Bresciano desperate to fix weaknesses as Cup looms

Ange Postecoglou, Head Coach Socceroos has a word with his players in a water break during the international friendly match between Qatar and Australia at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
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DOHA: Veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano bluntly admits something is not right with the Socceroos and drastic improvement is needed before the Asian Cup.

Bresciano admitted Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Qatar in Doha was an unacceptable result for a side with ambitions of winning the continental trophy on home soil in January.

While the 34-year-old said he and his teammates believed in the way they wanted to play under Ange Postecoglou, he was worried time was running out.

‘‘Personally, I think a big improvement [is needed],’’ Bresciano said.

‘‘Something’s not right, and we’ve got to fix it because it [the Asian Cup] is getting close. If we’re going to have any chance of winning it, games like tonight we shouldn’t be losing.’’

The Socceroos beat 96th-ranked Qatar easily three times in 2008, and Bresciano played in two of the victories.

He said while Middle Eastern teams were improving all the time, Tuesday’s result was also a reflection of the Socceroos’ transition.

‘‘We’re going through this transition with the young boys coming in, and maybe the standard has dropped a little bit,’’ he said. ‘‘But we know that and we’re working on that and we’ve got to become the best we can be before January.’’

Skipper Mile Jedinak said it was ‘‘bitterly disappointing’’ to lose a match he felt Australia dominated.

‘‘I think the performance itself, there was a lot of positives, but we’ve got to start cutting out those bits in our game where we’re giving away goals,’’ Jedinak said.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of work to do, but the confidence, it’s still going to be there. We believe in the way we’re going to play, and hopefully we’ll rectify that [against Japan] in November.’’

Socceroos greats appealed for calm, urging supporters to keep the faith in Postecoglou.

Former Socceroos captains Paul Wade and John Kosmina want the loss to Qatar to be kept in perspective.

While the defeat prompted Mark Bosnich to say he was almost panicking about the national side, Wade and Kosmina were less perturbed.

‘‘I’m not freaking out going, ‘Oh no, we have gone from taking on the best in the world to getting beat by Qatar,’’’ Wade said on Wednesday.

‘‘I’m not going to go slashing any wrists. I have changed my tune because normally I would have given it to them.

‘‘But I can totally understand the changes Ange Postecoglou is trying to make with the players that he has, who are trying to adapt to that.

‘‘It is very well structured and it takes a little bit of time.

‘‘I have utmost confidence in what Ange is trying to do and what the players will deliver here in Australia in the Asian Cup.’’

Kosmina also remained bullish about Australia’s prospects for the Asian Cup on home soil in January but said the Socceroos needed to be more ruthless in the back half and more cunning in attack.

‘‘It’s still a work in progress, and I can see where Ange is coming from,’’ Kosmina said.

‘‘But it gets back to the same thing I said after the World Cup: we’re not clever enough in the front third of the pitch. And it’s as simple as that.

‘‘We get good field position, so to speak, and don’t make the most of it.

‘‘We’re not even building pressure on the opposition by creating chances and getting into good areas where we have got them on the back foot.’’

Postecoglou’s game plan was sound, but queries remained whether he had the players to implement it, Kosmina said.

‘‘I like the way he is trying to get the team to play. But sometimes you have got to look at the type of players you have got and say, ‘Are they actually capable of playing that way?’

‘‘I’m not being disrespectful, but you have got Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano, they are not the sort of blokes that are going to press at 100 miles an hour because their bodies simply can’t do it.’’

Kosmina and Wade stressed the friendly status of the Qatar fixture and Australia’s scoreless draw with United Arab Emirates four days ago.

But Bosnich said the Socceroos clearly struggled in both encounters.

‘‘Not far from panic,’’ Bosnich said on Fox Sports when asked how he felt about the performances. AAP

Public servants demand Ebola isolation units be set up in Canberra

Public service news: full coverage
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Public servants want isolation units set up in Canberra to quarantine government officials returning from Ebola-stricken regions of Africa.

The demand comes as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed its top doctor had visited Australian diplomatic posts in African nations hit by the epidemic to “discuss key issues arising from the outbreak.”

