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Remind me why we got rid of carbon pricing?

We all know that the Coalition’s dire predictions about the introduction of the carbon tax proved false – Whyalla was not wiped off the map and lamb roasts did not cost $100.

We now know that Greg Hunt was wrong in saying that the carbon tax would do nothing to reduce emissions. Carbon emissions declined across Australia by 1.4 per cent in the second year, compared with a decline of 0.8 per cent in the first year.

Matthias Cormann jumped to attribute the drop in emissions to lower growth.

“Over the past two years the economy has grown below trend, and below trend growth means that emissions will be lower than they otherwise would have been.”

There may be some truth in that but I thought getting rid of the carbon tax was supposed to “help small business and restore confidence to the economy.”

And the Coalition has been governing for 75% of those last two years.

In December, the NAB changed its forecast after much weaker than expected gross domestic product figures for the September quarter and a larger than anticipated slump in Australia’s terms of trade, which compares the prices received for exports with those paid for imports.

I thought removing the carbon tax was supposed to make our exports more competitive and hence improve our terms of trade.

The Liberal Party website made a number of claims and promises regarding the repeal of the carbon tax. My comments are in italics.

“The carbon tax has meant:

  • a $9 billion a year new tax;

Paid by polluters into the common wealth

  • a 10 per cent hike in electricity bills in the first year alone;

Over the past five years the average Australian household’s electricity bill has risen by 70 per cent.

  • a 9 per cent per cent hike in gas bills in the first year alone;

Average households in most major cities can expect gas bills to soar by hundreds of dollars a year as prices surge amid an emerging export industry

  • higher marginal tax rates for low and middle income earners.

And an increase in the tax free threshold from $6000 to $18,200 making them much better off and relieving many low income earners from having to fill in a tax return

If Labor is re-elected, Australians will still be paying more – a total of over $3,000 for the average family over the six years to mid‑2020, on top of $545 this year.

As we were moving to a floating price this purposely ignores up-to-date information on EU carbon prices.

The Coalition will not let the carbon tax destroy Australian industry and Australian jobs. The carbon tax is an act of economic self-harm that unnecessarily adds to the cost of living.

NAB has slashed its growth forecast for the current financial year from 2.9 to 2.5 per cent, and also trimmed its 2015-16 forecast to 3 per cent.

It is also expecting a higher peak in unemployment at 6.75 per cent, which would be a considerable rise from the current rate of 6.2 per cent.

NAB’s November Monthly Business Survey showed that confidence slipped from +5 to +1, while conditions dropped from a very high +13 to +5, giving up most of a steep rise in October.

Measures of trading, profitability, employment and stocks also went backwards, while forward orders and exports remained steady.

Business confidence declined as well, and is now at its lowest level since the pre-election jump in mid-2013.

Mining has the lowest trend confidence (-12) by a significant margin.

The Coalition will keep the current income tax thresholds and the current pension and benefit fortnightly rates while scrapping the carbon tax.

This means that Australian workers, families and pensioners will keep the tax cuts and fortnightly pension and benefit increases provided in Labor’s carbon tax package, but without the carbon tax.

As a result these tax cuts and fortnightly benefit increases will become genuine cost of living relief, worth around $4 billion a year, rather than partial compensation for Labor’s damaging carbon tax hit.

No change to pensions?

But under Kevin Rudd’s minor tweaking, the carbon tax will still be a $58 billion tax through to 2020 instead of a $64 billion tax.

Lost revenue

Electricity is not a luxury – it is an essential part of daily life. If the Rudd-Gillard Government was even half sincere about taking the pressure off electricity, gas and other utility prices it would start by scrapping its carbon tax.

Or we could scrap the GST on this essential item?

They included the ubiquitous table telling us how we would be better off when the carbon tax was removed.

Impact on families: More than $3,000 better off

The federal government delivered its May budget fully aware its spending cuts would hit poorer households much harder than wealthier ones

The Treasury analysis of the budget reveals the spending cuts cost an average of $842 a year for lower income households, while the average high income family lost just $71. Middle income families were down $477.

This does not include the abandoning of the superannuation guarantee increase or possible GP co-payments.

