Merkel: power player who changed Germany


* She is well know for her abilIty to survive on little sleep and stay alert during late-night negotiations

* While working at the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin she held the title of Secretary for Agitation and Propaganda, though she has said her task mainly involved organising book readings and theatre visits

* She lives in an ordinary apartment in the centre of Berlin and grows her own veggies

* She is a massive fan of the national soccer team


Germany’s long-serving chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is running for a fourth term in office on September 24, is known as an intensely private person who shuns most forms of self-promotion.


Born in 1954 to Protestant pastor Horst Kasner and English teacher Herlind Kasner, Merkel moved from Hamburg to the east German town of Quitzow – then part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – when she was just a few years old. The oldest of three children, she spent her childhood in the seminary where her father worked.

From her earliest years in school, “Kasi” – a nickname derived from her last name by peers – was a brilliant student with a passion for the Russian language and Soviet culture.

After finishing her doctorate in Berlin, Merkel worked as a quantum chemist at the East German Academy of Sciences. Former colleagues described her as shy, diligent and always seeking the most reliable data.

Merkel was 35 when the wall came down. In an incident considered typical for the plodding politician, Merkel kept a weekly sauna date with a friend on November 9, 1989, before joining the throngs of people streaming across the border to West Berlin.

Suddenly freed of the scrutiny of the Communist government and the Stasi secret police, Merkel joined the Berlin office of a new East German party called the Democratic Awakening, whose sister party in the West was the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

She quickly sought a meeting with CDU leader Helmut Kohl, who became her mentor. Within months, Merkel became known as “Kohl’s girl,” and was appointed as part of his first cabinet in a reunified Germany, as minister for women and youth.

In the early days of her career, Merkel was often presented by Kohl and others as a sort of novelty: an east German political up-and-comer and a woman in the boys’ club that was the CDU.

“Even when she was awkward and shy … you could feel her power from the beginning,” said Herlinde Koelbl, a photographer who met Merkel once a year for decades to take her portrait for a series depicting how high office changed a person’s physical appearance.

But Merkel didn’t hesitate to abandon her former mentor in 1999 amid a CDU financing scandal. Indeed, she moved to replace him as party leader.

In 2002, Merkel ceded the role as the CDU’s election candidate to rival Edmund Stoiber, who headed its Bavarian sister party. The move worked out in her favour: Stoiber lost the vote to the SPD’s Gerhard Schroeder, whose government lost power three years later.

Two months after early elections in 2005, Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s first female chancellor. The next 12 years were to dramatically alter Germany’s political landscape and the country’s role on the global stage.

Observers of Merkel have posited that her years in power were shaped by three major developments.

The first and perhaps most daunting challenge of Merkel’s tenure was the eurozone crisis, which jeopardised not only the integrity of the euro currency, but also threatened to undermine the very premise of the European Union.

Merkel quickly became the face of the European banker preaching austerity to Mediterranean nations.

Merkel endured sustained criticism for her stance on Greece, especially for the initial phase, in which she was slow to commit German taxpayers’ money to a bailout fund.

In 2011, two years into her second term, Merkel responded to the Fukushima nuclear disaster by reversing her party’s position on nuclear power.

She unveiled a plan to phase it out over the next decade, in a decision that continues to be felt by conventional power producers such as RWE and Eon.

In September 2015, half way through her third term, Merkel threw open Germany’s doors to refugees.

The audacious act was both lauded and criticised, and resulted in what was arguably the biggest-ever threat to Merkel’s power: the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), Germany’s first successful post-war right-wing movement.

To a certain extent, the refugee decision debunked the perception of Merkel as a talented tactician without a larger vision. Some critics, however, maintain that Merkel prioritises short-term tactical gains over long-term outcomes.

In the words of her challenger, Martin Schulz of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel is “extremely proficient, precise, coldly calculating and intelligent.”

NKorea included in New Trump travel ban

President Donald Trump has slapped new travel restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding to eight the list of countries covered by his original travel bans that have been derided by critics and challenged in court.


Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia were left on the list of affected countries in a new proclamation issued by the president. Restrictions on citizens from Sudan were lifted.

The measures help fulfill a campaign promise Trump made to tighten US immigration procedures and align with his “America First” foreign policy vision. Unlike the president’s original bans, which had time limits, this one is open-ended.

“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” the president said in a tweet shortly after the proclamation was released.