The departmental staffers accuse their bosses of “dereliction of duty and failing to show respect to employees and the Australian public” by not being upfront about plans to cope if an Australian official contracts the disease.

Workplace delegates have suggested luxury apartments at Canberra’s upmarket Kingston Foreshore be rented to keep officials returning from Ebola hotspots in isolation until they are confirmed as all-clear of the infection.

Leaked internal documents show growing disquiet among the department’s public servants and union delegates are now demanding that departmental bosses brief staff on contingency and emergency plans in the face of the outbreak.

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The latest Ebola epidemic is the worst outbreak of the deadly disease on record and has killed more than 4000 people, mostly in the west African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

There have been several cases of infection among western aid workers, medics and missionaries.

One of the department’s Community and Public Sector Union delegates, Christopher Lang, has demanded the department’s bosses level with staff about what they are doing to mitigate the threat.

Mr Lang said public servants engaged in aid work in Africa, as well as diplomatic activities,  brought them into the Ebola danger zone.

“At a minimum, management must share with employees its contingency arrangements to mitigate adverse impacts of Ebola risk.”

The union delegate said management was failing its duty of care to the department’s employees if it maintained its silence.

“Silence on this front indicates dereliction of duty and failing to show respect to employees and the Australian public in neglecting to fulfil its obligation to take action to protect employees.”

Mr Lang cited the case of  German UN doctor from the disease.

“The significance of this event is that the UN health care worker died despite being under the ‘best of’ German care,” Mr Lang wrote.

“The response from management is a non-response in terms of the risks colleagues face daily in travel and work in the country.”

There is also concern about contact by Australian expatriates with local workers at diplomatic installations in Africa and worries that the disease might be spread by the system of cleaning toilets at the department’s Canberra buildings.

Senior department executive Arthur Spyrou said: “I can advise that the department is working directly with posts in the region to address the issues arising from the outbreak.

“The senior departmental doctor has also visited relevant posts to discuss key issues arising from the outbreak. “This work is ongoing.”

Lee family portraits capture Lake Burley Griffin scene over 50 years

25 years ago: Dan Lee with his daughters Julie Anne and Margaret at Regatta Point in 1988. Photo: Supplied 50 years ago: Dan Lee with his daughters Julie Anne and Margaret in 1963. Photo: Supplied
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Just last year: Dan Lee with daughters Julie Anne and Margaret in 2013. Photo: Supplied

Dan Lee watched his two daughters grow from curly-haired little girls to young women in the time Canberra’s famous lake went from a trickle of water to a large expanse.

The changes have been captured in three precious family portraits of the trio, each snapped by Mr Lee’s wife Nancye, over 50 years.

They have made a point of posing for the same photograph every 25 years to document their changing faces and also the transformation of Lake Burley Griffin.

Mr Lee and his daughters Julie Anne Johnston and Margaret Gosper were first snapped at Regatta Point on Canberra’s northside in 1963, months before the lake filled in.

“I just find that first photo quite astonishing, you can actually see the river winding through there,” Mr Lee said.

It was the girls’ first real experience of the capital after Mr Lee came to Canberra to work for what was then the Department of Customs and Excise the previous year.

His pregnant wife and the two girls remained at the family’s home in Sydney’s southern suburbs, with Mr Lee travelling back each weekend, until they moved into a Reid house in 1964.

The couple, who also had three sons, built their house in Lyons in 1968 and apart from a year working in Canada and three years in Brisbane, they have lived there ever since.

“This has been our home,” Mr Lee said.

The girls attended Catholic schools in Canberra and by the time they set about recreating the image in 1988 both were married and worked in the public service.

“We knew that first photo was there and we knew it was taken in August so went at the end of July or early August to get the photo 25 years later,” Mr Lee said.

“There was a lot more water in the lake.”

By the time the 50th anniversary of the first shot rolled around in 2013, Mr Lee was about to celebrate his 80th birthday.

In the background, the National Museum had replaced the old Royal Canberra Hospital on the New Acton Peninsula.