Electricity prices: 10 per cent lower

The effect on prices has varied from state to state. In Queensland, electricity bills for typical customers supplied under most tariffs will still increase even though the carbon tax has been removed.

Gas prices: 9 per cent lower

In Melbourne, where 90 per cent of homes use gas for all their cooking, hot water and heating, an average bill could rise be as much as $435 a year. High gas users in Sydney will face an increase of about $225, while high users in Adelaide will pay an extra $200 a year.

Cost to make an Australian-made car: Up to $400 cheaper

Except we no longer have Australian made cars

Impact on aluminium production: 61 per cent higher

In February, Alcoa announced that it was closing its Point Henry aluminium smelter and two rolling mills, costing a total of 980 jobs. The smelter will cut Alcoa’s aluminium output by 190,000 tonnes.

It follows the closure earlier of the Kurri Kurri smelter which was located in the Hunter valley, in NSW.

Impact on coal production: 17 per cent higher

Coal prices declined steadily in the first months of 2014 in response to a combination of in-creased supply and lower import demand from China.

Australian Mining estimates that more than 2500 jobs in the coal sector were cut as mining companies either downsized their operations or shut them down completely.

Impact on steel and iron production: 21 per cent higher

In a consistent slide since December 4, 2013, the benchmark iron ore price has fallen 41 per cent to reach the point where several of Australia’s junior exporters are barely break-even propositions.

The recent corporate reporting season was littered with companies that named weakness in the mining sector as a factor in their own underperformance.

The trend went far beyond the traditional mining services crowd and was seen in airlines, media publishers and even clothing manufacturers who have noticed demand for their workwear products to be lower than in the past.

Billions of taxpayer dollars spent on foreign carbon credits: No

Direct Action is so inefficient that if we used it to meet targets similar to the US, the cost would be $30 billion a year.

Australia’s carbon emissions: Down

NEM demand for electricity stopped falling; total demand in both July and August 2014 was higher than in the corresponding months in 2013, the first time this has happened in two consecutive months since 2010. This was equivalent to an increase in emissions of 0.8 per cent.

Your cost of living: Lower

In the September quarter 2014, the first quarter after the repeal of the carbon tax, the living costs of pensioner and beneficiary households (PBLCI) rose 0.2%. Over the same period, the living costs of self-funded retiree households rose 0.5%, employee households rose 0.4%, other government transfer recipient households rose 0.3% and age pensioner households rose 0.1%.


Meanwhile, away from Abbottmania…

  • In October, the Climate Performance Leadership Index found that companies that anticipate climate change risks outperform the market on average by almost 10%
  • In November, 350 investors worth over US$24 trillion signed the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change. Over 73 countries and 1,000 businesses also spoke out in support of a price on carbon. Hundreds of world’s major companies & investment firms have agreed that a charge for GHG damage to the environment is necessary
  • Singapore Exchange is now mandating all listed companies to publish sustainability reports.

Finally, on the local good news front, Tasmanian salmon producer Tassal achieved a world first with WWF sustainability certification in November. And Westpac was rated the highest ranked bank globally on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Most Sustainable Corporation in the World. Westpac also increased the proportion of women in leadership roles to 44%


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  1. Miriam English

    Yeah, I read about Westpac being awarded “Most Sustainable Corporation”. This strikes me as weird for a company that invests heavily in fossil fuels. When I looked at the other contenders for that award I kinda got the feeling it amounted to a “Best of the Worst” award. No solar or wind power or horticultural companies, just bankster , mining, advertising, and makeup companies — those who are concerned with looking good without having to actually do much genuine improvement.

  2. Pappinbarra Fox

    The sad thing is that the coo unity at large will need to be constantly reminded of these holes in the lamp logic right up to the next election.

  3. John Fraser


    Abbotts 3 word slogan for 2015 …… "Recession twenty fifteen".

