Police believe Ruinerwold family may have had 'no idea there were other people in the world', & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. Police believe Ruinerwold family may have had ‘no idea there were other people in the world’.

Police believe five siblings who lived in hiding for nine years in the Dutch village of Ruinerwold may have had ‘no idea there were other people in the world’.

The Northern Times reported police were still boggled by the case that has made headlines around the world.

Dutch police questioned a 58-year-old man who paid the rent on a farmhouse where six members of a family were found locked away in a secret room after apparently living for years in isolation.

The siblings, estimated to be between 18 and 25 years old, and a man they identified as their ailing father were found near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe.

The man detained was suspected of being involved in the “deprivation of liberty and prejudicing the health of others”, the Dutch prosecutor said on Wednesday. He will be brought before a magistrate on Thursday.

dutch family farmhouse
Image: AAP.

Mayor Roger de Groot had said on Tuesday the man was not the father of the family.

"The man is still in custody and is being questioned," said Drenthe police spokeswoman Grietje Hartstra.

"A lot is still unclear and we are investigating exactly what happened there."

The family, who according to local news reports had been waiting for the end of time, was discovered after one member, reportedly a 25-year-old man and the eldest of the siblings, escaped and sought help at a nearby pub.

Pub owner Chris Westerbeek told media of how the man, scruffy and confused, first entered his pub 11 days ago. He returned on Sunday and after downing five beers, told Westerbeek he needed help.

chris westerbeek
Chris Westerbeek. Image: Twitter/@dvhn_nl.

"He was unkempt, with long tangled hair. We got talking. He said he had run away and needed help, and that he had never been to school. Then we called the police," Westerbeek told media.

Police said they found the family in a "small space in the house which could be locked" and it was unclear whether they were being held against their will.

Officials have not commented on reports the family may have held "end of days" apocalyptic beliefs.

"There is a lot of speculation in the media about what happened but as police we deal with facts. We still have a lot of unanswered questions," Hartstra said.

The children's mother was believed to have died before the family moved to the Dutch farm in 2010, mayor de Groot said.


Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said the man in custody was an Austrian carpenter identified as "Joseph B.".

As far as anyone, including the farm's landlords knew, he was the only inhabitant of the farm.

A woodworker, the man was described by neighbours as a closed book who wanted little contact with his community.

He was "very sharp", a neighbour told de Telegraaf.

"You only needed to go near the place and he'd send you packing. He watched everything through binoculars."

Other local residents spoke of the secrecy around the property, telling media they considered whether it could be home to a cult or a "hemp plantation".

The family had apparently lived in makeshift rooms inside the farm and survived partly on vegetables and animals from a secluded garden on the property, local TV RTV Drenthe reported.

After being checked by doctors, the siblings have been moved to a safe house. Their father is being cared for at a medical facility.

2. Tamil family face long Christmas Island stay.


A Tamil family in detention on Christmas Island while they fight to remain in Australia could be there for months with their next court hearing scheduled in December.

Sri Lankan parents Priya and Nadesalingam and their Australian-born daughter Kopika, four, have had their had their refugee claims rejected.

Their hopes are now pinned on two-year old Tharunicaa, whose visa application has never previously been considered and is now subject to an upcoming Federal Court trial.

During a brief hearing on Wednesday Justice Mark Mochinsky ordered the parties file all applications, defences and replies by December 2 and that all applications to access documents be filed by December 9.

The case is due to return to court on December 16.


The federal government has said the family will remain on Christmas Island until their legal matters are finalised, despite a request from the United Nations on October 2 that the family be transferred to community detention within 30 days.

A Home Affairs Department spokesperson told AAP at the time they were aware of the interim request but the family would remain where they are.

Priya has previously described jail-like conditions on Christmas Island but said it's preferable to being returned to Sri Lanka.

The Federal Court has yet to set a date for the trial, or decide whether the case will be heard by one judge or the full court.

3. Northern NSW fires destroyed 64 homes.


Firefighters have confirmed 64 homes were razed in bushfires that swept through northern NSW last week, with more than 150 outbuildings also destroyed.

The Busbys Flat and Drake fires are still burning and are currently at advice level, one week after blazes swept through the area south of Casino.

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Wednesday said it had completed most inspections of fire-affected areas and confirmed 64 homes were lost.

The RFS said 44 homes were destroyed by the Busbys Flat blaze and 19 in the Drake fire, which claimed the lives of Bob Lindsay, 77, and his wife Gwen Hyde, 68.

