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Two Weeks with Tony Abbott


‘’Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, so ill-informed of science, so oblivious of the needs and aspirations of women and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society?’

A week is a long time in politics. Tomorrow we will have had two with Tony Abbott. What can we deduce from his period in power thus far?

I wonder when Mr Abbott meets the Indonesian President whether in fact the “Turn back the boats” policy will actually be raised. And how will we go about buying their 750,000 boats? I assume we will use eBay, or maybe Scott Morrison will stand on the shore will a megaphone and a fistful of rupiah?

Then, of course, we have had five boats in six days since the election but zero headlines which suggests to me the normal honeymoon period accorded to new governments might cover the duration of the first term. Consider that. No, on second thoughts don’t. Just leave it to Rupert.

Now it seems that Morrison might not even reveal how many boats arrive. Now there’s open government for you.

And didn’t Joe Hockey tell us that the budget was in crisis and in need of urgent repair? Debt and deficit were out of control. Now it seems he is embarking on a stimulus package. And further to that, the much credited Costello Charter of Budget Honesty is no longer credible. It appears the mid-year fiscal outlook will be delayed until the January holiday period. At my age, I wish I could delay a thing or two.

What about his first ministry? Only one woman to be seen but of course, it fits in with Abbott’s anti-women statements and image. Julie Bishop has always been the deputy who got the job, if only as a token of female representation. This must be a monumental embarrassment to the conservative parties. Half of the population are women, so how are they to be represented?

By a middle-aged colloquium of wealthy middle-aged Christian males who have not the faintest idea of the needs and aspirations of young women in particular. They say that the cabinet is selected on merit. If that’s the case then it makes matters worse. Have they no women of merit? Not even one with more brains than Barnaby Joyce. And if that is so, how come three National Party members get a guernsey regardless of merit? If the Coalition believes that quotas for women would be demeaning, what does that say about their quotas for the Nationals?

Now I agree that parliamentary behaviour needs some attention but to elect Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker of the House when she herself has been guilty of the most flagrant breaches of the standing orders makes a mockery of Abbott’s desire to bring more civility to the house.

For Abbott to even suggest the need for more politeness when he alone over the past three years have been the biggest perpetrator in bringing the house into disrepute is extraordinary, or cunning. I think the latter. Or is he recasting his image?

Now about the new ministry. Bill Lord (not related) had this to say on Facebook.

‘’You probably won’t have even noticed, but Abbott’s cabinet does not have a Minister for Science, Climate Change, Energy, Youth, Disability, Status of Women, Aged Care, Mental Health, Early Childhood and a whole lot more of those things that I think most educated people would think are important. Instead, we have a Minister for Immigration and “Border Protection”. What do we need PROTECTION from? Half-starved men, women and children fleeing for their lives? I feel sick to admit to being an Australian. My only consolation is that I DID NOT vote for these crypto-fascists. Think that’s a bit extreme? Just wait six months’’

We have had a science minister since 1931. This just shows what a fraternity of oldish male luddites of a ministry we have with views unrepresentative of a vigorous forward-looking Australia. I know half of the government don’t believe in climate science, but this is going too far. I wonder if they know how to use pop up toasters. Really, no science minister and the only complaint on the government side is from a climate denier.

So in effect, there is no voice in this ministry for the disabled, nor one for the elderly, nor one for youth, nor one for the homeless. But there is a female Bishop to represent the collective views of millions of women. Well, t least we have two Bishops and an Abbott in case there is need of confession.

Now here’s a good joke: “what has nineteen men, one woman and doesn’t want emphasis put on science, mental health, disability or climate change?’ The punch line is Tony Abbott’s new ministry. The joke is on all of us.

Of course they all swore allegiance to a woman unlike Rudd’s cabinet who did so to the Australian people. I suppose Liz will be happy.

Isn’t it interesting that during the election there was never a women out of Abbott’s sight. Now there are none to be seen. Perhaps they are invisible. Just like that substance Tony keeps talking about.

Already Tony Abbott in his desire to slow things down gives every indication of looking over his shoulder at a past long gone.