  4. O'Bleak

    Contrary to Cormann, I fail to see how an economy that’s growing could be producing less carbon even if it grows at a slower rate. Surely for reduction to occur there have to be other factors at play. He’s talking bullshit. Isn’t it perfectly obvious that the population has been fed a line of falsehoods and assumptions dressed as gospel and decided to chance giving Abbott a crack at government. I do not think it will happen again. These boofheads craved power to such a degree that having acquired it they have behaved with an ideological fanaticism born of arrogance and ego that only the most banal observer could fail to appreciate. They believe the under-privileged deserve their troubles and the privileged deserve their wealth and power. They are blind to any form of social obligation on the part of those who take the greatest share and enjoy the benefits of the greatest wealth. They will learn I believe and to their cost that the majority of Australians do believe in a fair go and it’s not just some cheap platitude for a politician to use to piss in your pocket. Australia is greater than these grubs will ever understand.

  5. Michael Taylor

    John, how about “Year of lifting”?

  6. Kaye Lee

    Australians tend to be naïve and trusting. But they also dislike bullshit.

    Tony did a lot of promising to get himself elected. Now we can see there was absolutely no substance behind his promises, no thought of public service or the common good, no thought of being a responsible global citizen, no thought of protection for the vulnerable or from corporate rapaciousness, no thought for the future – just personal ambition, naked greed, cronyism, nepotism, and reward for donors.

  7. Ricardo29

    Nailed it again Kaye Lee. Better keep wearing those Jammies, working well.

  8. eli nes

    the minister for women made the sacrifice of carbon pricing to help women with the budget as long as they don’t tell their husbands about the $500 abbott gave them.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Get back to the housework and look pretty while you do it wench! And stop your bitching and moaning (Julie said so)

    Tony Abbott: “While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework ”

    Christopher Pyne: “Now, women are well-represented amongst the teaching and nursing students. They will not be able to earn the high incomes that say dentists or lawyers will earn, and vice chancellors in framing their fees, their fee structure, will take that into account. Therefore the debts of teachers and nurses will be lower than the debts, for example, of lawyers and dentists.”

    Tony Abbott: “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”

    What do you do when your dishwasher stops working?

    Slap the bitch

  10. Jexpat

    Where’s my $550?

  11. stephentardrew

    Force Australians in to higher and higher levels of debt just to feed the rent seekers. Real estate is a ponzy scheme. Hit the poor while gifting the one percent. Drive the economy into recession by reducing employment and thus undermining spending power with the goal of reducing wages and conditions. You would have to be a fool not to realize that austerity is a recipe for recession. These idiots know exactly what they are doing and no amount of rational criticism will get in the way of their virulent dislike of workers and their rights. They were going to hive off money into schemes like the Health Fund only to return it in tax reductions for the middle and upper middle class. What a scam. As usual take from the poor to give to the rich.

    Global warming is just a fly in the ointment that needs to be deflected by any means possible. However if it is possible to hive off more profits to their rich mates they will certainly charge us for mitigation and let off the oligarchs which is exactly what they are doing.

    All up they don’t want us to pay off our debts and that is why they keep piling more and more costs upon us. They really do want debt servitude, endless rent seeking and working class serfdom.

    I don’t think they give a damn if we are in deficit or surplus since all they are interested in is wealth creation and power for the one percent.

  12. Kaye Lee

    There is an article in The Australian about how the super rich have benefitted from the sale of Medibank private. (it’s paywalled)

    Super rich piled into Medibank.

    SOME of Australia’s richest people, including billionaires Gerry Harvey and Andrew Forrest as well as Melbourne’s super-rich Besen family, have snared large holdings in Medibank Private, dwarfing the allocations granted to the mum and dad shareholders.

    A cavalcade of Australia’s high net worth investors have taken up holdings in the company, including Visy boss Anthony Pratt, gaming mogul James Packer and members of the wealthy Smorgon and Liberman families.

    While their respective holdings are not huge in the scale of the $5.7 billion monster float (the highest holding by a rich-lister is just 201,000 shares) it raises questions about whether the process treated all retail shareholders equally.

  13. Keitha Granville

    “it raises questions about whether the process treated all retail shareholders equally.” hahahahaha – roflmao. Fairness ? Equality ? You are talking about the LNP government here so what are the chances.