Mr Lee often felt a bit nostalgic when he looked at them and observed the changes.

“That’s one of the reasons we go back, it brings back memories.”

“It is interesting to see how you looked – I used to have a bit more hair.”

He made a point of wearing the same jumper he donned in 1988 when he posed for the most recent shot.

He still had the item of clothing and joked he hadn’t ruled out wearing it if he got the opportunity to pose for another photo.

“I’m looking forward to the 75th anniversary, I’ll only be 106,” he said.

Mr Lee said the lake had been “a tremendous thing for Canberra and a great amenity”.

The Block’s Brad and Lara buy Maryville Tavern

The Block winners Lara and Brad on Wednesday with business partner Michael Deer have bought the Maryville Tavern and are now renovating it. Photo by PHIL HEARNE ONE of Newcastle’s beloved but lesser-known pubs is set for renovation, with The Block winners Brad and Lara Cranfield confirming they’ve bought the Maryville Tavern.
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The couple took over the kitchen last month and completed the pub’s purchase this week. They declined to disclose the sum, though Australian Property Monitors said the previous owner bought it in 2005 for about $2.6 million.

Mr Cranfield said he and Mrs Cranfield were now co-owners with his cousin Michael Deer, and would try to preserve the pub’s tucked-away urban feel.

‘‘We’ll try and appeal to everyone,’’ he said.

‘‘I think there’s a lot of youngish people like Lara and myself who’d like to go out for a meal and a beer.’’

Mr Deer is a former licensee of The Dockyard at Honeysuckle, and Mr Cranfield said his parents had managed pubs since he was a kid.

A block from the Islington cycle path and flanked by a warehouse, the tavern is regarded locally as a hidden gem. It currently has an old-fashioned horseshoe bar and a restaurant out back.

Mr Cranfield said the bar would stay but could be refurbished to ‘‘create atmosphere’’. The beer garden, presently a paved courtyard, may be fitted out with more plants.

The couple, who married in February, are living at and renovating their house in East Maitland and will commute to work on the tavern. Mr Cranfield said taking on another renovation had been ‘‘a learning curve’’, but hoped the house would be finished by Christmas.

Brad and Lara won the NBN reality show in 2012, making $506,000 on their house at auction.

Active video games won’t fix couch potato kids, new research shows

Active video games do not make children fitter or more physically active, new research shows.
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Replacing traditional sedentary games with active ones or banning video games makes little difference to how physically active children are across the day, according to research presented at Sports Medicine Australia’s be active 2014 conference in Canberra on Thursday.

“At  the moment, the current technologies aren’t really engaging enough for kids to enjoy playing them so much that they would rather play the active game rather than the sedentary game,” Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University’s School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science said.

“The idea is right but the technology just isn’t good enough for kids to be really enthralled with the active games like they are with some of the sedentary games.”

Professor Straker said lab studies had found active video games did increase physical activity levels, but field studies revealed children simply weren’t interested in playing them in the “real world”.

“(In the laboratory study), they certainly were using more muscles, more movement and burning more calories when playing the active games when compared to ‘press button’ games,” he said.

The field study found children tended to do just five or six minutes more physical activity a day when they had no access to electronic games or used active video games.

Professor Straker said 56 children took part in the study where they spent two months with access to active video games at home, two months with traditional “sedentary” games at home and then the same amount of time with no games.

He said parents reported finding it easier to replace traditional video games with active games than banning video games in the home altogether.

“Electronic games are really important for a lot of children in their lives and we need to find ways of managing that so children still have enjoyable childhoods and play but don’t be so sedentary that it is harming their mental and physical health,” Professor Straker said.

He said physical activity which increased heart rate and breathing had really important mental and physical health benefits for children.

“If we can get active video games to be engaging that can be a really good way for children to get some of their physical activity each day,” he said.

Professor Straker said traditional forms of physical activity were still the best way of getting children moving and he believed parents should limit how much time their children spent in front of screens.

“I don’t want (active video games) to replace them running around outside or some of the time that they normally spend sitting around watching TV,” he said.