Iraqi citizens will not be subject to travel prohibitions but will face enhanced scrutiny or vetting.

The current ban, enacted in March, was set to expire on Sunday evening. The new restrictions are slated to take effect on October 18 and resulted from a review after Trump’s original travel bans sparked international outrage and legal challenges.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans now travelling to the United States was very low.

Rights group Amnesty International USA condemned the measures.

“Just because the original ban was especially outrageous does not mean we should stand for yet another version of government-sanctioned discrimination,” it said in a statement.

“It is senseless and cruel to ban whole nationalities of people who are often fleeing the very same violence that the US government wishes to keep out. This must not be normalised.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement the addition of North Korea and Venezuela “doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban.”

Fish have personalities, study finds

They may not show it, but fish have complex personalities, research suggests.


The discovery was made by scientists studying individual traits in tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies.

When they looked how the fish behaved in different situations, they found complex variations.

The modes of behaviour could not simply be explained as risk-taking or risk-averse.

Lead researcher Dr Tom Houslay said: “The idea of a simple spectrum is often put forward to explain the behaviour of individuals in species such as the Trinidadian guppy.

“But our research shows that the reality is much more complex,” said Dr Houslay, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“For example, when placed into an unfamiliar environment, we found guppies have various strategies for coping with this stressful situation.

“Many attempt to hide, others try to escape, some explore cautiously, and so on.

“The differences between them were consistent over time and in different situations.

“So, while the behaviour of all the guppies changed depending on the situation – for example, all becoming more cautious in more stressful situations – the relative differences between individuals remained intact.”

The study is published in the journal Functional Ecology.

Professor Alastair Wilson, another member of the CEC team, said: “We are interested in why these various personalities exist, and the next phase of our research will look at the genetics underlying personality and associated traits.

“We want to know how personality relates to other facets of life, and to what extent this is driven by genetic, rather than environmental, influences.

“The goal is really gaining insight into evolutionary processes, how different behavioural strategies might persist as species evolve.”

AFL ticket system suits Crows: Walker

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker says the AFL grand final ticketing will weaken Richmond’s home crowd advantage at the MCG on Saturday.


Walker says the ticketing system will “break up” the Tiger army of fans.

“I reckon you’ll get 40,000 corporate and then it will be split … I’m confident that we will get close to 30,000 (Adelaide fans) if not more,” Walker told AAP on Monday.

The AFL offers up to 35,000 tickets to members of competing clubs. But the Crows are already expecting around 16,000 tickets for members who registered in a ballot – some 25,000 members entered for that.

Up to 50,000 grand final tickets are available to MCC and AFL members, with between 5,000 to 30,000 listed under AFL entitlements/contractual obligation.

“It (system) will break it up,” Walker said of the spread in the stands for Richmond’s passionate supporter base.

“And our fans are so loyal and passionate, I’m sure that they will jump on buses and cars – and probably not the planes because they’re too expensive at the moment.

“We will get great support.”

One-way flights from Adelaide to Melbourne have near doubled in price to about $450.

Both Adelaide and Richmond enter the season finale after consecutive wins, with Walker forecasting a fierce grand final.

“We’re confident,” he said.

“But Richmond are in great form, you can’t take anything away from them.

“We are going to have to start well, be really tough through the midfield and put a lot of pressure on them.

“It’s going to be pressure versus pressure. Who can do it for the longest.”

Fifty years in the making: Refugees in Australia’s first Manus camp offered PNG citizenship

Australia’s first refugee camp on Manus still stands, forgotten in time, and still houses some of the original West Papuan residents and their families.


Called ‘Salasia Camp’ by Australian authorities, it marked the start of refugee processing on Manus almost fifty years ago.

A handful of rusty corrugated iron houses on a bare concrete slab, stand a short distance from a beach on the edge of the island’s main town Lorengau.

It was built by Australia and used to avoid a diplomatic confrontation with neighbouring Indonesia by isolating a small number of influential West Papuans – also known as West Irians – on Manus.

Only few hundred metres away is the Australian-run refugee transit centre, across the island from the Lombrum detention centre, where hundreds of current day refugees are slowly being evicted as it is shuts down.


Indonesia was preparing a military takeover of the former Dutch New Guinea colony in the 1960s, sparking a refugee crisis, with thousands of “border crossers” fleeing into the then Australian colony of PNG.

