David Leyonhjelm loses appeal bid, must pay $120,000 for defaming Sarah Hanson-Young



Former Senator David Leyonhjelm has lost his bid to overturn a ruling that he defamed Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, meaning he will have to pay $120,000 in compensation.

The Federal Court found Mr Leyonhjelm defamed Ms Hanson-Young by suggesting she was a misandrist and a hypocrite in Parliament and in media interviews in 2018.

Ms Hanson-Young was awarded $120,000 in compensation, which she pledged would go to charity.

The court had previously heard that at the conclusion of a Senate vote in June 2018, Mr Leyonhjelm told Senator Hanson-Young that she should “stop shagging men”.

In a subsequent media statement, Mr Leyonhjelm claimed he had made the comment in response to an interjection by Senator Hanson-Young along the lines of “all men are rapists”.

In the original court case, Justice Richard White found Senator Hanson-Young did not speak those words.

“Instead, it is likely that the respondent ‘heard’ that which he was predisposed to hear by reason of his pre-existing opinion of the applicant as someone who made ‘collectivist’ statements,” Justice White said.

“I have also accepted that the respondent was actuated by malice in that he published his claim concerning the applicant to a mass audience with the intention of publicly shaming her.”

The Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed Mr Leyonhjelm’s appeal against the verdict in a judgement handed down this morning.

Ms Hanson-Young previously told the Federal Court she felt bullied and intimidated when the comments were made in the Senate chamber, and again during media interviews in June and July of 2018.

Mr Leyonhjelm left Federal Parliament in March 2019.

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Buy now, pay later services see homewares purchases boom


If you’re a 35-year-old woman living in a major Australian city, you’re the reason why homeware sales went through the roof during the pandemic. What’s more, Aussie women are splurging with buy-now, pay-later schemes to fill their homes with the latest and greatest products.

According to Klarna Australia and New Zealand country head Fran Ereira, the popularity of homewares was on the rise before the pandemic, but hit fever pitch last March. 

“The home and garden category was already a huge market for our users,” Ereira says.

“But we found ourselves at home during the pandemic and realised some of the things we love and enjoy weren’t around, so the desire to redecorate studies, finally organise that guest room or office or refurbish the garden with an outdoor setting and BBQ finally did happen. We have seen people invest in their homes and gardens like never before.”

The Swedish company’s global statistics reveal that Generation Z increased their spend in the home and garden category by 262 per cent during the pandemic, while millennials aged 24 to 39 spent an extra 231 per cent. Gen X – those aged 40-55 – accelerated their home-product spend using the Klarna service by 156 per cent, with the Baby Boomers following.

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Klarna Australia general manager Fran Ereira says the popularity of homewares hit fever pitch last March. Photo: iStock

“What we have seen wasn’t just pandemic-related,” Ereira says. “Customers want to experience great ways to pay and Klarna works for them. Those aged 34 to their late 60s have had livelihoods changed and are looking for smarter and smoother ways to pay for home and garden products.”

Afterpay vice-president sales (APAC) Katrina Konstas says restrictions introduced to Australia last March kick-started the home-spending spree, with the company also seeing a spike in homewares, furniture and home gym equipment purchases.

Konstas says the trend of making your home as comfortable and aesthetically pleasing as possible drove the boom, as did the fact we’re spending more time living and working from home.  

Afterpay phone application on smartphone.
Afterpay also saw a spike in homewares, furniture and home gym equipment purchases. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Afterpay allows customers to manage their purchases by splitting the price into four interest-free instalments. The catch is to make sure you don’t spend more than your budget can handle and honouring your repayments – that way you’ll keep your interest-free terms. 

Popular buy-now, pay-later schemes like Afterpay and Zip have about 5.4 million customers in Australia.

Konstas says customers aren’t using the service as a credit function. 

“Customers also use their own money to pay off their instalments, with 90 per cent of customers linking a debit card to their Afterpay account,” she says.