“The press button video games need to be seen in the same category as watching TV.”

Australian guidelines suggest school age children should not have more than two hours of screen time a day.

“Electronic games is part of watching tv, watching YouTube, spending time on social media on their computer, all of that sitting down in front of a screen.

“Parents should be talking to their children, setting up rules about what’s acceptable in terms of the amount of time on all the screens, including electronic games.”

Labor calls on Abbott government to deploy medical teams to Africa to join Ebola fight

Tanya Plibersek Photo: Rohan Thomson Tanya Plibersek Photo: Rohan Thomson
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Tanya Plibersek Photo: Rohan Thomson

Tanya Plibersek Photo: Rohan Thomson

Labor will increase pressure on the Abbott government to do more to help fight the Ebola outbreak in west Africa by publicly calling for the government to deploy medical assistance teams.

Labor’s deputy leader and foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, and health spokeswoman Catherine King will write to Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Health Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday to request they immediately make arrangements to deploy Australian personnel to the region.

The outbreak has infected almost 9000 people and claimed more than 4000 lives.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the number of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia is doubling every 20 days, and by January could reach 1.4 million cases on present trends.

In the letter, Ms Plibersek writes of Labor’s “grave concern” about the government’s response to the rapidly escalating crisis, which she calls “the most serious health emergency of the modern era”.

Australia’s contribution to date has been limited to donations totalling $18 million, a contribution that was overtaken on Wednesday by a donation by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan of $US25 million ($US28.7 million).

Labor supports the government’s financial contribution, which has been welcomed by the United Nations, but says money alone is not enough.

It is calling for the government to deploy Australian Medical Assistance Teams, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and logisticians, which were sent to the Philippines last year following typhoon Haiyan.

It also wants the government to support other specialist Australian personnel such as doctors and nurses to travel to the region to support efforts to combat the outbreak.

The Australian Medical Association, the Public Health Association of Australia and aid organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and Save the Children have criticised Australia for refusing to send personnel to Africa to support international efforts.

Mr Abbott told reporters on Sunday his government would not send doctors and nurses to west Africa until it could be “absolutely confident that all of the risks are being properly managed”, adding it would be “irresponsible” for the government to send personnel to the region at this time.

Ms Bishop has previously cited the government’s inability to safely evacuate any Australian personnel who might be infected with the virus in west Africa.

But Labor says the government should negotiate with other nations to provide care and evacuation arrangements for any Australian personnel who may become ill while contributing to the international effort.

“Failure to act now will have serious consequences,” Ms Plibersek writes. “As recent Ebola cases in the US and Spain show, even countries with the most highly developed health and border protection systems are no longer immune.”

“If the international community pulls together, the Ebola outbreak may be possible to contain. But the window of opportunity is closing fast. That’s why Australia must significantly increase its efforts, immediately.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week a few rich countries were providing most of the money and doing most of the work to tackle the outbreak, and the load needed to be shared more evenly.

Mr Kerry said more countries needed to provide resources such as mobile laboratories, treatment units and medivac capacity as well as non-medical support such as telecommunications and generators.

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India was the ‘obvious place’ to send 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers: Immigration

The federal government has said it acted lawfully when detaining 157 asylum seekers on board a Customs boat for a month, telling the High Court that India was an “obvious place” to send them.
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In a separate case on Wednesday, the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane dismissed an application to allow a baby born in Australia to asylum-seeker parents to apply for a protection visa.

Judge Michael Jarrett ruled that baby Ferouz Myuddin satisfied the criteria to be an “unauthorised maritime arrival”, even though he was born in a Brisbane hospital last year.

He said the law provided for children in such a position to be treated in line with their parents, who are not able to apply.

In the High Court in Canberra, the General-Solicitor Justin Gleeson said the decision to intercept the boat carrying the 157 asylum seekers had come from the National Security Committee of Cabinet, of which Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is a member.

Mr Gleeson said India was an “obvious place” to return the Sri Lankan Tamils, given the asylum seekers could not be returned to Sri Lanka for fear of being persecution and that they had departed from Pondicherry in India, despite the boat being only 16 nautical miles from Christmas Island.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the asylum seeker CPCF, who was on board the boat carrying 157 asylum seekers, said the government was deliberately ignoring international human rights.