  14. Kaye Lee

    in 2014, Australia truly embraced a new national pastime: gleefully watching on as Prime Minister Tony Abbott careered from one hideous moment of failure to another, like some kind of big-eared runaway train that is also on fire and hates poor people. Whether it was dire polling, policy failures, car-crash interviews, embarrassing moments in international diplomacy or just weird stuff he does with his face, Australians really, really, really love ripping on the guy. Tony Abbott schadenfreude, or Abbottfreude, is our new national sport.


  15. Peter

    ah well, fools gold for a fool country

  16. Möbius Ecko

    Right on queue just saw Abbott making a New Year’s announcement that his government has listened and the “change starts now”. That’s right, he started his change with a three word slogan, the irony of that won’t be lost on many.

    All of a sudden he’s found millions more he can spend on those most in need whilst still coming down on those most in need. But from the short piece I saw the money seems to be nothing more than electioneering bribes. That he’s doing this so early in a term and well out from an election year says a lot about how much trouble he and his government are in.

  17. Kaye Lee

    “RIGHT around the world, Australia is seen as a beacon of hope and opportunity. To be an Australian is to have won the lottery of life.

    We live in one of the freest, fairest and most prosperous nations on earth and have every reason for confidence in our country and its future.

    While 2014 undoubtedly had its fair share of challenges, much has been achieved.

    At the end of 2014, annual economic growth is 2.7 per cent (up from just 1.9 per cent a year ago) and we’re creating jobs at the rate of 15,000 a month (up from just 5000 a month in 2013).

    The carbon tax is gone – so families are $550 a year better off.

    The mining tax is gone – so Australia is once more regarded as a safe place to invest.

    The boats have all but stopped – so hundreds of boat people are no longer drowning at sea.

    Big new road projects are underway right around Australia. And while getting the Budget under control after six years of Labor waste and mismanagement has not been easy, the Government is making the tough but necessary decisions now to ensure we are no longer committing the inter-generational theft against our children which the former government had engaged in.

    It is absolutely necessary for our country’s future, and for our children and our grandchildren’s future, that we don’t saddle them with mountains of debt.

    Yes, we inherited a debt and deficit disaster from the former Labor government.

    And, yes, we are fixing their budget mess because that’s the responsible thing that we were elected to do.

    Fixing the budget will help to generate the confidence that’s so important to strengthen the economy.

    In the end, nothing is achieved without a strong economy.

    I have said all along that this Government’s whole mission is to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.

    In 2015, my team and I will work every day to deliver this.

    Jobs and families will be at the centre of the Government’s agenda in 2015.

    The Government is carefully considering the Productivity Commission report into Childcare that we commissioned upon coming to office. We will be crafting a holistic families package which is going to be an important part of our political and economic agenda which will involve a better targeted paid parental leave scheme and increased and improved childcare.

    We are on the right track, and I recommit myself to doing the best job I can for the people of NSW and Australia.
    Happy New Year, NSW. And Happy New Year, Australia.”

    You aren’t up to the task sorry Tony.

  18. corvus boreus

    KL, he also said, worryingly;

    “We will be safer because of stronger laws to protect our national security”
    “the coming months will see updated counter-terrorism legislation in the parliament”.

    It seems they are planning on cooking up new powers for themselves.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    He said he’s going to have a new start and change, but reading that absolutely nothing has changed.

    What he’s either deliberately obfuscating on or doesn’t realise is that what he’s espousing from the moment he won office and to this day, and which he seems to want to continue, is not what he took to the election and promised. Yes he said he would get rid of the mining and carbon taxes and he did say he would fix the economy, but he said he would do it without cuts and with increased spending.

    Well he’s certainly increased spending, but all on the better off in this country, and he’s cut and slashed as promise after promise tumbles down.

    All the same key words he promised before the election are in that piece and in the speeches he’s made since governing, “carefully considering” for instance. How many times have we heard this government state that only for them to do something contradictory?

    More empty words that have been delivered for one purpose only, to keep Abbott and/or his government in power. There is nothing about a vision for helping the country only for helping the wealthy and Liberal supporters.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Abbott is such a lying bastard.

    “At the end of 2014, annual economic growth is 2.7 per cent (up from just 1.9 per cent a year ago)”

    December 4 2013 : “The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the annual growth rate is now at 2.3 per cent.”