“We came as refugees to Manus Island. The [Australian] government transferred us,” said Manfred Meho, who arrived on Manus as a three-month-old on an Australian Caribou plane from camps near the Indonesian border.

“There was a political crisis, fighting in West Papua between the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or West Papua Freedom Movement) and Indonesian soldiers.

“Our parents, when they run away, they were supporters of West Papua.

“Papua Merdeka. Papua Merdeka means ‘Papua independence’.”

Many were turned back by Australian patrol officers, called kiaps, on the border but a few dozen received “permissive residence” visas. The first were sent to Manus in 1968.

A handful of original West Papuan residents and their descendants still live at the camp, married into the local community, had children and even voted in PNG’s current national elections.

Like thousands of West Papuans who have come to PNG since, they have lived without citizenship until now.

“We have quite a large number of West Irian Indonesian refugees in Papua New Guinea,” incumbent prime minister Peter O’Neill told SBS World News.

“In fact many of them, under this government, close to 10,000, are classified as eligible for Papua New Guinea citizenship and a few weeks ago the first 300 were able to participate in a ceremony resettling them in the country.”

An aerial view of the region.Stefan Armbruster SBS

Australia walks diplomatic tight-rope

In the 1960s Australia did not want the West Papuans but due to their numbers and PNG’s remote terrain, could not turn them all back.

“[Australia] thought they were a nuisance, because potentially they caused a problem with the relationship with Indonesia,” said history professor Klaus Neumann, at Deakin University.

“Australia had not objected to Indonesia’s takeover of the Dutch colony, and Australia had recognised Indonesia was now in charge of former Western New Guinea, so for Australia to grant refugee status posed a diplomatic problem.”

A disputed United Nations-sponsored “referendum” in 1969, known as the Act of Free Choice, secured Indonesia’s takeover and saw it brutally suppress the independence struggle by West Papuans, that still continues.

In March this year, Vanuatu spoke on behalf of seven Pacific countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling on the UN to investigate allegations of serious and widespread abuses in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces. Indonesia rejected the allegations. 

When Australia signed the United Nations Refugee Convention in 1954, it was with an opt out clause, so it only applied to Europeans and conflicts before 1951.

But in 1964, Australia began issuing visas to a very small number of “border crossers”.

“These were people who were able to make a case they were being persecuted in Indonesian New Guinea, but Australia was very careful to say they were not refugees, in terms of 1951. It did not want to involve UNHCR, but wanted to keep them (UNHCR) out of the territory,” said Professor Neumann.

“There were two main reasons why Australia was not keen on them (West Papuans) staying on the border, where most ended up. They did not want the OPM to use Australian territory and use camps as safe havens after skirmishes on the Indonesian side,” said professor Neumann.

“They didn’t want some leaders to engage in anti-Indonesia propaganda. They didn’t want the permissive residence to engage in anti-Indonesian activities, and embarrass Indonesia, or get Papua New Guineans or expats to join them in protesting against Indonesia in West Papua.

“So they [Australian authorities] thought by sending them to the remotest place in PNG they would avoid that. Manus was much more difficult to access than mainland PNG for journalists.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

A show of hands and the Act of Free Choice

Two West Papuans Clemens Runawery and Willem Zonggonau, both now deceased, tried to bring international attention to the issue in 1969.

“Wim and I fled West Papua to New Guinea to fly to New York to inform the United Nations that the Act of Free Choice was corrupt,” Mr Runawery said in an Australian television political advertisement in 2007.

The Act of Free Choice was a vote by 1,025 men and women in West Papua chosen by the Indonesian military, and by a show of hands were asked give up sovereignty and become part of Indonesia.

“We were forced off the plane by Australian officials, under pressure from Indonesia’s military regime. We were never able to tell the true facts at the United Nations,” Mr Runawery said.

They were questioned by ASIO and sent to Manus, along with dozens of other refugees.

“As a holding centre which is well situated away from Border Districts and where communication with West Irian is reasonably difficult, Salasia Camp, Manus serves its purpose well,” the head of the Department of External Territories wrote to his counterpart in Foreign Affairs in February 1972.

“While a camp on the mainland would give the West Irians a better opportunity for finding employment it also would defeat the purpose of getting them away from easy access for communication and return to West Irian”.