“The Australian government is repeatedly increasingly saying that we comply with human rights law in our actions at sea, but in this case they are saying we don’t have any legal obligation under Australian law to comply with international law,” said Hugh de Krester from the Human Rights Law Centre.

“Separately they have introduced a bill before the Parliament to say we can exercise those powers without regard to international law and in a decision-making process.

“If the government meant what they said, they wouldn’t be doing this.”

But Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said it was the government’s policy to turn boats back when it was safe to do so, and there were a “range of options” available to the government when dealing with this Indian vessel.

“It is never our first response in these situations to take people to Nauru, whether that’s via Christmas Island or by the mainland,” Mr Morrison told Sky News.

“The Australian government always seeks to ensure that its international obligations are met and we do that on each occasion and we don’t refoul people and we never have and we certainly haven’t done that as a government.”

The 157 asylum seekers were later flown via the Cocos Islands to the Curtin Immigration Centre in Western Australia, before being transferred to Nauru.

The findings of the High Court case will be handed down in the coming months.

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Jarryd Hayne move starts sliding doors at Parramatta Eels

JARRYD HAYNE: Race to replace Eels star.COMMENT
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Jarryd Hayne’s move to the NFL may start a period of sliding doorsat the Parramatta Eels.

The 26-year-old’s departure has brought about considerable salary cap roomfor theclub.

Here arefivescenariosthat we maysee happen.

1 – Darius Boyd

DARIUS BOYD: Where will he go?

He’s been continually linked to the Broncos for months,even more so now that his mentor Wayne Bennett is returning to the club as head coach next season. Boyd has played under Bennett previously at the Dragons andtheKnights, but the Broncosmayneed to let players go to fit the fullback in. The Eels may now be able to trump the Broncos package and pull off a last minute coup.

2 – A different Bronco

JOSH HOFFMAN: On the outer at the Broncos.

The subsequent shuffling of the deckchairs at Brisbane may seeDariusBoyd return to Red Hill and a current Bronco become an Eel. Ben Barba, Josh Hoffman, Justin Hodges, Anthony Milford and Boyd can all play fullback, but only one can get the job. The favourite to departwould be Josh Hoffman, who has already beentold he can look elsewhere.

3 – The X-Factor

ISRAEL FOLAU: Staying put … for now.

The expectation is thatthe club will be looking at gaining a replacement fullback for Hayne, but they may already have a couple of ready made options. Corey Norman can certainly do the job and the club may instead look to channeltheir funds towards a high profile half, with a number off contract, such as Manly’s Keiran Foran.

Israel Folau’s name also continues to get bounced around in speculation, but he’s not going anywhere until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

4- Kurtley Beale

KURTLEY BEALE: May be the right time for Wallabies bad boy to realise his “NRL dream”.

It may just be a good time to be unemployed if that indeed eventuates for Kurtley Beale. In strife with the Wallabies, Beale may just be an option to fill the void left by Hayne. Whilst reports have linked him to the Bulldogs and even the Panthers in recent years, it could be a case of perfect timing for the Eels.

Beale has gone on the record at saying he’d love to try his hand at Rugby League, he may not have any other option if things end badly in the 15-man code.

5 – Will Hopoate

Hopoate had a solid season back in the NRL following his mormon mission, without being outstanding. He lost a lot of weight in his time away from the game and if anything, the NRL has gotten more physical in that period with the growing trend of coaches putting mobile forwards in the centres, could Hayne’s move to the NFL send Hopoate to fullback?

Adam Santarossa is a Multimedia Reporter for The Newcastle Herald.

Copper to shine as Chinese demand drives up price, analysts say

The price of copper, Australia’s fifth-largest mineral export, is set for a reasonably bright future if Chinese demand holds up, according to analysts.
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A base metal used mainly in electrical wiring, roofing and plumbing and industrial machinery, copper is currently trading at $US6780 per tonne, or $US3.11 per pound.

