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Liberal bullying culture is all the way to the top, ScoMo.



The year can’t end quickly enough for the series of cunning stunts masquerading as a Morrison government.

Topping its epic series of diversions, evasions and sensational stuff-ups – and hastening its end, is its curtain call brawl; a spectacular bit of Biffo. Peter Dutton pops up centre stage. He publicly attacks Julia Banks and Malcolm Turnbull. Why? Is the public brawling an orchestrated show of disunity; another stunt? Or is Dutto making his run?

Labor’s Amanda Rishworth ponders whether the comments are sanctioned by ScoMo or merely Dutto freelancing.

Who would know? Sean Kelly in The Monthly writes a detailed and persuasive case for considering the cagey and evasive Morrison our invisible Prime Minister who has developed techniques to erase himself from the frame.

Events occur, but Morrison’s involvement is passive, tangential, almost accidental. He may be the minister, but he is not an instigator, only a vessel through which others’ bidding is done. If you are Scott Morrison, it is even possible to become prime minister without any agency on your part. And, today, it is Dutton who takes the blame.

Liberal MPs “left” and right are unimpressed, calling the attack “selfish” and “arrogant” according to Rick Morton in The Australian . Off-record, one generously calls Peter Dutton “fucking dumb” for bagging Julia Banks.

Liberal MPs “lament the last chance at a reset” according to Amy Remeikis In The Guardian. That’s impossible. No-one admits this government was never “set” in the first place. It is a remarkable series of policy collapses informed only by expediency, the ruthlessly cynical pragmatism encompassed by the Trumpian phrase “whatever works”.

Another accuses Dutton of reminding voters “why they are sick of us.” This, too, taps into the fatuous narrative that the government would be a runaway success if only it could stop talking about itself and get its message out. It’s all a matter of communication. Abbott echoed the same nonsense.

A series of respectable national opinion polls show voters get the message all right and they don’t like it – especially on social welfare, the effective cap on wage growth, environment and energy, kids on Nauru.

The glib dismissals also indirectly serve to highlight the poverty at the heart of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government. There are few policies or practical achievements to celebrate unless we’re suddenly in love with a data encryption bill rushed through on the last day of parliament which experts say is unnecessary, unworkable and a risk to our personal and national security.

What is clear is that the Coalition is tearing itself apart. A March election date firms as its least worst option.

Will Dutto be checked by a ScoMo™ show? Many PM performances self-abort. Nothing, however, will ever top the PM Poppadom’s Curry, a dazzling image and brilliantly-timed injection of esprit de corps in his recent secret dash to Iraq to inspire our soldiers and the nation – (PM-troop pep talks are traditionally for domestic consumption).

Our army is like a curry? Morrison is a poppadom? Food for thought. As with most things Morrison, it gets worse.

“I’m here to be part of the great collaborative curry by association despite having not contributed to the mix of flavours in any way. The alternative is potato though.”

No Australian Prime Minister has ever presented himself in this way. The troops stare at him in stunned disbelief. Or are they just relieved that a PM who can send them to war, with the backing of a servile cabinet, is not Dutton?

Only ScoMo™ could try to persuade anyone that the ADF has a “collaborative culture”. Least of all members of a ranked, class-conscious ADF. Officers eat after their troops. Yearn to be called ‘boss’. Yet it’s complex. Officers shun tattoos and choose their personal car carefully, lest they be labelled as having ‘other rank tendencies’.

We have around four thousand war memorials in Australia. None depicts an officer. Or a poppadom. Or a potato.

Morrison stuns the troops into silence by his riff. “And I see myself as the poppadom, bland and uninteresting by myself, unpalatable really”. Shire genius, ScoMo, plumbs new depths of faux self-abasement. Fools no-one.

But he does get the “unpalatable” right, if only where his own, emetic, political self is concerned. Who can forget when, in 2014, he accused Save The Children advocates of coaching refugee children on Nauru in self-harm?

“Making false claims, and worse, allegedly coaching self-harm and using children in protests is unacceptable.”

“Bland uninteresting and unpalatable?” Now, that’s sure to win hearts and minds as much as it will outrage Australia’s many poppadom aficionados. Nothing tops a public display of incompetence quite like false humility. No wonder, Dutton sees his main chance. ScoMo™’s pose as a hopeless liability is a national embarrassment.

