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Police ask mother who abandoned newborn baby in Perth to come forward, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. ‘We want to help you.’ Police plead for mother who abandoned newborn outside medical centre to come forward.

A mother who abandoned her newborn baby outside a Perth medical centre needs treatment and should come forward without fear of being charged, police say.

The boy, named Rahil, was found in a box at the Garden City Medical Centre in Booragoon on Wednesday morning and taken to Perth Children’s Hospital.

He was less than 24 hours old, was still covered in birth fluid and his umbilical cord attached. He had been wrapped in a blanket inside the box.

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The mother also left behind a handwritten note asking he be cared for.

Rahil, whose name can mean “traveller” or “innocent”, appears to be in good health.

It is believed he had only been alone for about 10 minutes before he was found by medical centre staff, the ABC reported.

But the mother did not give birth at a hospital and on Thursday West Australian Premier Mark McGowan urged her to come forward to get treatment.

“All people want to do is support her,” he told reporters.

“Get some medical attention. The government wants to help you.”

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said she could contact police anonymously or the Department of Communities.

“We do want to locate the mother, not for police reasons in terms of pursuing criminal conduct or anything, it’s about her health and welfare,” he told 6PR radio.

“Clearly she wanted to leave the child in a place to be cared for. We want to also care for mum.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he hoped the mother would be identified and the issue would be handled sensitively.

“My first thoughts are, frankly, with the young child, the infant, and that they are placed in the best of care,” he said.

“The WA government has the processes and systems in place to provide that care.”

Department of Communities assistant director general of service delivery Jackie Tang said Rahil had been brought into the provisional care of the Department and further decisions regarding his future would be made “in due course”.

2. Convicted killer Sue Neill-Fraser wins her right to appeal following 60 Minutes’ interview.


Almost a decade after being convicted of killing her long-time partner, Hobart grandmother Susan Neill-Fraser has another chance to prove her innocence.

Neill-Fraser was in 2010 found guilty of murdering Bob Chappell, 65, on the couple’s Four Winds yacht moored at Sandy Bay on Australia Day 2009.

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Sue Neill Fraser. Image: 60 Minutes.

On Thursday, the 65-year-old convinced a judge there was "fresh and compelling" evidence, enough to allow her to mount a new appeal against her conviction.

Mr Chappell body has never been located, and Neill-Fraser has maintained her innocence.

Justice Michael Brett found that evidence about the whereabouts of then-homeless teenager Meaghan Vass on the night of the murder, and her DNA, satisfied criteria to grant an appeal.

Ms Vass's DNA was found aboard the Four Winds yacht, but she denied ever being on the boat at the original trial.

The lengthy appeal bid concluded in February but was re-opened this month to consider an affidavit from Ms Vass that came to light after her appearance on a 60 Minutes program about the case.

Justice Brett told Hobart Supreme Court Ms Vass's affidavit, purportedly signed in February, states she was on the yacht the night of the murder with two male companions.

"She witnessed at least one of the males assault Mr Chappell. She recalls seeing a lot of blood," he added.

Neill-Fraser smiled to family and supporters in a packed courtroom as the decision was delivered.

He daughter Sarah Bowles held back tears speaking to reporters outside court.

"This is one step in the direction of what's going to be a very long journey," she said.

"She's an innocent woman and it's time she came home and was with her grandchildren to have cuddles."

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Neill-Fraser was found guilty of bludgeoning Mr Chappell and dumping his body in the River Derwent.

She was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

Several appeals against her conviction have either failed or been rejected.

Tasmania Police said they interviewed Ms Vass earlier this month after ads from 60 Minutes suggested a "different versions of events".

"Tasmania Police fully supports the legal process and remains confident in the integrity and thoroughness of the original and subsequent investigation teams." Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling said in a statement.

Neill-Fraser was able to bid for another appeal under Tasmanian legislation introduced in 2015.

Justice Brett was not asked to rule on the credibility of the evidence, only that it was "fresh and compelling".

3. Aggrieved families have accused the federal government of 'waiting for elderly people to die'.

A woman frustrated by long delays in getting home help for her 91-year-old mother has accused the federal government of effectively waiting for elderly people to die.

Ruth Harris' mother had already been waiting a year for a home care package when she received a health department letter last November telling her she had moved up in the queue.

Instead of offering Joyce Edwards the support she needed to continue living in her Adelaide home, the letter flagged another three-month wait.

Ms Harris told the government's My Aged Care exactly what she thought about making people who were already very elderly wait 12 months for support.

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"I think I said to them 'you're waiting for them to die'," she told the aged care royal commission on Thursday.

Ms Harris repeatedly asked My Aged Care about the delays, only to be told again and again her mother had to wait three-to-six months for the level of home care she required.

Ms Edwards waited 13 months for a home care package, by which time she had moved into residential care.

Ms Harris said trying to deal with My Aged Care, the government's one stop shop for aged care services, was "just horrendous".

"The way that you have to navigate your way through the system is very difficult," she told the Adelaide hearing.

She dismissed My Aged Care as basically a call centre operated by staff reading from a screen who did not necessarily know the needs of people requiring aged care services.

"I did feel that when I phoned My Aged Care that no one was listening, basically."

Queensland woman Rita Kersnovske suffered a fall in September but has so far been refused even an assessment for home care, despite her doctor's advocacy.

The 80-year-old said she told My Aged Care it was too painful to even get to her son's house next door for meals.