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Buy-now, pay-later schemes allow customers to use their savings to pay for products in instalments. Photo: iStock

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently reported that total credit card purchases in Australia fell 6.2 per cent in the year to December 2020. It’s a sure sign that consumers want more bang for their buck – and the choice to use their savings to pay for products without being charged interest if they delay the payments over monthly instalments. 

“Being able to split that payment in four is palatable to families and singles managing a budget,” Konstas says.

Klarna’s entry into Australia occurred three weeks before the pandemic hit our shores, but its growth is proof we aren’t curbing our spending habits.

“For us this market will only continue to grow,” says Ereira. 

“Credit card usage is in a massive decline and people want a more digital way to pay. More Australians will keep gravitating toward personalised experiences,” she says. “We’re over 10 months old with around 400,000 consumers. It’s a telling sign what customers are looking for.”

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Getting brassicas in the ground now will pay off in the cooler months


By GEOFF MIERS

With temperatures soon to drop conditions become ideal for planting a range of brassicas in the home vegetable garden. Planting soon will guarantee quality produce and excellent yields.

Amongst the most popular brassicas are cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli. Nutrient rich are these vegetables and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit a diverse range of dishes.

While this week’s string of 40 degree days might not make ideal gardening, plant earlier here than you would if planting a garden in the southern states and your rewards will be much greater.

Cauliflower and brussels sprouts are long maturing crops, taking anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks to fully develop and produce. Planting late can lead to disappointment Sometimes if waiting well into Winter, they often don’t mature before Spring.

Planting cabbage and broccoli now will allow you to plant 2-3 crops over their growing season providing the home gardener with a continuous supply of produce over an extended period.

With all these brassicas if planted late they will not be maturing until August when the aphides will descend in their thousands, spoiling these vegetables. Planting early you will escape the aphides and often also the cabbage butterfly grubs. Additionally, your plants are less likely to bolt and go to seed.

All these crops are easy to grow with limited preparation and non-strenuous on-going maintenance.

This doesn’t mean you can be lazy as to grow healthy, juicy, sweet crops you need to meet their needs.

Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts all require similar growing conditions. They love a good soil structure with lots of well rotted organic matter blended into the soil. A pre-planting fertiliser should also be blended into the soil prior to planting.

Well rotted cow manure broken down into fine particles or the organic Grow Better or Blood and Bone fertiliser will provide a good basis initially. Ideally fresh cow manure should be composted down prior to introducing into the garden or allowed to mature over many weeks prior to planting.

Over use of rich fresh manure is often resented by many vegetables and can cause stunted growth.

Proof can be found in the many times the home gardener has dug in a trailer load of manure to be disappointed with that seasons crop, only to be rewarded with an excellent second season crop later.   

Don’t be stingy with the water as they hate being stressed. As with most quick growing or large leafy plants these plants, all use considerable water.

Mulch around plants with a soft mulch such as pea straw or lucerne as this will limit water loss through evaporation, moderate soil temperatures and lessen weed growth. 

All these vegetable varieties appreciate regular side-dressing applications of a nitrogen fertiliser, it’s the nitrogen that promotes the leaf growth. A relatively new product on the market called Slow Release Nitrogen will provide long term nitrogen for your leafy crops and produces wonderful results quite quickly.

Using a water soluble liquid fertiliser such as Thrive or Aquasol, or, an organic liquid fertiliser like Seasol, Nitrosol or Charlie Carp or any of the other organic liquid fertilisers available weekly or fortnightly will stimulate strong healthy growth.

Regular feeding and watering as required will promote quick growth and lovely crisp sweet tasty heads.

Cabbages are very adaptable plants and can be grown over a long period. You can make successive plantings delivering a continuous supply over many months. Plant smaller cabbages 40-50cm apart while the larger growing varieties should be at least 60-70cm apart as they can grow to quite a large size.