“It is considered that the Manus Camp should be maintained as at present, and that allegations about conditions in, and health of the occupants, are completely without foundation.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

How the Manus camp became permanent

The Australian government was sensitive to criticism and Manus Island’s remoteness and lack of information had started rumours.

Back in 1968 the then Mr Michael Somare, later to become the country’s first prime minister, speaking to a motion on the issue of ‘border crossers’ in PNG’s pre-independence parliament said he “had heard the refugees on Manus had been placed in a camp near the police station”.

“This could be compared with the Second World War when the Jews were placed in concentration camps,” he said.

He added that PNG is a “free country” and the refugees should be treated fairly and found jobs.

In May 1969, journalist Jack McCarthy went to Manus for South Pacific Post and filed a story headlined ‘Refugee ‘prisoners’ live without hope’ and reported they existed in depressing conditions.

The Australian government sent an official to investigate and he reported the camp was in good condition but there was widespread unemployment.

Salasia Camp was “unsuitable” and Manus “too small” for the refugees to find employment but it was recommended “full rations only be issued on a ‘dole’ basis, that is the recipients be obliged to do public works, no matter how menial, in return.”

“If, and this is the big one, there is an acceptance by the people living in West Irian of the result of the plebiscite [Act of Free Choice], with necessary relaxation and change in administrative policy by the Indonesians, the permissive residents seeing no rosy future in Papua New Guinea would possibly take the chance of going home,” the report to the director of the Department of District Administration said.


In February 1972 there were 73 people at the camp and “43 adult males with 69 dependants and one adult female (widowed) with one dependant child” had been processed, a report from the Department of External Territories in 1972 states.

Of these three had returned home “of their own volition”, one went to Holland and 39 men and their dependants “found employment and have re-settled in various centres throughout Papua New Guinea”.

“Initially it was thought this would be a holding centre until after their requests for permissive residence was decided on,” said professor Neumann.

“Some stayed much longer. The Manus camp became permanent.”

“The holding camp was not a detention centre, it did not have a barbed wire fence around it, people could come and go as they wanted to,” said professor Neumann.

“In fact the authorites wanted them to find work and were quite upset that they weren’t, they wanted the kids to go to school, so in that sense, it wasn’t at all like a detention centre.”

Manfred Meho has spent most of his life living in the camp.

“It’s a good life. Manus people are good. All house here were built by the government, from when we first walked in,” he said.

Australia spent $15,000 on the construction of 12 houses on a large concrete slab and a community hall at one end.

Manfred Meho remembers when life in the camp changed.

“The supply of food. In 1975 or 1976, the [Australian government] food supply stopped,” he said.

As PNG became self-governing 1973, ahead of independence two years later, responsibility for the permissive residence visa holders was transferred away from Australia.

“As soon as PNG became self-governing, Australia signed on to the 1967 protocol to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, that meant Australia no longer subscribed the geographical and temporal limitations of the convention,” professor Neumann said.

Most of the original refugees have now passed away or moved on to elsewhere in PNG, and some returned to Indonesia’s Papuan provinces.

At annual PNG-Indonesian border liaison talks held on Manus in 2005, Indonesia’s ambassador renewed the offer of voluntary repatriation to the West Papuans.

Stefan Armbruster SBS

‘Life here is good’

Amos Kimbri was born to West Papuan parents at the Manus camp in the mid-1970s. His father lives in PNG but his mother went back across the border.

In 2010 he returned to the homeland he had never seen.

“We repatriated, I went to West Papua, I went back. I feel the life is good here. I’ve travelled to West Papua and the life is too hard,” he said.

“Like we are sitting here, we are free, no problem, but in West Papua we have many problems,” said Mr Kimbri describing difficultlies accessing land, making it hard to grow food, and lack of schools for his children.

“I was there when they were shooting people [in West Papua]. They told us we can’t hold a flag for West Papua, when we hold the flag they will kill us, so I and my wife and son and daughter came back to PNG,” he said.

Amos hopes to visit his elderly mother in West Papua again but does not have a passport.

“I’m not a PNG citizen, I haven’t signed a form yet. I travel on a temporary passport,” he said.

“At the office in Vanimo (on the border), the Indonesian office, I take an ID and photo and they put it in a pass and I travel”.

Manfred Meho has never been back but has worked as a merchant seaman.

“We travel out. We are seamen, we travel out to Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam,” he said.