"I actually ended the phone call by saying 'well I'll just sit here and starve to death'," she told the royal commission via videolink from her home town of Gympie.

"I've just got no help whatever from My Aged Care."

About 92,000 people were accessing home care packages in June 2018 but the royal commission heard there were currently 128,500 people either on the waiting list or not receiving their approved level of care.

Professor Hal Swerissen from the Grattan Institute said the government's announcement of an additional 20,000 home care packages was welcome but was not enough and the way funding was provided needed reform.

4. A "sick" Queensland mum has been sentenced to four years in jail for genital mutilation of her two daughters.

An extremely sick Queensland mum who took her two daughters to Somalia for painful genital mutilation has been sentenced to four years prison as a deterrent to others.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identities of her children, was found guilty of taking her daughters, then aged 10 and 13, to her birth country in April 2015 for the procedure.

Brisbane District Court Justice Leanne Clare described the mutilation as child abuse, and said the mother, 45, had taken them to Africa for the purpose of having it done.

"In this case, a woman of unknown ability used a sharp implement to excise the clitoral hood of each girl," Justice Clare said during sentencing on Thursday.

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"The girls were not sedated, there was bleeding and a period of significant pain for perhaps a number of days, there was obvious risk of infection, even death."

She is the first person to be sentenced in Queensland for removing a child from the state for female genital mutilation.

Cutting or removing some of a girl or young woman's genitals is considered traditional in some cultures but illegal here.

"To treat the adherence to tradition as mitigation would dilute the protection of the law for those children in most need of it," Justice Clare said.

"No matter where a family may come from, whether it be Somalia, India or Ashgrove, it makes no difference, that children in this state have equal protection under the law."

The girls were playing outside their grandmother's home days after arriving in Somalia when they were separately called inside.

A woman they didn't recognise carried out the procedure on the older girl first, followed by her younger sister.

Their stepsister tipped off child safety services when they returned to their home south of Brisbane several months later.

Crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said the mother told a child safety officer in 2008 that she knew genital mutilation was illegal here, that sending children overseas to have it done was also against the law and she did not intend to subject her daughters to it.

Ms Kovac said the woman had her daughters subjected to genital mutilation despite undergoing the procedure herself and experiencing complications because of it.

The woman's children were in court for the sentencing, and her eldest son at one point got on his feet in the public gallery to ask if he could speak.

Judge Clare told him he could not.

Defence barrister Patrick Wilson said the children stood by their mother, who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer that has spread to her spine.

He said his client was often in pain, that she found it difficult to walk and breathe, and suffered significant swelling in her arms.

The children will be cared for by their father, and the woman's sentence will be suspended after eight months.

5. Northern Territory residents forced to evacuate as threat of Cyclone Trevor looms.

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The largest evacuation before a cyclone in the Northern Territory's history is underway with Cyclone Trevor due to make landfall on Saturday.

More than 1000 residents have been evacuated from Groote Eylandt and Numbulwar with another 1000 people being moved out of Borroloola, the McArthur River zinc mine, Robinson River and other communities all along the Gulf of Carpentaria coast to Queensland.

The severity and threat of the storm, as well as complications with the remoteness of the area, led to the decision to evacuate, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Thursday.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Gulf country, with schools closed and police can order people to evacuate and close roads and businesses.

It is the largest evacuation prior to a cyclone in the territory's history and largest type of any evacuation since Cyclone Tracey.

The entire NT Gulf coast is on flood watch with gale-force winds, heavy rain and storm surges extending 300km from the eye of the cyclone.

"As Cyclone Trevor tracks across the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that the cyclone will make landfall between Borroloola and Groote Eylandt during Saturday as a category four severe tropical cyclone," he told reporters.

"Marine conditions in the gulf are deteriorating from this morning."

Very destructive winds, with gusts to 260 km/h, heavy rainfall and a dangerous storm tide are expected near the cyclone centre as it approaches and crosses the coast, said the bureau's Todd Smith.

Rainfall totals of 100mm to 200mm per day will hit ground "hard-baked" by the drought in recent months, meaning likely flash flooding that will affect pastoralists.

Mr Smith has not ruled out the storm strengthening to a category five with winds of more than 300km/h.

The last time a cyclone this strong hit the Territory was Cyclone Lam in 2015 but Trevor is far bigger, Mr Smith said.

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Australian Defence Force Hercules' aircraft are being used to transport people, who have begun arriving in Darwin and Katherine where indoor sleeping facilities are being set up at local showgrounds .

That includes creating barriers to ensure Indigenous cultural protocols are followed and people are spoken to in local languages.

"We've used buses, vehicles, ferries, planes, helicopters and anything else in between we can get out hands on," police regional controller Travis Wurst said.

About 600 out of Groote Eyland's population of 2800 have been evacuated but authorities are now focusing on Borroloola, with a population of 900.

The evacuations are starting with the most vulnerable and people who are not evacuated in time will be moved into emergency shelters.

"We have the capacity and capability to look after them as long as we need to, until water and power are safe again and houses are habitable again," Mr Gunner said.

Trevor left behind trail of destruction in Queensland's Cape York peninsula earlier this week, uprooting trees, caused flooding and roof damage, closed schools and roads and downed power lines.

Trevor lashed the Aurukun community overnight on Wednesday and some 180 homes remained without power on Thursday as residents began cleaning up.

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