Another home was lost at the Purgatory Creek fire at Jackadgery, west of Grafton.

In addition, 153 outbuildings and seven other facilities were destroyed.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there had been more than 5000 bush and grass fires across NSW this season, with a million hectares of land burnt out.

"It's important to remember that this is no ordinary bushfire season and we can't afford to have anyone think this is just another year," Mr Fitzsimmons said in a statement.

"The crippling effects of the drought, unseasonably warm weather and strong winds have seen fires develop quickly and impacted on lives, farms, businesses, homes and communities."


A total fire ban has been declared for the NSW far north coast, north coast, Greater Hunter, New England, Northern Slopes and north western regions on Thursday due to forecast hot and windy conditions.

The RFS has advised residents that actively defended and well-prepared homes can provide safety during a fire.

It also advised residents to follow their bush survival plan and stay informed by following news updates or monitoring its website.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a maximum of 33C in Bellingen on Thursday, with 31 in Ballina and Moree Plains, 30 in Gunnedah, 29 in Cessnock and 28 in Tenterfield.

4. Senator Henderson says domestic violence is the real emergency.


People who want Australia to declare a "climate emergency" should instead visit a refuge for women fleeing domestic violence, a newly appointed senator Sarah Henderson believes.

"That's where you find the emergencies," Senator Henderson told the upper house on Wednesday in the Liberal parliamentarian's first speech in the chamber.

She filled a Senate vacancy in Victoria after losing her lower house seat of Corangamite - which she held for six years - at May's federal election.

The Geelong-based senator said it's important for Australia to take strong action on climate change and believes the Morrison government is doing just that.

But she hopes people pushing for a "climate emergency" declaration will keep perspective.

"I say: please visit the Alice Springs women's refuge which is in reality a homicide prevention centre for Aboriginal women and their children escaping horrific family violence," she said.

Senator Henderson visited the refuge in 2017 while chairing an inquiry into the family law system.

Another parliament inquiry into the system is set to launch soon, despite domestic violence advocates saying it's unnecessary.


They are also concerns One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is the inquiry's deputy chair, after attracting widespread criticism for suggesting some women lie about domestic abuse during custody battles.

Senator Henderson said she hopes the government will adopt all of the recommendations of the inquiry she chaired two years ago, including ensuring allegations of family violence are determined early in court proceedings.

But she supports the fresh inquiry and defended Senator Hanson.

"It's disappointing to see the unwarranted attacks on Senator Hanson by those opposite. She shares many of my concerns and will make an important contribution."

Senator Henderson noted her speech comes on the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Liberal Party on October 16, 1944, after 18 non-Labor parties came together in Canberra.

"The times have changed, but not our values," she said.

She also stressed that while she supports free and open markets, her first duty will always be to "our country".

"We must never forget that we are a country before we are an economy."

5. New push to stop children in Queensland from 'chroming'.


Queensland health officials are expected to meet with consumer goods giant Unilever and retailers in an attempt to put an end to children and teens who inhale dangerous household chemicals to get high.

Almost a hundred Queensland children, many of them aged between 10 and 15, were admitted to hospital as a result of "huffing" aerosols in the past year according to Health Minister Steven Miles.

About half of the 98 people admitted to hospital 141 times in the past were aged 10 to 15.

Dr Miles has asked the state's chief health officer to convene a roundtable to discuss strategies to end the practice.


These strategies could include reformulating chemicals, which has previously been successful in preventing the inhalation of petrol to get high.

Dr Miles told parliament on Wednesday Unilever had contacted him to acknowledge one of its products was being misused by young people.

"Chroming is a serious issue affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our community," he said.

He said the issue was a complex social issue which could not simply be legislated against.

In Queensland police have search and seizure powers if they suspect people possess chemicals for the purpose of or sale for chroming.

Dr Miles said the issue did not stop at the Queensland border.

"There is place for a national discussion about this," he said outside parliament.

He said there was no evidence the issue was on the increase, but he said that does not mean chroming shouldn't be tackled.

Unilever said it has been in contact with major retailers asking that their aerosol deodorants be contained in theft-reduction shelving in the most affected areas.

"This is an enormously complex issue affecting the entire aerosol industry with no simple solution," a statement from the company read.

"It requires an industry-wide approach and the actions of one manufacturer alone will not solve it."