Time to kick a few goals, Dutton decides. Or heads. He’s on a hiding to nothing in Dixon as things stand.

When the going gets tough, the tough go for the vulnerable. Dutton bags Banks and Turnbull for their treachery.

Of course it’s the victims’ fault, especially Julia Banks. The MP for Chisholm is in the gun for everything she’s said and done since calling the Liberals a pack of “heartless bullies”, in a “party riven by personal ego trips” where MPs bully and intimidate to get their way in last week’s Women’s Weekly. And then there’s Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull is the political pantomime villain Libs love to hate. Now, as everything goes on to hell in a handbasket, Dutto, at least, has a chance to let rip. The 2016 election fiasco? The loss of Wentworth? All those dud Newspolls? Turnbull’s to blame for everything. Above all, he is to blame for being Malcolm – not just a leftie but a dud.

“Malcolm had a plan to become Prime Minister but no plan to be Prime Minister,” snipes Dutton. Dutto’s own plan to be PM failed spectacularly when his numbers man, Finance Minister Matt (Turncoat) Cormann couldn’t count any better than Dutto – but in postmodern, Trumpian politics – hypocrisy is the new moral high ground.

Legalists triumph in such times. Note, Dutton never said he himself had no plan to be PM. As for becoming PM, what we are witnessing, may, in fact, be his own run-up to toppling a PM who sees himself as a poppadom.

Peter “dog-whistle” Dutton chooses Sunday to join Andrew Bolt in the bully pulpit, our national media, a one stop shop for consumers of “the national conversation” or everything you need to be told on politics, dominated by ex-pat Rupert Murdoch with the generous assistance of the Australian tax-payer and the Australian government.

Bolt and Dutton’s bullying of Banks is a concerted, public attack on the MP’s credibility and integrity. Or what’s left of it. Banks massively damaged her own credibility, herself, with her claim in May that she could live on $40 a day, effectively actively supporting Coalition bullying and intimidation of job-seekers on Newstart.

Labor clearly agrees. Despite its recent national convocation and Shorten’s sermon on the Torrens, in its carefully stage-managed national conference, all it will commit to is a “root and branch review” of Newstart payments. Be its cause political timidity, or neoliberal thinking, the result is to vitiate its historical commitment to welfare.

Surely the party whose Curtin government created unemployment benefits in 1943 and who made the first payments in 1945 would do well to heed its current obligation. Or reflect on Ben Chifley’s 1946 observation.

I cannot forget how miserable those hundreds of thousands of men must have felt when they went back each night to their families after tramping the streets all day in search of work.

Unemployment averaged 2% in 1946. Last month, pollster Roy Morgan, who bases his figures on gainful employment rather than one hour’s work a week, calculates that, “in total 2,333,000 Australians (17.2% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in November, a decrease of 61,000 in a year (down 1%).

But Dutto’s detonation is a spectacular diversion, especially to Morrison, who is now even losing the seniors’ approval in the latest Newspoll. Now, 45% of voters over 50 are dissatisfied with his performance, according to the poll – a drop of ten percent from the only group to show approval when he knifed Malcolm Turnbull in August.

Public infighting beats backstabbing. It is so much more cathartic. But will it prove politically useful, to either combatants or their party? Some insiders believe Dutton’s latest stunt is carefully orchestrated; stage-managed.

For former PM Kevin07™, it is simply a case of Rupert Murdoch putting his pet candidate forward. He tweets.

Wonderful to see the Murdoch boys at work in all Sunday papers in a nation-wide puff-piece on their poster boy Dutton. The man who boycotted the Apology to appeal to racists. And was supposed to be Murdoch’s man in the Lodge. Now they’re trying to rehabilitate him & save his seat.”

Is Dutton a stalking horse for Abbott? The Home Affairs Minister dismisses the question; preferring to set and answer one of his own. No. Nor is he making the running for any right wing “bible-basher”.

Banks, a staunch Turnbull loyalist, is not Dutton’s only victim. He savages his ex-boss but includes the odd compliment. Turnbull is “incompetent and spiteful” yet a “gracious and charming man” who “doesn’t have a political bone in his body”, Dutto generously tells the Brisbane’s Sunday Mail. Others also have knives to twist.