Three plantings of broccoli, each planting 6 week apart will give you a continuous supply of produce. Unlike cabbage and cauliflower that only produce one head, broccoli once the main head has been harvested will continue to produce smaller but tasty side heads. Plant broccoli 45-60cm apart for best results.

Brussels sprouts take much longer to produce, harvesting generally occurring 4-5 months after planting.  It is thus critical that Brussels sprouts are planted early to ensure they fully fruit before the weather has warmed again.

Several customers claim the best time to harvest and eat brussel sprouts while they half size — they are then oh so sweet!

Cauliflower also take much longer to mature than cabbage and broccoli and need to be planted immediately. Depending on the variety they can take from 16 to 24 weeks to mature.

Cauliflower maturing seems to dependent on the time they are planted but also the weather. Even when planted early sometimes they seem to take forever to mature.

Sometimes planted in February or early March they can be mature ready for harvesting when the show rolls around.

All these vegetables can be sprayed with Dipel, the biological control, if grubs become a problem or can also be dusted with Derris Dust to deter grubs and aphides if they are a problem later in the season.

With Dipel, a very safe biological control that is only harmful to caterpillars and grubs, it needs to be applied every 12-14 days to keep the cabbage moth at bay.

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Recreational fishing is booming in Queensland, so should fishers pay a licence fee?


A rise in the number of boats registered and increased activity at launching sites has been documented since the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions during April 2020.

During the months of April and May, fishing for food was a permitted outdoor activity under strict movement controls designed to prevent any community spread of the virus.

Boat trailer numbers at nine of the 48 sites surveyed by Fisheries Queensland in those months were the highest recorded since data collection began in 2016, including ramps at Yorkeys Knob, Bowen, Mackay, Gladstone, Mooloolaba and Raby Bay.

Registered recreational vessels in the state increased by 9per cent over the 2020 calendar year with 271,561 boats now listed with TMR.

North Queensland seafood retailer Dominic Zaghini said the pandemic had boosted interest in recreational fishing, with yet unknown outcomes for fish stocks.

“With COVID, we had the opportunity to food gather, so many people used it as entertainment to get a fishing rod and go,” he said.

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How to get clients to pay their invoices


It can be quite the tight-rope act: Getting
clients on your side, earning their trust and aligning yourself with their
needs and their challenges. Then, sending an invoice and following up on that
payment request. Perhaps another reminder…until it starts to feel awkward
because the friendly relationship is becoming strained. How can you get clients
to honour their payment commitments while you stay the good guy? Here are five
tips to get clients to their invoices faster.

1. Cultivate a personalised relationship
with your clients

A personalised relationship with your clients
creates a pleasant working atmosphere and helps to ensure you retain your
clients. It also creates the correct environment for accountability. Where
there’s a relationship there’s greater pressure to pay because the client feels
their personal reputation on the line. It also makes it easier to start that
conversation around a payment that’s due.

2. Direct your invoices to the
correct recipient

It sounds obvious, but this is where a
significant hold up can take place. When the invoice arrives in the wrong inbox
it can slowly gather dust there until you start to send reminders. Before you
know it, tensions build up unnecessarily and you find yourself being passed
from department to department before finally reaching the relevant person and
then waiting for your invoice to go through due processes before being approved
and paid. Save time by asking your clients from the beginning for the contact
details of the correct person to handle correspondences around invoices and
payments.

3. Clearly communicate payment terms
when the initial quote is approved

Once you’ve on-boarded a new client and they

approve their initial quote, ensure they sign an agreement that clearly states
your payment terms. Include payment due dates, request any upfront payments
necessary, payment options, as well as discounts or added charges based on
early or late payments. It is imperative that this is clearly written and not
in fine print. During a face-face or telephonic meeting, repeat it verbally to
ensure it is acknowledged, not just on paper for the sake of legality, but make
sure it is understood and consented to. 