“I have a travel passport but I don’t have citizenship. We don’t have citizenship but our names are on the electoral roll in Manus.

“We vote, we vote as Manusians, but we are still waiting on citizenship.”

Now after almost five stateless decades, the PNG has made them an offer.

“Last month migration officials came to talk with us about giving citizenship but they haven’t come back yet,” he said.

Manfred Meho is almost 50 now, married to a local, has four children and is happy on Manus. Returning to a free West Papua is a distant dream.

“People are unhappy when they think about home and they feel sorry, but life here is good,” he said.

“Manus people are good. We go fishing, we go bush, we make gardens, we give sago, and they are friendly to us.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

Police and students bond over love of football

Hundreds of students and police officers joined forces at Coogee Beach on Sunday, for a game of soccer.


The event, now in its fifth year, aims to strengthen ties between New South Wales Police and international students.

A combined 200 police and international university and TAFE students from dozens of countries have enjoyed a few games of football at Coogee Beach in Sydney.

Chris Mackey, the Director of Study New South Wales, a key sponsor of multicultural events, says sport is a great unifier.

“We’re so lucky to have such a proactive police force in New South Wales. I think everyone understands sports. Football is the world game as Les Murray would have said.”

This particular day of games had one major goal, according to Inspector Glyn Baker of New South Wales Police.

“It’s about building trust. They need to know they can trust this uniform and that they are safe. It’s about breaking down those barriers.”

An eye opening day for students from some countries where the police are feared.

An array of students from countries including Nigeria, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia were in awe of local police officer’s friendly relationship with the community.

“Hardly see anything like this by the police at home. So big ups big ups big ups big ups to the NSW police department!”

“I am not gonna lie our team is really good and I am having so much fun with my boys over here.”

“They are lovely, enjoying with us playing with us.”

In 2009, racially-motivated attacks against Indian university students, mainly in Melbourne, prompted the Indian government to pressure Australia to do more to keep its students safe.

Eight years later, former Indian international student Gurnam Singh, who is now a mutlicultural advocate in Sydney, says initiatives like this police student soccer tournament have helped race relations.

“More awareness like people who are not educated, like the turban I am wearing. This was valued with the McGrath Foundation using the pink turban.”

And his optimism is enhanced by days like this one, where the community, police and students from all over the planet play for the same team.


PGA Tour rookie Schauffele wins Tour Championship by one shot

But the ball finally disappeared after circling the cup, leaving Schauffele with a wide smile of relief on his face.


“My hands were shaking so much, I was so nervous,” world number 66 Schauffele said at the victory presentation.

“I was very embarrassed. I don’t want to win with a huge all-round lip-in.”

Schauffele carded a closing 68 to finish at 12-under-par 268, while Thomas shot 66 to claim second-place on 11 under.

The performance clinched for Thomas the FedExCup, and a $10 million bonus, awarded to the winner of the season-long points race.

Thomas overtook Jordan Spieth, who started the Tour Championship as points leader. Spieth finished equal seventh in the tournament and slipped to second in the FedExCup standings.

He received a $3 million consolation prize, while Schauffele finished third in the standings.

It was a fairytale finish to the season for 23-year-old Schauffele, who barely qualified for the 30-man Tour Championship field.

“It’s been a wild ride. I weaseled my way in,” he said as his father Stefan looked on.

Stefan was a promising German decathlete whose international dreams were dashed when he suffered a serious eye injury in a car crash.

He subsequently moved to the United States and married a woman from Taiwan, the couple settling in southern California.

“I’m so happy he’s here and I can share it with him,” Schauffele said of his father.

Schauffele broke out of a tight five-way battle, after five players had been bunched within one stroke on the back nine.

He made a fine up-and-down par save at the penultimate hole after a deft chip to remain tied with Thomas, before another precise chip at the par-five 18th set up his winning putt.

Russell Henley (65) shot the day’s best score to tie for third with fellow American Kevin Kisner (70) at 10-under, while Englishman Paul Casey finished another shot back.

Overnight leader Casey (73) did not make a birdie until the final hole.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis)

Mexicans pray as earthquake toll hits 320

Mexicans have packed churches to pray for the victims of the country’s deadliest quake in 32 years as rescue teams search against the odds for any survivors trapped under rubble.


As another aftershock jolted southwestern Mexico on Sunday, the death toll from Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake climbed to 320 people.

