"My little baby is gone." Dad's heartbreaking tribute to three-year-old girl killed in childcare centre car park, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. “My little baby is gone.” Dad’s heartbreaking tribute to three-year-old girl killed in childcare centre car park.

A three-year-old girl, Charlotte, has been killed in a childcare centre car park in Epping, Melbourne, by a vehicle that was reversing.

Police said the incident occurred on Monday afternoon outside the Kiddy Palace Learning Centre on McDonalds Road. They report a 26-year-old woman was behind the wheel when she was helping another child in the car and the vehicle rolled backwards.

The father of the girl, Adam Smithers, has reportedly told 9news the woman was Charlotte’s mother and his former partner.

Mr Smithers described his daughter as “a really bubbly outgoing girl who would light up the room wherever she went”.

“I’m devastated my little baby is gone,” the father told the media. “I don’t know what to feel.”

Detective Sergeant Daryll told reporters this was a “terrible incident,” according to 9news.

“The incident occurred when a car accidentally struck the young girl.”

“We certainly urge anybody who’s around children to be very careful and mindful that terrible accidents such as these can occur if everyone is not paying full attention to what they are doing.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by a family friend, however it appears to have since been taken down.


“My very close friends daughter was tragically run over by the car she was getting into and died on impact, it was a tragic accident,” the page read.

2. “If this happens that’s it for us. That’s it for my kids.” Australian women in Syria plead for help.

A window of opportunity remains open to extract the Australian women and children trapped in a camp for relatives of Islamic State fighters in Syria, but it is rapidly closing.

Two of those women have pleaded for Australia to help them as Syrian forces move in.

Mariam Dabboussy, a mother of three, is begging the Morrison government for help.

“Please don’t let us fall into the hands of the [Syrian] regime,” Ms Dabboussy said in a recording given to the ABC by her father, Kamalle Dabboussy.

“If this happens that’s it for us. That’s it for my kids.”

Kurdish authorities have said they can help the transfer of Australians to the border with Iraq so they can be repatriated by the Morrison government, Save The Children Australia says.

“If a decision is made to repatriate Australian citizens, it certainly can be done,” acting chief executive Mat Tinkler told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“But let’s be very clear: the fate of innocent children is in the hands of the government of Australia right now and the time to act is running out and running out rapidly.”


The humanitarian organisation has removed its international staff from the region, fearing for their safety, although it still has Syrian staff on the ground.

Conditions in the al-Hawl camp, where there are 66 Australians including 46 children, have deteriorated since the United States announced its withdrawal from northern Syria.

This prompted a Turkish-led offensive against Kurdish fighters in the region.

Russia-backed Syrian forces have now responded by deploying forces deep inside Kurdish-held territory, south of the Turkish border.

Mr Dabboussy, who was in Canberra on Tuesday seeking to meet ministers, said he had been warning the government it was only a matter of time before an Australian died.

“There is no other support for the Australian women in that environment at all,” he told reporters.

“The only avenue for their survival really is through the Australian government and sooner or later there will be a death in the camp.”

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie, an army veteran, believed the window for extraction is shut already.

“I’m sorry but it’s just too hot at the moment and it’s just not going to happen,” she told Sky News.

Some of the women say they were duped by their IS-aligned husbands into going to Syria.

The government has staunchly resisted calls to repatriate those in the camp, saying it won’t put officials in harm’s way.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has repeatedly said not all of the women are innocent and some could pose risks in Australia if brought home.

Mr Tinkler said it was much better for them to face the Australian justice system, and that the women and their families had undertaken to work with police and intelligence agencies to mitigate any concerns.

The government has also strongly condemned Turkey for mounting the invasion.

One coalition backbencher praised this strong stance during a meeting of MPs on Tuesday morning, acknowledging the Kurds had done more than their fair share in the fight against IS.

“The Kurds are good people, multi-faith and we should, in our advocacy, continue to stand with the Kurds,” they said.

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says Australia can’t simply turn a blind eye to the plight of its citizens.


She also wants diplomats to be part of the world community pushing for a ceasefire in the region.

3. Coalition rejects climate emergency call.

The Morrison government has shot down attempts for parliament to declare a climate emergency, categorising it a “grand symbolic gesture”.

Greens MP Adam Bandt attempted to bring on a vote in the lower house on Tuesday, supported by Labor’s climate spokesman Mark Butler.

But Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor was quick to shrug the proposition off, saying it was all symbolism and not practical.

The minister delivered an impassioned speech to the chamber focused on criticising the two parties.

“The party of protest is all about grand symbolic gestures, emotive language and absolutely no idea, about the real and practical needs of every day Australians,” he said of the Greens.

“Labor is making a huge song and dance about declaring a climate emergency, but refuses to commit to a single policy in this area from the last election.

“Labor’s hollow symbolism will not deliver a single tonne of emissions reduction … by contrast this government is taking meaningful actions.”

Emissions have continued to rise over recent years under the coalition government.


Mr Bandt pointed to the United Nations report saying the world was not on track to limit global warming to less than 1.5 C.

“Nothing is more urgent than acting when people’s lives and livelihoods are under threat,” he said.