    “we’re creating jobs at the rate of 15,000 a month (up from just 5000 a month in 2013).”

    Over the five years to November 2012, around 838,500 new jobs were created. More than 100,000 new jobs were created in each of
    • Health Care and Social Assistance
    • Mining
    • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
    • Education and Training.
    Interestingly, although Mining experienced the largest percentage rise in employment over the five years to November 2012 (94.3%), and had the second largest number of new jobs (130,900), it directly accounts for just 2.3% of national employment.

    We need 15,000 jobs created every month to keep the unemployment rate stable so we aren’t creating enough jobs across the economy.

    Unemployed people November 2014 775, 400

    Unemployed people December 2013 722,000

    This man should be prosecuted for false advertising because that is ALL it is. He just makes this stuff up.

  21. stephentardrew


    Abbott is a true antisocial personality and compulsive liar and because of his guiltless front he tends to get away with it. Being guiltless is a damn dangerous personality trait. The standard social meme that he is Prime Minister so he must be right has got to be challenged at every level. The MSM is a sorry and sad ghost of a reliable and critical fourth estate.

    Each and every day I become more and more worried about the obvious psychological deficits of Abbott. He is truly a dangerous, lying, irrational, guiltless ideologue and this man heads this country.

    Good heavens he needs to be relentlessly exposed for what he is – basically a demented fool.

  22. Jeanette

    I don’t reply often, although I do post to FB and Twitter, however regarding electricity prices Ergon Energy actually put their prices up, notice was given that with the abolished carbon tax there would be a reduction…for 1 account, the following account saw not only a re establishment of the reduction but a further increase added to “service fee”. Working on this amount x the number of units, 5, where I live it now costs about $460 I gather for the man to read the meters, all being together this would take all of about 15 minutes, this is downloaded then printed and someone puts the account into an envelope with a 70c stamp. Please tell me if there is anything more to a service fee? Charges should include maintenance costs? general wages etc. CEO wage. So as much as this dreadful government likes to boast reduction in electricity, not my experience blah!!!

  23. Kaye Lee

    Australia’s top public servant got a $42,000 wage rise in July as industrial strife looms over pay rises for the Commonwealth’s 160,000 rank-and-file bureaucrats.

    Ian Watt, Secretary of the Prime Minister and Cabinet department, will be on $844,000 – plus perks – as he and the Commonwealth’s 17 other top departmental bosses get pay rises of more than 5 per cent.

    Mr Watt’s July payrise was his third in 12 months, taking his annual wage from $760,000, plus 15 per cent super and a government-provided car, in July last year to $844,000 in July this year.

    the average total statutory pay for ASX top 100 CEOs has risen 2.9% to $4.84 million.

    This is about about 63 times average earnings and means that CEO pay is now at its lowest level in a decade, and one-third below the 2007 peak of 94 times average earnings.

    The average bonus was $1.21 million for those CEOs who got one. This is 8.2% down on the previous year and the lowest since 2003 when the bonus was $1.10 million.

  24. corvus boreus

    Love those dots, Kaye Lee.

    The decision that the senior federal bureaucrats needed an up to 40 grand payrise was made by the Renumeration Tribunal.

    Current (appointed) president of that tribunal is Mr John Conde, who is also, among other things(finance, minerals & property) deputy chair of Whitehaven Coal (controversial Leards/ Maules Creek project).

    Chair of Whitehaven Coal is Mark Vaille, ex federal National party leader and Deputy PM.

    The league of robber barons.

  25. Möbius Ecko

    One for the fact hounds here. No surprise Murdock and this government telling huge porkies again.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Unfortunately the article is paywalled ME and I refuse to pay for the Australian. I would like to know who did the report and how they came up with those figures

  27. John Fraser


    Kaye Lee

    "THE carbon tax cost $5310 for every tonne of emissions abated during its two years of operation, new government analysis shows.

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt leapt on numbers in Aus­tralia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory declaring the carbon tax an expensive failure.

    He said the 2.9 million tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions reductions during the carbon tax’s operation came at a cost of $15.4 billion in gross carbon tax revenue, or $5310 a tonne.