It has been drifting lower for the past four years, having peaked at $US10,160 in February 2011.

Strong supply, however, would be a headwind against price growth, said UBS commodities analyst Daniel Morgan.

“It’s got a reasonably robust supply story for the next 12 to 18 months,” said Mr Morgan. “But there’s always risk on the copper supply front … in South America and Africa supply may disappoint for a variety of reasons.

“In South America there’s some new mines, which are always difficult to bring on, and there’s some grade factors which they need to work through.”

Australia – which exported $8.7 billion of copper in 2013-14 – is the world’s fifth-largest copper supplier behind China, Peru, the US and, at No.1, Chile.

On the demand side, the US dollar is set to get stronger – always a headwind for commodity prices, Mr Morgan said – while Chinese demand has been a little weak lately.

Short term, Mr Morgan said he was bearish on the prospects for copper.

“I think you’ve got weakness into next year … I think prices will head to $3 and maybe a tad below, but I don’t think it’s got the downside that a lot of other commodities have got.”

Copper would trend near $US3 in 2015 but pick up after that, said Mr Morgan.

“Beyond 12 to 18 months it starts to look good again. There’s still a robust growth demand story in China.”

ANZ commodity analyst Daniel Hynes said increased strike activity next year in Chile, where a number of contracts were being renewed, could threaten supply.

The Chilean company Codelco owns 11 per cent of the world’s copper reserves.

“[Next year] will see disruption start to pick up a little bit,” he said. “We would expect to see the price edge higher.

“Prices are at the bottom of a long-held range and inventories are low enough to induce some restocking. We could get an improving price by the end of the year.”

Mr Hynes said he expected copper to get above $US7000 per tonne in the foreseeable future.

“We’re at $US6700 now and we’re targeting $US7000 for the first quarter of 2015.”

Analyst Andrew Driscoll, of CLSA, said prices would be subdued over the next year but pick up after that.

“We expect prices to trade at the lower end of the $US3 to $US3.50-per-pound trading range over the coming 12 months on supply growth,” he said.

“But copper remains our favourite metal in the medium to long term as supply starts to go backwards while demand is geared into the rising Chinese consumer story.”

CLSA tips copper to reach $US3.13 per pound at the end of the year, $US3.30 at the end of 2015 and $US3.60 at the end of 2016.

JPMorgan’s forecast is $US3.20 for the end of 2014, $US3.22 for the end of 2015 and $US3.40 for the end of 2016.

Frank Lowy and sons inject $177m into Westfield Corporation

Buyers: Frank Lowy, centre, with sons Steven, left, and Peter. Photo: Rob Homer Buyers: Frank Lowy, centre, with sons Steven, left, and Peter. Photo: Rob Homer
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Buyers: Frank Lowy, centre, with sons Steven, left, and Peter. Photo: Rob Homer

Buyers: Frank Lowy, centre, with sons Steven, left, and Peter. Photo: Rob Homer

Westfield founder Frank Lowy and his sons Peter and Steven have injected $177.3 million of their own money into their newly created overseas empire, taking the family’s private holding to just under 10 per cent.

The on-market trades of 23.7 million securities, as reported in a notice to the ASX on Wednesday, were completed at prices between $7.42 and $7.44, at levels where the group has traded so far this week.

The trades were undertaken through Lowy family-controlled trusts, which are managed by eldest son, David.

Mr Lowy and Peter and Steven under took a hard-fought, $70 billion battle earlier this year to split the Westfield empire into the Australian and New Zealand malls – now trading as Scentre – and the overseas operations, now known as Westfield Corporation.

Despite some opposition from key investors, including UniSuper, the deal got across the line in late June.

The Lowys now focus on the international business, as indicated by the share purchases, and have plans for a new mall in Milan. They are said to be looking at South America, but have not made any inroads since they withdrew from a joint venture in Brazil two years ago.

In a bid to raise cash for redevelopment of its interest in 49 malls, Scentre has engaged JP Morgan to review the ownership of the NZ assets, which could see a sell out to a third party or a spin-off to a new vehicle.