Banks’ eloquent, revealing account of how she was driven out of the party by the way she was bullied during the Morrison leadership coup last August appears in this week’s Women’s Weekly. Her story reveals Liberal bullying

Adding to the distraction, former Liberal MP, Julia Banks tells The Women’s Weekly how the “bullying” and “madness” at the heart of the Morrison government caused her to cross the floor to become an Independent. She gives a damaging account, moreover, of how the right-wing “reactionaries” seized control. She names names.

“It was all driven from Tony Abbott’s opposition,” explains Julia. “Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt – that whole program to knife Malcolm was driven by and led by them.”

Top Gun, Peter (Dog-whistle) Dutton, is scrambled. In a trademark deflection, he puts the boot into Labor. Again. (After all, his Great African Gang crisis of 2018 worked so well for his Victorian colleagues.)

“Under Labor, terrorists couldn’t be strip­ped of their citizenship. This government has now stripped Aust­ralian citizenship from 12, and our country is safer as a result.”

Both demean the Turnbull supporter, now an independent, by accusing her of lying out of self-interest.

“It just didn’t happen and it has been used by Julia as an excuse to leave the party because she was upset about Malcolm losing the leadership and her not being promoted to the Ministry under Scott.

It is pure and simple a case of sour grapes and it deserves to be called out. We need more women in politics but to suggest we have a bullying problem is ridiculous.”

Dutton inadvertently, reveals the very misogyny, bullying and intimidation, from reactionaries, that Banks and other women MPs claim is entrenched in Liberal party and federal Coalition culture.

Banks is moved by Dutton’s allegations to retweeting (off the record) a cabinet minister’s view that the Queensland MP is “just an egotistical moron who lacks self-awareness”.

Luckily, other scapegoating stunts are available to ScoMo’s government. A Home Affairs Minister can do a lot these days, especially after the data encryption bill was rushed through parliament on its last sitting day.

Bernard Keane warns that, “The encryption laws, designed to target terrorism, could allow security agencies to trick suspects into giving up access to their private messages, effectively robbing them of the privilege against self-incrimination, and also give law enforcement the ability to circumvent the need to obtain a warrant.”

Keane also quotes President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Pauline Wright’s concern. “There’s been a massive amount of legislation passed that prior to then would have been unthinkable. There have been incursions into freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of movement, right to protest, all basic legal rights that underpin our democracy”.

Wright maintains that we now have more national security laws and harsher laws than any other western nations.

Neil Prakash, the nation’s star ISIS recruit, is stripped of his Australian citizenship this week by Dutton. Because he can. Because the Morrison government desperately needs a diversion from Broadgate. How could ScoMo™ not have been told by his own department of the scandal surrounding Andrew Broad, MP for Mallee over his alleged use of a dating website dating to seek out a sugar baby? It beggars belief.

“Broadgate” is the noxious miasma emanating from ScoMo™’s office after its incredible claim it knew early in December of Andrew Broad’s alleged attempted philandering but kept mum about the sugar daddy with their boss, the Prime Minister of Australia. For two whole weeks.

Incredible? “A long stretch” says Anthony Albanese, but, if true, evidence of the Morrison government’s acute dysfunction. Perhaps they didn’t want to over-tax ScoMo™. After all, he’s got an image makeover. Gone are the rimless spectacles and the suburban dad gear. Pictured talking to the Iraqi PM. ScoMo’s sports a look upgrade; new, open-necked shirt and pants – RM Williams boots, even, in Iraq. So much more like Malcolm’s wardrobe.

Of course, it may be that ScoMo™’s deputy PM, “Major Malfunction” Michael McCormack, ineffectual even in a token role, felt he needed to “support” Broad, if not collude with him, to curry favour with his right-wing critics.

The Nationals party room which Joyce created give Macca stick for not being Barnaby. It’s not looking good for the deputy PM, who, as Paddy Manning notes, “is being circled by a miraculously rehabilitated Barnaby Joyce”.

Today, The Courier-Mail reports that he has a “target on his back” as colleagues accused him of hiding Broad’s “sugar babe” scandal to protect himself from being rolled.

