NZ will have a hung parliament under MMP

A kingmaker isn’t a foreign concept in Australian politics.

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In 2010 there were three Julia Gillard had to deal with to secure her minority government.

But what’s different between that and New Zealand’s upcoming election is that the hung parliament was an anomaly.

In New Zealand, it’s intentional.

And for months it’s been said that NZ First leader Winston Peters will be the man to decide who forms government after the September 23 poll.

Sure the voters have their say, but based on current polls neither National nor Labour can rule alone.

Even with current partners both still fall short of a majority.

So it could come down to Mr Peters, who in the past has sided with both parties.

It’s the way Mixed Member Proportional voting was intended to work.

The confusing system, operating in only six countries worldwide, was first used in New Zealand in 1996.

Mr Peters was kingmaker back then too.

After campaigning for change, he shocked many when he ultimately decided to give National leader Jim Bolger a third term.

In negotiations he scored himself the contrived position of treasurer – until he was fired two years later.

In 2005 he was kingmaker again despite declaring he wouldn’t support either major party.

But Labour leader Helen Clark dangled the foreign affairs portfolio and was also returned for a third term as prime minister.

This year the choice is different. It’s between National leader Bill English who is campaigning as an unelected prime minister with 27 years of experience.

On the other side is Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who became leader four weeks ago and was just four years old when Mr Peters first entered parliament.

As for who Mr Peters will choose, he’s not giving anything away.

But the latest polls mean the idea that Mr Peters will be kingmaker is no longer a guarantee.

A second potential kingmaker has emerged in the Maori Party.

Thursday’s shock poll put Labour ahead of National for the first time in more than a decade and means a Labour-Green coalition would be only a few seats shy of a majority.

Despite the Maori party being a current National government support partner, co-leader Marama Fox has said it’s 50/50 on who they might side with this election.

At 1 per cent in the current polls, the Maori Party must win a seat to secure their return to parliament and a shot at being kingmaker.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell currently holds the party’s only electorate.

Johnson in AFL finals contention for GWS

Steve Johnson has struggled to put two strong games together this year but the door remains open for the Greater Western Sydney forward to play AFL finals.

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The 34-year-old’s poor game against Geelong last week highlighted he is no longer an automatic selection ahead of his retirement at season’s end.

The star goalsneak has been hampered by a knee injury this season but he is set to benefit from the week off leading to the qualifying final away to Adelaide next Thursday.

His reputation as a match-winner will also count in his favour in his bid for a swan song.

But Giants coach Leon Cameron conceded there were doubts about his durability for the month-long finals campaign.

“His knee’s pulled up pretty well and he’ll be in line for selection,” Cameron told reporters on Friday.

“It’s unfortunate he hasn’t had any continuity.

“Some of the games he’s been able to produce throughout the year on the back of maybe a week or two off or not backing up week-to-week have been really pleasing.

“But there’s no doubt when he has to back up two or three weeks in a row, it has affected his form and his body hasn’t been able to handle it.”

Calls to drop former Geelong player Johnson, whose career has spanned 291 games including 24 finals for three premierships and 510 goals, come as utility Matt de Boer and last year’s No.2 draft pick Tim Taranto wait in the wings.

Johnson was goalless with eight touches against the Cats but Cameron insists he wasn’t the only player who struggled in the 44-point loss.

“There were probably 15 or 16 other players,” Cameron said.

“We were poor and we let ourselves down. We had a tough review on Tuesday – an honest review.”

Penrith look for finals push against Manly

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin insists Saturday’s final-round clash against Manly remains a “do-or-die” encounter despite having all but secured an NRL finals spot.

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North Queensland’s defeat on Thursday means the Panthers need to lose by an unlikely 37 points or more against the Sea Eagles to allow St George Illawarra to sneak into the top eight, with a win over Canterbury.

However, Griffin is demanding his men bounce back from last week’s shock loss to the Dragons that snapped a seven-game winning run and build momentum heading into the finals.

“We’ve been finishing the year off really well and we were very disappointed last week with the loss there against St George,” Griffin said on Friday.

“So for us it’s a do-or-die game, that’s the way we’re approaching it. What happens after the game, we’ll worry about that then.”

Griffin denied the defeat took the steam out of their winning streak and pointed to his team’s success over the past two months.

A loss for the Sea Eagles opens the door for the Dragons to leapfrog them into eighth spot, giving the Panthers yet another challenge heading towards the finals.

“We’ve been in positions like this all along the last eight weeks,” Griffin said.

“We had to go down to Canberra and beat them and we’ve had teams coming at us for the last eight weeks, (Gold Coast, Canterbury), all playing for their season.

“And it’s been something that our group’s really handled well.

“It’s not going to be anything new to us, but it’s obviously going to be a real pressure-cooker atmosphere over there tomorrow.”

Griffin also said he would give skipper Matt Moylan until kickoff to come back from a hamstring injury despite failing to train during Friday’s captain’s run.

The Panthers five-eighth had initially been ruled out until the finals but was included in the extended squad when the team was named on Tuesday.

“We’ll give him every chance. I’ll go and check him out now, he did some more running this morning,” Griffin said.

Call for action after report reveals high risk of suicide for transgender kids

Transgender young people are at a extraordinarily high risk of suicide and are about 10 times more likely than other young Australians to experience serious depression and anxiety, according to a nationwide survey.