4. Simplify your payment methods

Creating a new payment beneficiary or hunting down your banking details can lead to delays in receiving your payments. It’s not because your client doesn’t want to pay you, rather, it is a time-consuming task. Similarly, make sure your invoices are easy to see and understand instantly. Offer a variety of payment methods to make it easier for your clients. A simple payment procedure has proven to be one of the most effective ways to secure timely payment.

5. Outsource a debtors service for
the dirty work

There are fantastic services out there that are similar to a debtor’s service. A monthly premium affords your business a guarantee that the external service-provider will pursue unpaid debts on your behalf and have them settled, legally. Not only does it remove the heavy-lifting and resource-intensive work (like making phone calls), it keeps your brand being the “good guy” because you’re essentially never in a position to make those awkward phone calls requesting payment.

Sonia Gibson, Founding Director, Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants



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Workers from home beware – pay cuts might be the price of freedom



FILE PHOTO: A man works in his kitchen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sassenheim, Netherlands October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

February 18, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Dreaming of working remotely from that cottage in the hills? There is a good chance you will get paid less, according to a survey of human resources executives published on Thursday.

Employees who move to cheaper locations to work permanently from home are also likely to have more limited career prospects, executive search firm Leathwaite said.

Forty-five percent of the 250 human resources executives who took part in the survey said wages and bonuses should be adjusted when people decide to work remotely in areas with a lower cost of living.

People working from home would be competing against a much bigger pool of potential rivals for their job, according to the HR executives, who worked for major listed companies operating in the United States, Britain and Asia.

“A characteristic of the modern workplace will be the increased use of a more competitive, remote-based global talent pool,” Andrew Wallace, managing partner at Leathwaite, said.

Two thirds of the executives surveyed also thought workers would spend between two and three days a week in the office while only 8% predicted a return to five days a week.

Nearly 40% said the maximum number of workers in the office would be half its previous capacity.

Britain’s official statistics office said last week that 36% of working adults were working exclusively from home with the country back under lockdown restrictions.

A separate report published on Thursday by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation showed that 28% of large businesses in Britain were open to filling vacancies with people who did not live close to the office.

A poll of workers commissioned by the REC also found that only half felt British companies were doing a good job at recruiting efficiently.

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)



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Canada vows to be next country to make Facebook pay for news


Canada vowed on Thursday to make Facebook pay for news content, seeking allies in the media battle with tech giants and pledging not to back down if the social media platform shuts off the country’s news as it did in Australia.

Facebook blocked all Australian news content on its service over proposed legislation requiring it and Google to pay fees to Australian publishers for news links.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, in charge of crafting similar legislation to be unveiled in coming months, condemned Facebook’s action and said it would not deter Ottawa.

“Canada is at the forefront of this battle … we are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this,” he told reporters.

Last year, Canadian media organizations warned of a potential market failure without government action. They said the Australian approach would permit publishers to recover $620 million a year. Without action, they warned, Canada would lose 700 print journalism jobs out of 3,100 total.

Guilbeault said Canada could adopt the Australian model, which requires Facebook and Google to reach deals to pay news outlets whose links drive activity on their services, or agree on a price through binding arbitration.

Another option is to follow the example of France, which requires large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content.

“We are working to see which model would be the most appropriate,” he said, adding he spoke last week to his French, Australian, German and Finnish counterparts about working together on ensuring fair compensation for web content.

“I suspect that soon we will have five, 10, 15 countries adopting similar rules … is Facebook going to cut ties with Germany, with France?” he asked, saying that at some point Facebook’s approach would become “totally unsustainable.”

Building a united front

University of Toronto professor Megan Boler, who specializes in social media, said the Facebook action marked a turning point which would require a common international approach.

“We could actually see a coalition, a united front against this monopoly, which could be very powerful,” she said in a phone interview.

This week, Facebook said news makes up less than four per cent of content people see on the platform but contended that it helped Australian publishers generate about $401.1 million last year.