The year ends with a government at war with itself. Revealed also explicitly and implicitly is the entrenched bullying culture in the Liberal Party that Scott Morrison promised he would set up a review to deal with.

Those who have any doubts as to why progress has been glacial, need only read Julia Banks’ account. This taken together with Peter Dutton’s recent attack on Banks and Turnbull – implicitly condoned by ScoMo -suggest that the culture of bullying in the current parliamentary Liberal Party reaches all the way to the top.

Dutton’s recent bullying of Banks and Turnbull confirms that Morrison is either without judgement or authority. Or both. It is inexcusable and will accelerate the Liberal party’s electoral decline; impede its election preparations. The fish rots from the head down.


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  1. Shaun Newman

    David, I wish your excellent articles were written on the weekend when the audience is much larger than during the week.

  2. Phil

    LNP – a truly vile political coalition that has no legitimate place in Australian politics.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Kelly O’Dwyer said she’d had a number of conversations with male and female MPs and it was clear that people were subject to “threats, intimidation and bullying”.

    O’Dwyer said there were people within the Liberal party organisation that had “tried” to bully and intimidate her on occasion.

    She said she had been “a little bit disgusted” by some of the commentary in recent days directed at women in the Liberal party to toughen up, or implications that women were being snowflakes or princesses.

    At the height of the chaos, the Western Australian Liberal Linda Reynolds told the Senate chamber she was “distressed and disturbed” by the some of the backroom behaviour.

    “I’m working with that internally in my party with my party organisation” Scott Morrison said. “We will absolutely deal with this issue as a party, as colleagues, and I have no truck with bullying whether it’s in a classroom, whether it’s in a workplace, or with a broadcaster”.


  4. David Tyler

    Great references, thank you, Kaye. Especially that last quotation. You know I was looking for that and somehow got waylaid. All Morrison’s false promises to deal with the bullying in reality are probably expressed in Peter Dutton’s dismissal of Julia Banks testimony. It just didn’t happen. Echoes of the treatment suffered by so many women when their testimony about sexual assault is just brushed aside. Did not want to make this too lengthy but clearly Michael Kroger – of Dollar Sweets notoriety, historically, is worth a bit of scrutiny, too – some parallels with the way he’s courted the evangelical right wingers, originally wooed by John Howard as you know.

  5. Shaun Newman

    Bullying is part and parcel of a religious fanatic’s arsenal especially cults like the Australian Branch of the USNA assembly of God cult. Hillsong, Calvary and a host of other aliases that these zealots go by. their founder was reportedly a pedophile and they had a place in the Royal Commission on Child Abuse in Institutions as well. Slow Mo tries to portray a wholesome imagige, but the Australian public is not falling for it, to their credit.

  6. whatever

    God knows what form of brainwash-cult dynamic is turning ABC Radio into a relentlessly ‘folksy’ community hub for OneNation stereotypes, but it is very OBVIOUS.

  7. DIANE Larsen

    David great read as usual and on point. I hope we get the March election, the sooner this lying incompetent rabble are gone the better for this country and at least 20 years in the wilderness to give us a chance to get back to a more equitable society.

  8. Rhonda

    I share Vikingduk’s sentiments

  9. helvityni

    I put some potatoes in my curries…always good…

    I don’t know if Scomo’s curry is improved by adding a potato into it…?

  10. 245179

    @ H…..scomo picked “that” potato up, but allas it was rotten to the core

  11. Kyran

    “Dutton’s recent bullying of Banks and Turnbull confirms that Morrison is either without judgement or authority. Or both.”
    If you will pardon my impertinence, ‘Close, but no cigar Mr Tyler’. The man is stupid. Unbelievably, undeniably stupid.
    His alleged expertise, marketing, has one base rule – Never believe your own bullshit. This fool seems to diet on bovine excrement.
    He really believes that, if a question is not to his liking, he is under no obligation to countenance either the question or the prospect of answering it. Trying to articulate or enunciate why Malcolm had to go was beyond this fools ability, so he simply ignored the question, lest he let slip his own craven mindless ambition – devoid of any merit, let alone saving graces. Yesterday, his bully boy buffoon, Dutton, was being decried for ‘disrupting the carefully engineered reset’ by a compliant, complicit media.


