Australia news LIVE: More details emerge from Cleo Smith’s rescue; COP26 Glasgow climate change summit continues; COVID-19 cases grow across the nation

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Key posts

  • Cleo Smith’s rescue an ‘unbelievable moment’ 18 days after disappearance
  • Defiant Victorian MP casts doubts over Opposition Leader’s public statements
  • Qld border town on alert after new COVID case gets transferred from hospital
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Cleo Smith’s rescue an ‘unbelievable moment’ 18 days after disappearance

Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith was rescued from her suspected abductor’s house yesterday morning, 18 days after she was snatched from her family’s tent in the remote north of Western Australia.

At 12.46am local time, four detectives forced their way into the Carnarvon property, just a seven-minute drive from Cleo’s family home. They discovered her alone, sitting inside a locked bedroom.

A still from a WA Police video of Cleo Smith minutes after she was found in the Carnarvon house. Credit:WA Police

Cleo’s mysterious disappearance from the Quobba Blowholes campsite on October 16 sparked one of Australia’s biggest police searches, with more than 100 officers assigned to the case.

A 36-year-old Carnarvon man was arrested in relation to the kidnapping but, as of Wednesday night, detectives were yet to reveal his alleged motive or what led officers to carry out the midnight raid.

More on how the rescue unfolded here.

Defiant Victorian MP casts doubts over Opposition Leader’s public statements

A powerful Liberal Party committee is considering expanding its search for candidates to replace Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith after an extraordinary press conference in which he repeatedly refused to say whether Opposition Leader Matthew Guy had told him to stand down at the next election.

Speaking outside Victorian Parliament yesterday, Mr Smith, who crashed his car while drunk at the weekend, said he needed more time before deciding whether to recontest his plum seat in Melbourne’s east.

Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith is reflecting on his future.Credit:Justin McManus

“Is this error of judgment that I’ve made, this enormously terrible thing I’ve done, this selfish act I’ve done, is that worthy of losing my entire career?” Mr Smith asked.

He also kept the door open to a return to the frontbench and refused to rule out a career in federal politics as he defied his leader and cast doubts over Mr Guy’s “unequivocal” position that he should not stand at next year’s state election.

Read the full story here.

Qld border town on alert after new COVID case gets transferred from hospital

The Queensland border town of Goondiwindi has been placed on alert over fears a new COVID-19 case has emerged.

Mayor Lawrence Springborg issued a statement on social media that a recent positive case from NSW was being transferred from Goondiwindi Hospital to a COVID ward in a facility in the south-east.

“This case is in addition to the positive COVID case who passed through the Goondiwindi BP truck stop,” he said.

“The community can be assured that Darling Downs Health is working to identify and notify any close contacts, as well as exposure sites, as they become available.

“We will await advice from Queensland Health about the risk to our community, and any potential changes to restrictions in our region.”

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for reading our live coverage.

It’s Thursday, November 4. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of this morning’s biggest stories as they unfold.

Here’s everything you need to know in the meantime.

  • The WA town of Carnarvon is celebrating this morning after missing four-year-old Cleo Smith was returned to her family alive and well. The little girl was rescued from her suspected abductor’s house yesterday morning, 18 days after she was believed to be taken from her family’s tent in WA’s remote north-west. A 36-year-old Carnarvon man has been arrested.

Signs around the WA town of Carnarvon celebrating the return of four-year-old Cleo Smith. Credit:Peter de kruijff

  • The NSW government has given a long-awaited judicial inquiry into historical gay and transgender hate crimes the green light. The inquiry will have the power to subpoena “persons-of-interest” and compel witnesses to give evidence. Premier Dominic Perrottet says hate crimes committed between 1970 and 2010 represent “one of the darkest times in our recent history”. NSW yesterday reported 190 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths. There are 309 coronavirus patients in NSW hospitals. Sixty-eight are in ICU. When it comes to vaccines, 88.3 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says there is still much work to be done.Credit:Kate Geraghty

  • Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith is refusing to stand down at the next election despite calls to do so from Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy. Mr Smith crashed his car into another car and a bedroom wall of a family home over the weekend after driving at more than twice the legal blood-alcohol limit. A Liberal Party committee will now consider Mr Smith’s future at the ballot box.

Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith is reflecting on his future.Credit:Justin McManus

  • The federal government is expected to today spruik the more than $5 billion in tax relief that has occurred due to the latest round of its tax cuts. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he is confident the extra money in people’s pockets will help boost the post-lockdown economy via spending.
  • The Queensland border town of Goondiwindi is on alert over fears a new COVID-19 case has emerged. Mayor Lawrence Springborg says a recent positive case from NSW was being transferred from Goondiwindi Hospital to a COVID ward elsewhere in Qld’s south-east. All eyes will be on today’s case numbers, due to land around 11am AEDT.

A town near the Queensland border is on alert due to a suspected COVID-19 case. Credit:Getty

  • The ACT yesterday reported 15 new cases of COVID-19. There are currently five coronavirus patients in Canberra hospitals. Of those, two are in ICU. One is on a ventilator. The territory is edging towards a 94 per cent double-dose vaccination rate for residents aged 12 and over.
  • And in international news, children as young as five have started getting the Pfizer jab in the United States after it was approved by local regulators. And a lawyer representing the person responsible for weapons during the filming of Rust has suggested a “disgruntled” person could have sabotaged the set by placing a live round among a box of blanks. Last month, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally wounded after a live round was discharged by a gun handled by actor Alec Baldwin while he was rehearsing a scene.
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