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The Trans Pathway survey – the largest conducted into the mental health of young trans people in Australia – also shows they are more likely to face homelessness.

Dr Ashleigh Lin, a research fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia says the survey findings should act as an “urgent” call to action for the government, health professionals and general public to become better educated on transgender diversity.

“We feel very strongly about the findings of the survey, we don’t feel there’s been enough work on the mental health of trans young people and really if we look at the rate of suicide attempts, one in two is a horrifying statistic,” Dr Lin said.

More than 850 transgender and gender diverse young people aged 14 to 25 and nearly 200 parents and guardians of trans young people took part in the anonymous online survey.

They were asked a wide range of questions relating to mental health and their experiences accessing medical and mental health services.

Three out four had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a health professional – 10 times higher than experienced by adolescents in the general Australian population – and 22 per cent reported an eating disorder.

Nearly 80 per cent reported self-harming behaviour, while nearly half (48 per cent) had attempted suicide – six times higher than the general adolescent population.

Those who had self-harmed or attempted suicide were more than four times more likely to have experienced issues with accommodation, including homelessness; and three times more likely to have been bullied.

The majority of transgender survey participants said they were satisfied with the services provided to them by a GP, although some did report that it took time to find a “respectful” doctor.

Negative experiences with psychiatrists outweighed the positives, according to the survey findings.

Lead author of the report, PhD student Penelope Strauss, suggests this is because psychiatrists are often the “gatekeepers” to gender reassignment surgery.

“Often a young person needs to have a letter from a psychiatrist in order to access hormones,” Ms Strauss said.

Transgender refers to people who identify as a gender that does not match the sex assigned to them at birth.

For parents of a transgender child they are desperate for greater education, Ms Strauss said.

When asked what would make them more accepting of their child’s identity, they said: “It wasn’t that they were against having a trans child, it was that they were unaware of this identity and simply needed more information and more support from other parents who’d be able to understand what their child was going through and what their identity meant to their child.”

Key Findings:

74% diagnosed with depression72% diagnosed with anxiety disorder79% self-harmed48 per cent attempted suicideThose who attempted suicide 5 times more likely to face homelessness

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

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Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from 苏州美甲培训学校,bettertoknow长沙楼凤,苏州美甲培训学校,/AMS

Turnbull warns Marawi must not become the region’s Raqqa

Malcolm Turnbull warns the troubled southern Philippines city of Marawi must not become the Raqqa of southeast Asia.

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“It’s vitally important that the (Islamic State) insurrection in the Philippines is defeated,” the prime minister told broadcaster Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio on Friday.

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Raqqa in Syria is Islamic State’s quasi-capital. Since June, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been leading an offensive to reclaim it, supported by coalition airstrikes.

The Philippines defence force has been fighting IS militants in Marawi since May, and foreign fighters returning from Iraq and Syria are being drawn to the city. The conflict had displaced an estimated 400,000 people.

Australia has so far sent two P3 Orion reconnaissance and surveillance planes to assist the Philippines.

Foreign policy experts warn Australia may have to offer mentoring to Filippino troops similar to the programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IS has released a video labelling Australia a guard dog to the US in the region.

Mr Turnbull declined to respond, saying he wouldn’t be running a commentary on terrorist propaganda.

0:00 Fighting in Marawi, Philippines explained Share Fighting in Marawi, Philippines explained

“Well I’m not going to run a commentary on ISIL propaganda videos. But can I say to you that we are determined to ensure that ISIL does not establish a foothold in our region.”

Asked about the prospects of Australian boots on the ground in the Philippines, he told reporters in Moruya on the NSW South Coast he wouldn’t “speculate on hypotheticals”.

“We are already providing assistance to the Philippines, and we’ll continue to provide the assistance that we currently have deployed,” he said.

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When asked about President Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 3000 people in the past year, Mr Turnbull condemned the killings.

“We deplore the extra judicial killings in the Philippines and naturally we urge the government of Philippines… to comply with the rule of law,” he said.

The prime minister’s concerns about Marawi were backed by his foreign minister Julie Bishop, speaking at the Bali Process in Perth.

“We take the conflict in southern Philippines very seriously,” she said.

“Some years ago the leaders of ISIS, declared they wanted to establish a caliphate of headquarters in the southern Philippines. We have been working with the Philippines for some time to prevent such an occurrence.”

0:00 President Duterte visits Marawi Share President Duterte visits Marawi

And she warned that as IS were forced into retreat in Iraq and Syria, foreign fighters who survived that conflict were likely to return home.

“As we are more successful in the coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, then we will see foreign terrorist fighters who survived that conflict making their way home,” she said.

“In Southeast Asia they’ll be coming back to the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and other places.

“So it’s going to take a very close and deep level of cooperation to continue to support each other in the fight against terrorism.”

Duterte visits Marawi

The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte visited the battlezone in southern Marawi on Thursday, after troops recaptured a main mosque.

It was Duterte’s third known trip to the embattled city.

During his brief visit, Duterte inspected a devastated community near the frontline and talked to troops guarding a recaptured building.

He also visited a military patrol base and “tried a sniper rifle and fired twice toward the direction of the terrorists,” a government statement said.

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