    The carbon tax started on July 1, 2012, at a face value of $23 a tonne rising to $24.15 from July 1, 2013. It was repealed as of July 1 this year.

    The carbon tax collected more than $15.4bn in gross revenue although compensation was paid to households for higher electricity prices and to emissions-intensive trade exposed industries for the impact on their international competitiveness.

    The release of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory last week shows emissions for the economy, excluding the land sector, fell 1.4 per cent in 2013-14 and 0.8 per cent in 2012-13. When the land sector is included, as is the case under Kyoto accounting, Australia’s emissions fell from 567.1mt in 2012-13 to 563.5mt, a drop of 3.6mt. Between 2011-12 and 2013-14, emissions fell 0.5 per cent or 2.9mt (there was a small rise the previous year)."


    Sid Maher
    National Affairs Editor Canberra

  28. Miriam English

    It has always puzzled my why people lie in aid of their cause. I have no doubt that the LibNats think they are doing the right thing. They’re absolutely seduced by this idea that reducing government payments to the poor is a good thing so they can concentrate on assisting the ones who have a proven record of wealth production: those who are already wealthy. It actually sounds kinda logical when thought of that way. But what I don’t get is that if they are so sure they’re correct, why do they feel the need to lie? Surely the truth should be vindication.

    Of course we see this in all areas where a belief is held fanatically. Note for example the religious fundamentalists that freely lie about all kinds of things — making up false doctorates, smuggling diamonds, avoiding tax, misrepresenting their own sexuality while exhorting others to greater hate against gays… The phenomenon is so common in the devout that it has a common known description: “lying for Jesus”.

    I never understood why someone would cling so desperately to a flawed belief that they would not only avoid truth, but actively fabricate lies to “support” their mistaken view. Surely we should all welcome knowledge of our errors so that we can avoid repeating them. Not facing the truth and propagating falsehoods in aid of an error simply guarantee you will continue making the same mistake over and over again. Where’s the sense in that?

    But of course sense has nothing to do with it. It is all about being utterly captivated by belief. “This way is TRUE. I KNOW it. All means justify the pursuit of that end.”

    I expect their thought processes go something like this: The damaging of society is in the aid of a greater good. If we can just get the real world to align with the ideals of supply-side economics then all will come right in the end. If the poor have to suffer then that’s unfortunate, but we have to face facts that they are not as important as the wealth generators upon whom society utterly depends. They’ll all thank us in the end when they see how everything works out exactly the way our belief has foretold and everybody sees we were right all along.

    They never seem to notice that the real wealth creators are the middle class and the best way to strengthen them is to help lift as many from the poorer parts of society up into their ranks. The ultra wealthy are, more often than not, a net drag on the economy because of the way they slow the circulation of money (concentrating it in fewer hands), hide it overseas in tax havens (taking it out of the local economy completely), and use non-productive means of accumulating further wealth (high-finance gambling instead of producing physical goods and services).

    I think we have as much chance of altering their blinkered belief as we have of deprogramming a devoutly religious fundamentalist. Any threat to their belief system is seen as an attack upon them and will not EVER be entertained rationally. That said, religious people lose their faith every day. This era is seeing people lose their faith faster than any time in the past. Perhaps their is not much hope for the preachers, but for those who are sucked in by their lies, the best hope is that we keep putting the truth out there. It is difficult and slow, but it does work. Sometimes it needs to be aided by sarcasm or humor; sometimes it needs to be straightforward and dispassionate. But in the end, facts are the antidote to lies.

  29. Anomander

    Several interesting articles in Fairfax today… Seems the tide has turned heavily against OTT and his destructive agenda.

    The first a comparison of funding being stripped to social programmes versus the funding being increased for wealthy, corporate rent-seekers.

    The second a comparison between Obama looking to the future against Abbott dragging our country toward the past.

  30. Pingback: Understanding ‘Abbott-Speak’ – Truthiness to English Dictionary | Progressive Conversation

  31. Pingback: Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of tiny molehills | Progressive Conversation

  32. Pingback: Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of tiny molehills – Written by PROGRESSIVE CONVERSATION | winstonclose

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