With thousands of buildings damaged, survivors slept on the street outside their homes and estimates of the cost of the earthquake ran as high as $US8 billion ($A10 billion).

Many have been traumatised by the second major quake to strike Mexico City in their lifetime after a devastating 1985 tremor killed an estimated 10,000 people.

In the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the national shrine of the majority Roman Catholic country, thousands of people gathered to pray.

“I came to ask God for strength for those who lost loved ones and for the Virgin to watch over us and keep us safe,” said 69-year-old Maria Gema Ortiz. “Thanks to all those who came from other countries to help. Thanks to all and long live Mexico!”

Makeshift places of worship have popped up next to the crumbling cement and mangled steel of collapsed buildings in the deeply religious country.

In upscale Roma, one of the hardest-hit neighbourhoods of the capital, a priest led mass for nearly two dozen people under a blue tarp while a nun handed out small cards with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who according to the Catholic faith first appeared to an Aztec convert in 1531.

More than 44,000 public schools in six states were due to reopen on Monday, but only 103 of the 4,000 public schools in Mexico City would open so as not to impede rescue and relief efforts.

Rescuers have narrowed their search to a handful of buildings in the sprawling metropolitan area of 20 million people, using advanced audio equipment to detect signs of life beneath tonnes of rubble, with help from teams from as far afield as Israel and Japan.

ACCC appeals LG faulty TV case dismissal

The competition watchdog is appealing after a court dismissed its allegation that LG Electronics misled customers about their warranty rights on faulty televisions.


The Federal Court in September dismissed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s allegations that LG made false or misleading representations to certain customers about their rights in relation to faulty products.

The ACCC, which launched proceedings against LG in December 2015, argued that when a defect occurred after the LG warranty had expired, customers were told they would have to pay the costs of assessing the repair and that the company had no further obligations.

Customers were also told they were entitled to have a television repaired but not entitled to a refund or a replacement, and were liable for any labour costs to fix the problem.

The Federal Court dismissed the ACCC’s allegations on September 1, finding that LG was not obliged to to tell customers about their options under Australian Consumer Law.

On Monday, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the watchdog had lodged a notice of appeal, saying it was important to seek clarity from the Federal Court on this case.

“In particular, this appeal is about the extent to which manufacturers should inform people seeking a remedy for a faulty product about their consumer guarantee rights,” Ms Rickard said in a statement.

“Products and services come with consumer guarantees which may provide remedies over and above those in any manufacturer’s warranty.

“The ACCC will take appropriate action to ensure that consumers are not misled about their consumer guarantee rights.”

LG general manager Angus Jones said the company was disappointed with the ACCC’s decision to appeal the judgement and will continue to defend the allegations.

“We take consumers’ rights very seriously and we have confidence that our rigorous policies and procedures ensure LG adheres to the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Jones said in a statement on Monday.

The decision to appeal comes less than a week after the watchdog lodged similar action against the Federal Court’s dismissal of its allegations that Medibank Private deliberately failed to notify members of new limits on pathology and radiology benefits.

Ardern puts her negotiating team together

New Zealand Labour leader

The small nationalist party has been left holding the balance of power following Saturday’s indecisive election.


The ruling National Party won the most seats, but failed to secure enough to form government, leaving NZ First leader Winston Peters kingmaker.

While Labour trails the National Party by around 10 points, under the country’s German-style proportional representation it could still form government if it goes into coalition with the Green Party and NZ First.

Prime Minister Bill English began courting Peters on election night.

“My plan is to make some calls later in the week, over the next few days,” Adern told reporters on Monday.

“My expectation is that we will have a team that will speak one on one, as team to team.”

“We’ll be having a caucus discussion tomorrow and we will take it from there.”

Ardern hasn’t had any direct contact with Peters since the election, and earlier on Monday English said he hadn’t either.

English says he expects to speak to Peters either on Wednesday in Wellington or earlier by phone.

Nevertheless, he was “quite happy with the progress that has been made”.

“Clearly Mr Peters has said he is not going to rush it so that’s how it is flowing,” Mr English said.

As for Peters, he went fishing on Sunday and said it was important not to rush things.

He won’t give anything away about his negotiating position.

“Negotiating is about getting all you possibly can for the people who voted for you, and that means you’ve got to be smart, and clever, and determined and resolute – and the last thing you do is start playing your cards before you get to the table.”