    The comments section tells a different story. Some of them are hilarious. Then comes today’s ‘reset’ from the fool. Because the calendar has turned over, everything that happened yesterday was last year, and should therefore be relegated to the confines of history. The tenor of the article suggests there is some merit to the ploy and that Bill Shorten is merely being unkind in suggesting it is not going to be forgotten that quickly.


    Again, the comments section suggest that Rebel will likely have a bumper year predicated on nothing more than the sale of cricket and baseball bats.
    He is ignoring that there can be no reset. How can you reset that which was never set? Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison, the emperors sans clothes, don’t seem to understand that it is not merely a child in the crowd recognising their ugly naked visage. The policies put on life support in 2014 have long since passed away. The attempted resurrection nearly lost them, a first term government, the 2016 DD election.
    Judgement and authority are the least of his concerns.
    Thank you Mr Tyler and commenters. Happy New Year? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Take care

    PS I too agree with Vikingduk’s sentiment. I also admire his restraint.

    PPS Having found myself in a new electorate for the Victorian polls, it came as no surprise that the federal incumbent would receive notification of the change and utilise the ‘postal allowance’ to welcome me to the area. And so it was, the letter from Kelly O’Dwyer was received with a fridge magnet. It is a sign of their ‘parallel universe’ that it is not a calendar, or a ‘Be alert, Be alarmed’ top up on their excrement. It was a handy list of ‘Emergency Contacts’. SES, Poisons Information Centre, Lifeline, Police stations, Crime Stoppers, SCAMwatch, hospitals and various ‘help-lines’. As best as I can figure it, of the 18 entries, the federal government only partially finances a few of them. Without exception, they have decreased the funding. Yeah, Nah, no sale O’Dwyer.

  12. Michael Taylor

    And now for what will be the worst joke of the year …

    Mr Potato Head used time be a peeler. Yes, he was a potato peeler! 🤮

    (In the old days in England, cops were known as “peelers” – after Robert Peel, who formed the first police force. Now they are referred to as “bobbies” – after Robert).

  13. Kaye Lee


    Lucy Wicks sent me a hand written Xmas card saying “If I can be of any assistance to you, let me know.”

    I am considering sending back a sympathy card saying she probably needs more help than me and pointing out that, in future, I would rather she contacted me by email rather than me having to pay for my own card and if she really cared about my opinion she could unblock me from her facebook page.

  14. Vikingduk

    Zurich-based reinsurance company, Swiss Re, say natural disasters for 2018 cost around $220 billion. Scientists warned us, as time went on, that larger more destructive disasters would be our new normal. It would seem we have arrived and yet we are still being well and truly f#cked over by a gang of traitorous criminals served up to us in daily helpings by a pathetically corrupt media.

    The many scientists and institutions involved in bringing us these warnings are not on some egotistical wank, they are attempting to wake us the f#ck up. If ever a revolution was needed it is now. The future of this planet and all its life forms are in imminent danger. Not a lot of wriggle room left till we hit the point of no return.

    The perverted effwits, the wilfully ignorant, the greedy lying pedlars of misinformation have had their day, it is time we woke the f#ck up, realise that we were meant to be the caretakers, the responsible adults for this most magnificent planet. Think about your children, your grand children and all the other life forms. This is what we betray and allow to happen.

    Supposedly we live in a democracy with our elected representatives voted in so they can continue on in their vileness and hate and greed and lies and hypocracy, snouts in the trough, all mine they say, praise the lord and f#ck the refugees, the poor, the powerless, f#ck the lot of you that aren’t us.

  15. Lawrence Winder

    As even the self obsessed IPA sandpit crew begin to snarl at critics and Potato-Head Dutton looks in a mirror and maligns Truffles for being politically inept, my oldest near relative (96) who has voted Liberal all of his life, bar once..’72, admitted to me t’other day he had voted for Andrews in Vic., as in all conscience he couldn’t give Lobster-Mobster-Man or his happy clappers his vote and declared that the federal examples of this party were nothing more than a rabble.
    I was happy that he called them that, as I have been labeling them “The Ruling Rabble” since 2013 and it was nice to see “rusted-on” voters like him are seeing what a gross misinterpretation of “liberalism” this rabble are…. He demurred when I opined that that they could all burn in hell…if it existed.