Which of course does not go well for the ACT’s and the Northern Territory’s announcements that they intend proceeding with legalisation for gay marriage. What will Tony do? I bet Catholicism wins. Goodness knows what he will say to the new American ambassador when he arrives with his husband.

On top of that we were told that the conservatives plan to go ahead with their Direct Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions even though they have not the foggiest idea of how it works. We know from such imminent institutions such as the Grattan Institute and many other experts that meeting the 5% target of cutting greenhouse using direct action methods is highly improbable. So Tony Abbott really does need to come clean (pardon the pun) and tell the public the truth of his intentions. Does he intend faking some action and then dropping it altogether? Highly probable I think.

The decision to abandon the carbon tax might yet prove to be the single worst decision ever made by an Australian Prime Minister. How appalling it is that something as serious as the planets future can be reduced to people’s denial of science.

It rather reminds me of how for so many years the South Africans denied that HIV caused aids.

I can only hope that Labor sticks to its principles on this one and that it’s more difficult than unringing a bell.

Which in turn leads me to this unrepresentative swill that is called The Senate.

Richard Dennis of the Australia Institute has this to say.

‘’Ok – here is my serious suggestion for how to reform the senate voting/micro party preference ‘problem’. What if all parties who poll less than X per cent (I would go with 2 per cent) can only distribute, but not receive preferences from other parties. That would mean that no-one’s vote would ever be wasted, but at the same time it would give the micro parties an incentive to join together and work hard to explain their policies and earn primary votes rather than keep dividing into smaller and smaller parties in order to improve their chances in the ‘Senate Lottery’. Thoughts? Share if you like it’’

Then we had Malcolm Turnbull talking about a mandate on the NBN in the face of a 250,000 petition against the Coalition plans. The fact is Labor lost the election not on policy but because it presented a perception of dysfunction. Now it seems Turnbull will delay new laws until the new senate sits next July.

Under the Governments plan some suburbs and country towns will have a digital divide. Half of Ballarat for example has fibre to the home. How will the other half react when they find they will have to pay $5000 for the same service? And this will happen all over the country.
And of course the first few days saw the vindictive sacking of former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks before he could pack his bags for the states.

And who sacked him?

“We had to fight even for the right of dying cancer victims to get a speedy trial. I recall sitting in the WA Supreme Court in an interlocutory hearing for the test cases involving Wittenoom miners Mr Peter Heys and Mr Tim Barrow. CSR was represented by Ms Julie Bishop (then Julie Gillon). (She) was rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying.”

Australian Doctor Magazine, 2007.

Why would you then be surprised at a cheap vindictive decision to sack Steve Bracks.

However that wasn’t the end. The day after being sworn in three department heads were sacked. Victims of long Liberal memories no doubt. They happened to believe in science.

I could have added a few more examples of what to expect from this new government. My wife however cautioned me to be more sanguine.

‘’Never be as negative as him’’ she said whilst shaking her fist at me.

The one redeeming feature of the fortnight was that at least Sophie Mirrabella has lost her seat. That might add a diminutive touch of graciousness to the house. But wait, later in the week I read that the LNP are blaming the lack of women and a science minister on the new member for Indi, Cathy McGowan. Figure that out.

Then someone on The Drum suggested that she lost her seat because too many of her constituents met her. That’s more like it.

Oh, and they have just announced a high court challenge on gay marriage, the Climate Commission is gone as to is The Clean Energy Corporation.

‘’Thanks love, yes I think I will have a couple of Bex and a lie down”

P.S. I was going to title this piece ‘’In Bed with Tony” but I thought that was taking things too far.

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  1. bjkelly1958

    The cunning he is displaying reminds me of the former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie. Whenever there was a bit of contention or an MP said or did something less the parliamentary, he would pull a stunt. he would distract the electorate while the gaffe was fixed or just died off because of a lack of oxygen.

    I’m sure there will be no discussion of his Asylum seeker policies, as they have already been aired in Jakata and you could hear the laughter from here on Bribie Island. No, that is just more dog whistling.

    The revisionary attitude to science is of enormous concern. Leaving aside climate change for a moment, Australia had a very enviable reputation in the scientific world because, under Labor governments, at Federal and State levels, very large amounts of money was poured into research, and it produced great results.

