it and run in to open space.”

With Moylan leading the way from fullback, Penrith enjoyed an outstanding 2014 and although they’ve lost their past two matches, they started this season with two strong wins against Canterbury and Gold Coast.

Coote admits he has been surprised by how well the Panthers have performed but fully expects a tough test on Easter Monday.

Ahead of the fixture, he’s been indulging with some friendly text banter with Moylan and James Segeyaro.

“They’ve really come up surprisingly well, but they have recruited well and have some very good young players who are well trained,” he said.

“It’s been good to watch them get a few wins but hopefully we can beat them … and who knows even maybe rough up ‘Chicko’ (Segeyaro) a bit.”

Key Stats

PENRITH PANTHERS v NORTH QUEENSLAND

* This match sees the best red zone attack come up against the worst red zone defence. This season the Panthers have scored 14 tries from inside their opponent’s 20. Cowboys opponents have needed on average just 5.8 tackles to score inside their 20.

* Since the beginning of 2012 the Cowboys have won 35 of 39 matches when leading at half-time, the best record of any team in this period. However, they have won just three of 35 matches when trailing at the break, the worst record of any team in this period.

* Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will be glad to be back in Penrith where he has scored seven tries in six matches, including five tries in his past three matches.

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Easter road toll climbs to 14

An eight-year-old girl is dead and her older brother is fighting for his life after a crash in NSW that has helped push the national Easter road toll to 14.

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NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said Easter was a time when Australian families came together.

But after a horrific crash on a wet Central Coast road on Saturday evening, “we have a family that has been torn apart”.

The eight-year-old died in Westmead Children’s Hospital on Sunday morning.

Her nine-year-old brother is in a critical condition in the same hospital while a third child, a 12-year-old boy, is listed as stable.

Four women were also injured in the crash involving a car and a ute at Doyalson.

“Please, before you get into your car today, talk to each other, make the commitment to whoever is in your car or on your bike, that they are your responsibility,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

“Don’t become distracted, don’t drive faster than you should, and for everyone’s sake – don’t become complacent.”

He warned drivers returning home from the long weekend to expect delays and be patient.

Another child, a four-year-old boy, was killed in Brisbane on Sunday.

The boy was hit while riding his scooter in Logan, south of Brisbane.

He sustained head and chest injuries and died at the scene.

It took Queensland’s Easter road toll to seven.

“This looks like to be the worst Easter we’ve had in several years,” Inspector Ivan Sikorsky said.

Also on Sunday, a woman pedestrian, 61, was killed in Sydney’s west.

Police in Western Australia have released details of a crash on Thursday.

A 78-year-old man was injured when his car left the road and rolled at Coodanup, south of Perth, and the man died in hospital on Friday.

In addition to the seven deaths in Queensland there have been three in NSW, two in Western Australia and one each in Victoria and South Australia.

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Qld Senator Jan McLucas to step down

Queensland Senator Jan McLucas will not be contesting the next federal election due in 2016.

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She said this follows a Labor pre-selection process that has taken place over the past three weeks.

In March, two senior Queensland state MPs urged party members to back their former colleague Murray Watt over Ms McLucas as candidate on the senate ticket, News Corp reported.

Mr Watt lost the seat of Everton in Labor’s crushing 2012 state election defeat.

Preselection for Ms McLucas’ replacement closes on Friday and a candidate will be chosen following the party’s normal procedures, an ALP spokeswoman told AAP.

In the meantime, she will continue as Labor’s spokeswoman for mental health and housing and homelessness.

The senator was first elected to parliament in 1998 and has served in both opposition and government in a number of policy areas – ageing, disabilities and carers, health and was minister for human services.

“It has been a privilege to represent the people of Queensland in the Australian Senate,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

In particular, she believes the national disability insurance scheme that was designed in government with now opposition disability reform spokeswoman Jenny Macklin is a “great Labor legacy” that the party can be extremely proud of.

In a separate joint statement, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his deputy Tanya Plibersek said Senator McLucas has been an outstanding member of the Labor team.

“The Federal Parliamentary Labor Party will forever be grateful for Senator McLucas service, and we sincerely thank her family for their contribution too,” they said.

Further comment is being sought from the ALP.

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Bombers verdict a ‘kick in the back’: Earl

Sandor Earl says he’d love to play NRL again, but doesn’t know if or when he can with his drugs case still unresolved.

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Earl is yet to face the anti-doping tribunal almost 20 months after being issued with an infraction notice following his admission to the use and trafficking of peptide CJC-1295.

He said the process outlined to him by ASADA and the NRL upon accepting a provisional suspension hadn’t been followed as promised.

“I don’t even know when my ban is actually up till,” he told Triple M’s NRL show on Sunday.

The AFL anti-doping tribunal’s decision to clear 34 past and current Essendon players, while different, was “just another kick in the back”.

“It’s disappointing,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted a fair trial, a fair go and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

“But I’m happy to see them guys be able to move on and that that chapter can be closed for them.”

The ex-Sydney Roosters, Canberra and Penrith outside back claims he’s had little or no support from the NRL or his former clubs but is eager to return to first-grade at some point.

He currently lives in Thailand, where he set up – but recently sold – a health food cafe and gym, and is also involved with a first-division soccer team as a conditioning coach.

“There is more to life than football,” he said.

“(But) I’d love to throw on a green jersey or something like that and play in the NRL again, and at least go out on my own terms.

“With all the support and the people who’ve done me right, that dream’s never going to die.

“And the sooner the better, I’d love to come back – whether it’s a year, two years, four years – and just do what I can do, give some hope.”

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Karrie Webb surges at women’s golf major

Karrie Webb has fired a five-under-par 67 to be seven shots off the pace heading into the final round of the first women’s golf major of the year, the ANA Inspiration tournament in California.

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After opening with a bogey, Webb a seven-time major champion, with wins in this event in 2000 and 2006, went on a birdie blitz through the middle of her round.

The Australian veteran made back-to-back-to-back birdies at holes eight through 10, making par at 11 before birdies at 12, 14 and 15 to be tied 14th.

Webb has her work cut out to catch tournament leader, 22-year-old South Korean rookie Sei Young Kim, but she has some good memories to call on.

In 2006 Webb started the final round six shots behind Mexican star Lorena Ochoa and shot a seven-under 65 to finish in a tie before winning in a playoff.

Kim, who already won the Bahamas LPGA Classic during her debut season, is 10-under and will take a three-shot lead into the final round after shooting a three-under 69 third round.

Kim made two late birdies to surge clear.

She holed a downhill 18-footer from the fringe on the par-4 16th and made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

While Kim was strong down the stretch those around her faltered, with American’s Morgan Pressel (bogeys at 16 and 17) and Stacy Lewis (bogeys at 15 and 17) dropping shots rapidly.

Kim’s immediate challenger and playing partner in the final round will be Lewis, who is outright second at seven-under after a 68.

Pressel (710, fellow American Brittany Lincicombe and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (70 are tied third, one stroke behind Lewis.

World No.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand slipped further down the leaderboard after hitting a second consecutive round over par and is tied 48th at two over.

Ko hit a two-over 74 in the third round, which followed a one-over score in the second round which ended her run of successive sub-par rounds at 29.

She reached that mark with her one-under 71 on the opening day to equal the record set 11 years ago by Swedish great Annika Sorenstam.

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