Google has signed 500 deals worth around $1 billion over three years with publishers around the world for its new News Showcase service and is in talks with Canadian companies.

‘Everybody loses’

Guilbeault said Google would still be subject to the new Canadian law, since Ottawa wanted an approach that was fair, transparent and predictable.

“What’s to say that Google — tomorrow, six months, a year from now — doesn’t change its mind and says it doesn’t want to do that any more?” he said.

Lauren Skelly, a spokeswoman for Google in Canada, declined to comment on Guilbeault’s remarks, saying the company did not know details of the legislation.

Michael Geist, the Canada research chair in internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, said Canada should aspire to Google’s approach, where companies put money into content that provided added value.

“If we follow the Australian model … we’ll find [ourselves] in much the same spot,” he said by phone. “Everybody loses. The media organizations lose … Facebook loses.”

Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook in Canada, said there were “other options to support news in Canada that will more fairly benefit publishers of all sizes.”

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Smith hit with $2.1m IPL pay cut



Steve Smith has suffered one of the greatest pay cuts in cricket history with more than $2m stripped from his price tag at the IPL auction while Australian teammates Jhye Richardson and Glenn Maxwell had huge wins.

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Jhye Richardson becomes instant millionaire as Steve Smith cops staggering $2m pay cut in IPL Auction


Steve Smith has taken a massive pay cut in the IPL auction after being the first player sold in the 2021 IPL Auction but Glenn Maxwell has received a big pay rise as Aussie fortunes were mixed in the IPL auction.

But the biggest shock has been the sale of Jhye Richardson with the BBL’s leading wicket taker going for $A2.48m in the auction.

Watch the 2021 IPL Auction Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

After the first three players remained unsold, Smith was thrust into the action early with Ricky Ponting’s Delhi Capitals getting the Aussie star in an absolute steal.

Smith is one of the world’s best batsman and was on a kingly deal with the Rajasthan Royals.

He was the skipper of the side but after finishing in last with six wins and eight losses, Smith was cut from the side.

Smith was on a 12.5 crore deal with Rajasthan last season but Delhi picked him up for just 2.2 crore.

In Australian dollars, he went from being retained at $2.5 million last season to $389,290 with the Capitals.

Smith did score 311 runs but at an average of 25.91, it was easily his worst performance in the tournament as he tallied three 50s in the competition.

It could have been worse however with Aussie skipper Aaron Finch’s horror form catching up with him as he was passed in at the auction.

He scored 268 runs at 22.33 and was dropped during the season for Aussie young gun Josh Phillippe.

But it got much worse when he returned to the BBL as he scored just 179 runs in 13 innings at an average of 13.77.

Finch was in good company with Smith the only batsman to go in the first part of the auction, while six all-rounders were sold.

While it was looking bleak for the Aussies, Glenn Maxwell’s price has gone up from $2.2 million last season with the Kings XI Punjab, to going to Royal Challengers Bangalore for more than $A2.5 million (14.25 crore).

It came after Maxwell scored just 108 runs at 15.4 in 13 matches last season.

But he remains one of the biggest hitters in world cricket.

Maxwell was eager to join the team and the likes of AB de Villiers and Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

“I get along with Virat pretty well. It’ll be certainly nice to work under Virat and will certainly enjoy batting with him – that’s for sure,” Maxwell said.

“It will be awesome to work with him, and he’s always been really helpful to me along the journey. Whenever I’ve caught up with him, he’s been brilliant. So to be able to work with him first hand will be pretty cool.”

It appears his dream has come true.

And then the BBL’s leading wickettaker with 29 wickets, Richardson got a massive pay rise after forcing a bidding war.

It’s a lifechanging result for the Aussie who hadn’t played in the IPL before now.

The 292-player auction is underway with 35 Aussies to come although Smith and Maxwell were the only ones looking for the biggest reserve of 200 lakh or $354,577.