    Much has already been said about our country being the only one in the world retreating from front lines in the war against climate change, but the transparency of the decision should cause even greater angst than the effect on our international reputation. The pipers of Big Mining are calling the tune and our newly minted PM is dancing as fast as his lycra clad legs will go.

    The abandonment of issues such as ageing, youth, disability, homelessness and so on is simply part of the Conservatives mind set; “If you can’t afford it, you don’t deserve it.” Why anyone over the age of 20 should be surprised by this in unfathomable.

  2. Sharyon Bellwood

    why are we surprised this guy has no idea his a puppet like the presi george bush 2 was no brain just pain for us

  3. john byatt

    great read John, tragic really

  4. Bacchus

    It’s good to see excellent articles like this from AIMN are being picked up by the facebook group Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History. They have 169,404 likes, so this is being disseminated VERY widely. Keep up the great work!

  5. Layla

    Excellent work John. I’m sure the PM will give you lots to write about in the next 3 years. It’s going to be tiring but please push on. Though hopefully you’ll only need to keep up the critique until July 2014.

  6. richo

    Well done John a good summary of the first couple of weeks of hell on earth.

  7. Phil go man

    I,ts a pity ms Mirabella was not returned as she would have been in the cabinet .she is an abbot favourite. An ideal cabinet job would have been minister for the elderly and infirm, she has the expertise and experience for the job.

  8. Kristina

    Hi John, I just want to say I recently discovered the AIMN, and I want to say thank you to you, and everyone else at AIMN for your amazing work. It’s horrendous what we are seeing with the Liberal Government. I wonder how bad it needs to get before the nightmare is all over. I can’t believe they can get away with all of this. Where is the accountability?!

  9. Ian Joyner

    Fragrant -> flagrant

  10. Peter Stevenson

    I wonder what Barnaby’s reaction would be if the Indonesian Government was to turn back the live cattle boats in response to Abbott’s policy of turning back the asylum seeker boats.This would be very interesting.

  11. Ian Joyner

    Same line Abbotts -> Abbott’s

  12. Ian Joyner

    So in affect -> effect … I think according to my reading of Oxford effect means result.

    Sorry to be picky, but I want this argument to be as effective as possible. Thanks.

  13. Ian Joyner

    ACTs and the Northern Territories -> ACT’s and Northern Territory’s (possessive)

    Picky aren’t I. Please fix and remove these posts if you like!

  14. kayelee1

    One thing that greatly concerns me is our abrogation of our responsibilities as part of the global community.

    Even though we are head of the UN security council, Tony’s response, when asked about Syria, is that we shouldn’t consider ourselves important enough to have a view – that we should be humble as we are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

    We are the ONLY country in the world moving away from pricing carbon. Even China has recognised the need for urgent action and is implementing clean energy initiatives as we speak. Tony has capped the amount of money he is prepared to spend to achieve the goals we have already agreed to so he is prepared to break our promise to the rest of the world and to refuse help in what has to be action on a global scale.

    Rather than moving towards the agreed foreign aid targets, Tony’s first move is to slash 4.5 billion from the budget and to wind up the AusAid department. Even though we use a hugely disproportionate amount of the world’s resources and are a wealthy country, he feels no obligation to help raise the living standards of the millions of people for whom food, shelter, clean water and education are luxuries they cannot afford.

    Regarding refugees, Tony will cut our already pitiful quota. He and Julie and Scott seem determined to alienate Indonesia with their ludicrous asylum seeker policies and their refusal to co-operate in a regional solution. The disdain shown to our nearest neighbour is arrogance in the extreme and shows immaturity and an inability to understand the vital role of co-operation and negotiation in Foreign Affairs.

    We have been criticised around the world for the vile sexism shown to our first female PM and we are now being ridiculed for having only one woman in cabinet (Afghanistan has more).

    Perhaps things are hunky dory in Warringah but to the rest of the world we look like a bunch of xenophobic, sexist, flat earthers.

  15. johnlord2013

    Thanks Ian.

  16. johnlord2013

    Ian, when I was in business I employed a professional proof reader. Since I am almost totality self educated I just try to do my best. But I don’t mind you pointing out the errors.