“We are experiencing record drought, some of our communities have been told to expect they may run out of water in coming months, parts of Australia have been on fire barely two weeks into winter.

“It is clear we do not have global warming under control.”

Mr Butler highlighted advice from scientists about the threat a changing climate poses, particularly if warming exceeds 3C.

“The window is closing on our generation’s ability, our unique ability, to meet our responsibility to future generations,” he said.

“Today we should try to unite as a parliament about why we should be doing something about climate change and why it is so urgent.”

Mr Butler and Mr Bandt said they weren’t trying to condemn the government, but simply wanted acknowledgement of a climate emergency.

The Labor MP has lodged a separate motion to parliament to debate the topic.

Opposition MPs have been receiving emails asking for the party’s position on the emergency declaration.

And a record number of Australians – more than 345,000 – have signed an e-petition to parliament asking it to declare a climate emergency.

More than six million Australians are living in areas where their local councils have declared climate emergencies and pledged greater action to combat climate change, including aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy and zero net emissions.

Countries including Britain, France and Canada have also made the call.

4. Domestic violence survivors are desperate for a parliamentary inquiry into the family law system to be cancelled.


Domestic violence survivors are desperate for a parliamentary inquiry into the family law system to be cancelled, organisations working in the sector have warned.

Instead, advocates want the federal government to get on with reforms that have been recommended by earlier probes.

Their message comes as a Greens bid to dissolve the inquiry failed to get support in the Senate, which voted 33 to 27 against the minor party’s motion.

Australian Women Against Violence Alliance spokeswoman Merrindahl Andrew says there’s a “unanimous voice” in the domestic violence sector that the inquiry is unnecessary and could be damaging.

“We don’t need this inquiry, we need the government to get on with making the kind of reforms that have been identified already,” she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Women’s Safety NSW chief executive Hayley Foster said organisations like hers will rally against the inquiry to the bitter end.

“We’re going to do everything, up to the very last moment, to ensure we hold the government to account, and ensure that children are safe in their homes,” she said.

Greens senator Larissa Waters says more than 1400 domestic violence survivors have also contacted federal MPs, pleading for the inquiry not to go ahead.

Among their concerns is One Nation leader Pauline Hanson being the inquiry’s deputy chair, after attracting widespread criticism for suggesting some women lie about domestic abuse during custody battles.

Women have told Senator Waters it’s already hard enough getting people to believe them when they come forward with their experiences.

“When they have people like Senator Hanson, who is now deputy chairing this inquiry, saying that she thinks they’re all liars … the effect of that will simply be to silence women,” she told reporters in Canberra.


“I fear that perpetrators will feel emboldened, and that more women ultimately will lose their lives.”

The party will make a last effort to stop the inquiry on Tuesday, putting a motion to the upper house which would dissolve it.

They have the support of Labor but haven’t convinced crossbenchers yet.

“We live in hope,” Senator Waters said.

Senator Hanson is staring down the calls for the inquiry to be cancelled.

“A lot of people are verifying what I’m saying, so don’t shut me down, I’m just putting the truth out there,” she Senator Hanson told Sky News.

“If these people are so afraid of what evidence may be given in that hearing, don’t blame me, this is what’s happening in our system.”

Senator Hanson said she had first-hand experience with the family courts as a wife, mother and grandmother.

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5. Time is running out for Sydney snake search.

Snake catcher Sean Cade is in a race against time to find a boa constrictor that has been on the loose in far western Sydney for more than 10 days.

Mr Cade estimates there is now only a 60 per cent chance of finding the boa constrictor alive.


The snake will likely die of starvation within a fortnight unless it manages to capture a household pet or other small animal, the Australian Snake Catchers owner told AAP on Tuesday.

Mr Cade is working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to locate the boa constrictor.

It’s a tough job, despite the snake’s considerable size – 2.5-metres long and thicker than a man’s calf.

“Just with the vast expanses of land that are within the sub-divisions of housing, I’m going to have to turn over every single bit of tin, rubbish or tree branch to try and unearth it,” Mr Cade said.

“There’s a lot going against it right now. Pretty much all it has going for it is its size and a serious collection of teeth in its head.”

The weather is another complicating factor as boa constrictors are ectothermic reptiles, relying on an external source to warm up or cool down.

“If it gets too hot or too cold it will probably kill the snake,” Mr Cade said.

“They can’t regulate their temperature … so it’s a bit problematic. I reckon it’s probably going to find a cool place somewhere like a garage or a shed.”

Mr Cade was first called to Cascades Estate in Silverdale in early October.

The DPI subsequently wrote to residents on Monday informing them that a large snake skin had been found at a Torumba Circuit construction site on October 9.

Mr Cade said anyone who spots the boa constrictor should take a photo and get in touch with the DPI.

The snake was capable of suffocating and killing children under two and could injure grown adults by biting their arms or legs, he said.

The DPI on its website says boa constrictors come in colour combinations including red, green, yellow and tan – and generally display patterns on its body of jagged lines, ovals, diamonds and circles.

The coloured patterns aid in camouflaging the snake under natural conditions, allowing the species to evade detection and ambush its prey, the DPI says.

They have successfully established themselves as pests in Florida and are considered a “serious” establishment risk in Australia.

Feature image credit: 9news.

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