The first part of the auction also saw the biggest ever contract in the IPL’s history with South Africa’s Chris Morris going for 16.25 Crore ($A2.87m).

While it wasn’t as big as Pat Cummins’ $3.2m deal last season but that’s down only to the exchange rate as Cummins went for 15.5 Crore.

PLAYERS SOLD AT AUCTION

Steve Smith (Australia) — Delhi Capitals — 2.2 Crore ($A390k)

Glenn Maxwell (Australia) — Royal Challengers Bangalore — 14.25 Crore ($A2.5m)

Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) — Kolkata Knight Riders — 3.2 Crore ($A567k)

Moeen Ali (England) — Chennai Super Kings — 7 Crore ($A1.24m)

Shivam Dube (India) — Rajasthan Royals — 4.4 Crore ($A779k)

Chris Morris (South Africa) — Rajasthan Royals — 16.25 Crore ($A2.9m)

Dawid Malan (England) — Punjab Kings — 1.5 Crore ($265k)

Adam Milne (New Zealand) — Mumbai Indians — 3.2 Crore ($A567k)

Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) — Rajasthan Royals — 1 Crore ($A177k)

Jhye Richardson (Australia) — Kings XI Punjab — 14 Crore ($A2.5)

Nathan Coulter-Nile (Australia) — Mumbai Indians — 5 Crore ($A885k)

Umesh Yadav (India) — Delhi Capitals — 1 Crore ($A177k)

UNSOLD AUSSIES

Aaron Finch, Alex Carey

AUSTRALIANS LEFT IN THE AUCTION

$265,872 — 150 lakh — Shaun Marsh

$177,248 — 100 lakh — Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Jason Behrendorff, Billy Stanlake, Matthew Wade

$132,936 — 75 lakh — Ben Cutting, Dan Christian, Hilton Cartwright, James Faulkner

$88,656 — 50 lakh — Ben McDermott, Sean Abbott, Joel Paris, Jack Wildermuth

$70,925 — 40 lakh — Riley Meredith, Brendan Doggett, Mark Steketee

$53,193 — 30 lakh — Ben Dwarshuis, Chris Green

$35,462 — 20 lakh — Wes Agar, Josh Inglis, Nathan Ellis, Tanveer Sangha, Max Bryant, Jake Weatherald, Matt Kelly, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Nathan McAndrew

AUSTRALIANS IN THE IPL (Auctioned players in bold)

Steve Smith — Delhi Capitals

Glenn Maxwell — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Jhye Richardson —

Josh Hazlewood — Chennai Super Kings

Marcus Stoinis — Delhi Capitals

Daniel Sams — Delhi Capitals (traded to RCB)

Pat Cummins — Kolkata Knight Riders

Chris Lynn — Mumbai Indians

Andrew Tye — Rajasthan Royals

Josh Philippe — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Adam Zampa — Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kane Richardson — Royal Challengers Bangalore

David Warner — Sunrisers Hyderabad

Mitch Marsh — Sunrisers Hyderabad

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FASTag mandatory from Monday midnight; vehicles sans tag to pay double toll fee


All lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of the fee plaza’ from midnight of 15th/16th Feb 2021

New Delhi: The government on Sunday said it has made FASTags mandatory from February 15 midnight and any vehicle not fitted with it will be charged double the toll at electronic toll plazas across the country. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in a statement said it has decided that all lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of the fee plaza’ from midnight of 15th/16th February 2021.

“Therefore, as per NH Fee Rules 2008, any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without valid, functional FASTag entering into the FASTag lane of the fee plaza shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category,” the statement said.

 

The ministry has clarified that this has been done to further promote fee payment through digital mode, reduce waiting time and fuel consumption, and provide for a seamless passage through the fee plazas.

The ministry had mandated fitment of FASTag in M&N categories of motor vehicles with effect from January 1, 2021.

Category ‘M’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers. And Category ‘N’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry persons in addition to goods.

end-of

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