  17. Chris Maitland

    Great article. It just needs the once over by an editor, though.

    Some examples: The word “guernsey” needs not be capitalised when referring to the item of clothing. Breaches of the standing orders are rarely fragrant but are more often flagrant.

  18. johnlord2013

    Chris sometimes the the proof reader on this system has a mind of its own but I appreciate you pointing them out.

  19. lioneldoolan

    “most fragrant breaches”… smelly underwear??

  20. kayelee1

    I hesitate to buy into the proof reading discussion but I feel compelled to point out that the purpose of this site is to communicate ideas and to promote discussion. The articles are not theses to be published in scientific journals. The authors are not paid. They are good people who give up their time to raise what I find very interesting and important issues.

  21. Ian Joyner

    Thanks Kayelee and others… I’m just trying to help out, so we can spread these great articles as far as possible.

  22. lmrh5

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  23. Pingback: Two Weeks with Tony Abbott | lmrh5

  24. Billy

    This article and comments is heaven, the respect and morality is overwhelming. I’m guessing the luddites haven’t mobilized yet. Keep up the good work John.

  25. once was blind

    Though I understand what a ‘climate denier’ is, one cannot deny climate. I believe any climate change denialist should be now known as a CCD, and then someone can have a varying degree of CCD. Abit like any mental disorder.

  26. Andrew Gray

    Thank you John … We are share share sharing and praying for a re election soon or a PM sacking … I feel Tony Abbott has the ability to drive such hate in this country that people will become violent … You simply can’t take profit over a sustainable planet anymore … This is a scary time.

  27. Dan Rowden


    One of the problems every nation has to face when it changes its government is that the incoming mob aren’t necessarily obliged to keep promises and commitments they didn’t make or support whilst in Opposition. The Coalition’s only obligation is to meet those promises and commitments they made themselves. What others are doing isn’t really their problem. Australia knew what and who they are at the time of the election, a weak level of media analysis notwithstanding. The basic facts were always there for people to see if they so wished. The majority of Australians voted for a change of government. That means a change of approach, of philosophy and of ideology in certain important areas. As horrifying as that is, “we” just voted for it. How swiftly “we” fall into a state of regret will depend significantly on the disposition of the Senate. We live in the proverbial Chinese Curse.

  28. kayelee1

    Dan I suppose I regard all those issues as moral responsibilities that ANY government (or individual) would feel obligated to address.

  29. bernylBerny

    Maybe we need a deptment and a minister for CCD. Good gig for a female Lib.

  30. Truth Seeker

    John, thanks for another fine piece, laying out the first two week of Right wing nut-jobbery 😀

    It’s good to see you getting the support you deserve. 😎

    Keep up the good work 😀

    I have also written a couple of posts since the election, another poem in the “Said the Abbott to the Bishop” series “Said the Abbott to the Bishop… Victory!” 😀

    Said the Abbott to the Bishop… Victory?

    And LNP, women of calibre” 😀

    LNP women of calibre!

    Cheers 😀

  31. Darryl Price

    Ever produced anything of commercial value John? You’ve had plenty of time to think no doubt. @Kaylee – agreed; this is indeed not suitable for publication in a scientific journal – too coloured by political bias as opposed to facts. Being self-educated is no excuse for being wrong and producing an op-ed that is basically rubbish.

  32. kayelee1

    Darryl I once attended an in-service course on how to mark creative writing. We were given several pieces to compare including an essay written by a student that contained many grammatical and spelling mistakes as well as a lot of swearing. Some people marked it poorly because of that. Others marked it very highly because of the passion, the story line, the clear way the information was imparted, the emotions and thought provoked by it.

    Having read and enjoyed many of john’s articles, and comparing them to the couple of comments you have made, could I say I find him eloquent and interesting and a FAR better communicator and more valuable contributor than you.

  33. johnlord2013

    Yes Darryl I have. I have won three creative writing competitions and four poetry. I have won numerous Australian Art directors awards and three National Gold medals for print design. When completing my Dip Fine arts I never scored lower than 80 for essays but usually in the 90s. Not bad for someone who couldn’t read or write until his early teens. At 73 I am intent on improving. I also learnt the language of music after I turned 60.