  16. helvityni

    Lawrence Winder, well for many people the life here on earth is starting to resemble a hell, that bad place were us naughty children were supposedly going to be sent to be burnt alive. according to our charming Sunday school teacher….

    ( we did not believe her and thought that if the place existed , SHE was the one who would end up there)

  17. Kyran

    Likewise, Ms Lee, I’ve been weighing up the options. Mind you, none of the literature was handwritten. The absence of crayon was a dead giveaway. My initial reaction was to return it with some suggestions as to what I considered appropriate usage for such abuse of ‘taxpayer funded’ largesse. Many suggestions would likely require surgical remedy, given the depth of the suggested insertion. The practicality of having to enclose instructions and diagrams rendered such thoughts moot, as more paper would be required.
    I also considered asking her ever so politely (a la Vikingduk) why consideration is not given to removing the ‘political’ exemptions from Consumer Law with regard to false, misleading and deceptive conduct, which the fridge magnet is clearly a breach of. Again, the need to explain outweighed any possible benefit.
    Maybe a sympathy card is the way to go. It would, obviously, be blank.
    Vikingduk, the re-insurance market has been factoring in climate change to their actuarial tables since the 80’s. Insurance companies back then reinsured less than they do now. Given the exponential growth in ‘once in a lifetime’ incidents, which now occur every decade or so, local insurers are reinsuring more. Most domestic insurers have been factoring in what used to be called ‘act of god’ incidents since the mid to late 90’s. Insurers, globally, have been warning of ‘uninsurable risks’ for more than a decade, given the damage caused by ‘natural events’ is no longer an unforeseen or unexpected occurrence.
    My apologies for the digression Mr Tyler. Take care

  18. RomeoCharlie29

    I may be a bit off base here but I am not sure Morrison actually cares too much about winning the election after all won’t his mercifully brief tenure still entitle him to the perks assured all former PM’s? He may have missed out on the exceedingly generous retirement benefits some remaining oldsters will get ( I can’t say deserve, or even ‘earned’) but he will still roll into a comfortable post politics life at a young enough age to get another career going. The question really might be “who would want/have him?”.

  19. New England Cocky

    “Paddy Manning notes, McCormack after colluding with Broad to suppress/censor the recent scandal, “is being circled by a miraculously rehabilitated Barnaby Joyce”.”

    Now could an ordinary person on a Bondi bus reasonably conclude that the difference between Barnyard Joke and A “Sugar Baby” Broad is the weight of political donations each can bring to the unelected political hacks of the National$ Party who control pre-selection from their air-conditioned metropolitan offices?

    Barnyard is the pet politician of Aunty Gina who gave $50,000 of properly documented political donations to his 2016 campaign, and a public “gift” of $40,000 to offset the loss of income during the pre-Kiwi bye-election because he was “a good bloke”. Very embarrassing to have to return that sort of drinking money lest it be seen as a public bribe of a politician by a corporate miner and so NOT “pass the pub test”.

    Yet the women of Tamworth seem prepared to accept that the “National$ Family Values” of Adultery, Alcoholism, Avarice, Bigotry, Bullying, Hypocrisy, Misogyny, Philandering and Racism are acceptable in a 21st century world. Could Tamworth be the “Adultery Capital of Australia”? Certainly local knowledge suggests that the practice runs deep among the National$ membership which has a history of “a bit of brown sugar after the pub” and a favourite sport of “jumping the blanket” among the landed squattocracy.

    Then Scat Morriscum as a “poppadom”? Certainly light and flaky, but lacking the taste of the Australian voting public.

    As for Benito Duddo, perhaps he is planning “the least worst option of a March” Liarbral leadership election before a snap May Double Dissolution election to cement his place in Australian political history.

    Napoleon observed, “Never disturb your enemy when he is making mistakes”.

    A political skeptic could reasonably conclude that present day COALition politicians are controlled by multi-millionaires playing games with the Australian voting public as a smoke-screen for their own private wealth making with no regard what-so-ever for the common wealth of the Australian people.

    Curtin and Chifley must be rolling over in their graves in disgust.

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