    The language you use is intended to provoke I know.

    “Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply”

    Thank you for your comments.

  34. Andreas Schmidt Mumm

    Where are these “lizard people taking over the world conspiracy” paranoids when you need them!!??
    They would hopefully by now have all the right lingo and propaganda material together to write up some suitable stories about the new PM (“he, who’s name should not be spoken”).

    kaylee1 “Perhaps things are hunky dory in Warringah but to the rest of the world we look like a bunch of xenophobic, sexist, flat earthers.” that is perfectly correct and unfortunately the more appropriate terminology to describe the situation would likely fall under censorship or involve a wide range of characters like &*#$%@!!.

  35. Dan Rowden


    You and I may well agree that the things you mention are ethical obligations that any reasonable person ought recognise. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same ethical perspective and there’s no objective standard or rules for such things. In the end the best we can do is advocate for our perspective and try to make the best arguments for it we can. We have to remember that there are very few things we can easily point to and simply declare as innately right or wrong.

  36. Mfjb

    Although I abhore the fact there is only one woman in the Cabinet, it is of no surprise to me – most intelligent, forward thinking, productive women who are considered “of merit” dont belong in the Liberal Party.

  37. gumleafdi

    Yesterday i had a text from my 24 year old daughter who has a biology degree and works in the field. “It sucks to be a female scientist in this country. Think I’ll move overseas.” Can’t blame her: she’s feeling undervalued on two counts, and feels insulted that Abbott is going to be overseeing womens’ affairs as well.
    I was interested that before the election she could see Abbott’s vacuousness, lack of detailed policy knowledge and avoidance of media scrutiny for what it was. She said all her friends felt the same way.Why didn’t the majority of the population? Seems we have some hard, humiliating lessons to learn.

    Thanks so much for the article, John. A relief to read such incisive comment.

  38. peter mcfarlane

    I cannot recall such a lot of crap in all my life,how about we give these people a go ,they cannot do any worse

  39. johnlord2013

    Peter mcFarlane

    I cannot recall such a lot of crap in all my life,how about we give these people a go ,they cannot do any worse

    And this statement can be substantiated with the following information……….take as long as you wish and use however many words it takes.

  40. Buff McMenis

    I am going to watch with amazed intrigue the arrival of the American Ambassador with his husband and also the next visit of the American President, if there ever is one! I don’t think Rupert will let Tone the Man be subjected to intelligence and grace. It might just put him back in his nasty black box!!

  41. Brent M

    Lets not forget the only female with ‘merit’ as the Coalition stated, Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister.
    Before even getting the role, she has shown her wonderful diplomacy skills – gloating that Australia doesn’t need permission from Indonesia to run extensive Government operations within Indonesia. The whole statement was dismissive of Indonesia’s rights and belittling. It was also quite hostile and highlighted her contempt for the Indonesian government. And the Indonesian Government responded as expected. Great diplomacy skills, damaging our relationship with them and starting fights without even once speaking to them and before even assuming her position officially.

  42. Buff McMenis

    I an Joyner, I would allow the use of both words to describe Mirabella .. “fragrant” (ie: stinking) fits her just as well as “flagrant”! I thought John was being quite poetic when using that word! 😉

  43. kayelee1

    Peter McFarlane, “giving these people a go” means repealing the price on carbon and abandoning the expansion of renewable energy. It means abandoning the rollout of FttP NBN. It means cutting the education funding for the last two years of the Gonski reforms. It means abandoning the mining tax and allowing the mining companies to make billions from our finite resources without paying us a share. It means tax deductions for the wealthy at the expense of the poor. It means a ridiculously expensive PPL scheme which implies rich women need more welfare than low income earners. It means cutting foreign aid and our humanitarian intake of refugees. And that I am afraid is just the beginning.

  44. Fed up

    Why are the trolls out in such large numbers. I thought their man won.

    John, always enjoy your articles.

    Some seem to mixed their opinions up with truth.

    This might surprise some, but what say, is just opinion, Nothing else.

    They then condemn the opinions of others,

  45. Brad Price

    Mr Aboott’s ministery does not include token positions for populous vote. I thought this was independant of other news sources, but you appear to quote them constantly without reference. WTF?

  46. kayelee1

    John Leal that is priceless. What do you think Tony’s PPL scheme is other than wasting money on a “feel-good populist fantasy”? If you think climate change is a scam how do you feel about Tony wasting 4 billion on his Direct Action Plan that all the experts say won’t work? I agree the asylum seeker policy has been a failure. Tell me, has Tony organised cheaper ways of flying asylum seekers around because he intends to do the exact same thing whilst employing our entire navy to patrol our north watching for fishing vessels. Any idea how much THAT might cost?

    And as for your comment “After the failed Gillard experiment women will be lucky to hold down a cleaning job around Parliament House”……you have just proven yourself to be a no-nothing ill-informed who I wouldn’t let clean my toilet. The Gillard government passed 600 pieces of ground-breaking legislation whilst Abbott’s mob sat there yelling out “liar” and “b*tch” and doing everything they could to disrupt Parliament.

  47. dariancase

    Reblogged this on dariancase.

  48. johnlord2013

    Obviously John Leal does a lot of fishing but he needs to select a better bait.

  49. Wayne

    You can tell the mindset of the Author when he claims there has been 6 boats arrive since Abbott has been PM, the Author should educate himself or open his mind a little, PM Abbott was sworn in 2 days ago, those boats arrived when Rudd was still caretaker PM. You lost me after that, if your so blind at the start then I don’t hold much hope to you. Also appears you have been brainwashed by Gillards Misogynist speech where she defamed Abbott in a bid the salvage some female votes. Such a vile woman who tried to use sex to win votes then complained about sexism.

  50. kayelee1

    Oh Wayne….you are such an ignorant silly little boy…but thank you for making me go to bed. Your comments are so inane they are not worth reading.

  51. Doug McGregor

    Agree with so many that describe this as a great article. Thanks Ian.
    I wonder how long it will take Abbott to implode himself. Such stupidity and self interest a la Dubya Bush in a climate of ferocious journos as Australia is an entertaining arena, especially viewed from the most politically stodgy “democracy” in the world IMHO (Canada, where the smarmiest and “worst PM in history” has used prorogation now a third time in his minority leadership (which I define as significantly less than 50% of the vote).
    First past the post plus an appointed pig-trough senate leaves us WAY behind Australia in effective representation and political process.
    Australia count your blessings for the proportional representation you have, and dig for dirt on Abbott & cronies. I don’t think they will have buried their $4it very deep.

  52. Reasons To Hate Abbott!

    Tony Abbott and John Leal should be exiled in an asylum seekers boat, preferably until they fall off the edge of their “flat earth” views. Sexist idiots!

  53. Dan Rowden


    Sorry, Pal, but you – nor any person – gets to re-write history around here. With respect to Gillard’s “misogyny” speech, how about we remember the context? Abbott and Bishop (Julie) stood in Parliament asking Gillard questions without notice during which they accused Gillard of supporting misogyny because of a some things Peter Slipper wrote in private text messages. Her speech was in direct response to those accusations: “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man.” Everyone needs to forever remember the context.

  54. jimmyglue007

    Is it only two weeks? Jeez hasn’t he been busy. Got rid of the climate change El Torro Poo Poo artists. It may have cost 2 million to pay them out but the savings will be ten fold.
    Good bye Tim Flannery. Go and live in your new home on the waterfront which you claim will be underwater due to the global warming. How about the dams you said would never be filled again. You are an absolute disgrace to logical thinking. Yet you have the nerve to draw a consulting fee and rob decent Australians of money that could be used for other useful services.

  55. johnlord2013

    Jimmyglue007 You obviously are enlightened on the subject of climate change. Could you perhaps fill us in on exactly how Direct Action works.

  56. Gina

    I’ve also said, “give it 6 months…” and the responses I’ve had so far are, “it’s not going to happen…” “Oh really? Let’s just wait and see, shall we?” I am happy that I’m not the only one thinking this.

  57. Fed up

    Turnbull on 7.30 ABC 1

  58. Ian

    Stop moaning about the result and start working to rid Australia of this lot.

  59. Dan Rowden

    Shut up, Ian. Moaning is fun. Party pooper.

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