Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Many Pubsters are aware of John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations, which

… began as a blog in January 2013 because John Menadue was concerned about several important issues. The first was how good policy discussion was being crowded out by gamesmanship, personal gossip, faction fights devoid of content and a ‘gotcha’ media style. Second was the importance of political action which is so much discredited and derided by populists and conservatives.

Politics is about how power is exercised. It is a noble calling which must be restored in public estimation. The third was the preoccupation of Australian mainstream media with newsfeeds out of US and UK, to the neglect of media coverage and interest in our own region.

Those words “Politics … [i]s a noble calling which must be restored in public estimation” resonate strongly with me. The blatant venality and corruption so evident at every level of government in Australia is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I know many share my view. So I thought that it would be useful to make this new thread a tasting-plate of recent Pearls and Irritations articles that concern integrity (or lack thereof) in Australian governance.

See if budget creates a future, and beware of dirty tricks!
By JACK WATERFORD | On 6 October 2020

Close observers of Tuesday’s federal Budget will no doubt have their eyes out for evidence of the usual political chicanery towards political donors, lobbyists and friendly interests, as well as mates, cronies and relatives of senior members of government, this time in the alleged cause of stimulating demand and picking winners in the post-Covid economy.

That eye is more necessary than ever before, if only because government has become more shameless, with less and less respect for evidence, proper process and transparency. But it is not the main game. This time about, indeed, there is a risk more serious than of government shovelling money towards its friends and cronies. It is that it will be doing too little, too conservatively, and with too little imagination and open mind, with the result that economic and social recovery will be delayed. Those who will suffer most from this timidity will be disproportionately the usual suspects: low-paid workers, casual workers and people in part-time work, pensioners and welfare beneficiaries — including the young, the aged, the disabled, indigenous Australians and many temporary workers, including overseas students. But the fabled little capitalist in “small business” — the people that the coalition pretends it is all about — will probably suffer more than most as well.
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Sports rorts and muddy waters
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 8 October 2020

Last summer, just like much of the country, the federal political landscape was ablaze.  Scott Morrison was caught out taking a secret holiday in Hawaii; and those who weren’t evacuating from bushfires were very angry about sports rorts. 

One of the cunning ways by which Morrison and his Attorney-General, Christian Porter, sought to lower the temperature on sports rorts was to muddy the waters as to whether the whole exercise was illegal.

Many observers expected that the scandal would have blown over by now.  Those observers seem to have underestimated the deep impact that sports rorts affair had on many of John Howard’s old “battlers”. They were angered that wealthy clubs of the rich and famous got the grants which, according to Sport Australia’s careful analysis, battling clubs in the suburbs and the regions should have got.  Bridget McKenzie telling us that one tennis club is just the same as another – White City of White Cliffs?  Kooyong or Quambatook? – was just petrol on the fire.  (The Quambatook tractor pull is certainly better than Kooyong’s).
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“Disgraceful” Tudge puts him self above the law
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 9 October 2020

Late last month, the Federal Court’s found that Minister, Alan Tudge engaged in criminal conduct by keeping an asylum-seeker in detention and depriving of his liberty for five days in defiance of an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that the man be released. 

The Court described Tudge’s decision to deprive the man of his liberty as “disgraceful”, and said: “The minister cannot place himself above the law”:  “The minister has acted unlawfully.  His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty.  His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt.”
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Michael Pascoe: Forget the ‘Daz and Glad Show’, this is the real political scandal (The New Daily Oct 15, 2020)
By MICHAEL PASCOE | On 16 October 2020

It’s the secret sexual relationship that sells the ‘Daz and Glad Show’ and elevates it from being merely yet another corrupt NSW politician before the ICAC, but it also distracts punters from the much bigger scandal.

Disgraced former National Party MP Daryl Maguire’s litany of rackets and wheezes are impressive for their breadth and, sometimes, shallowness.
Skimming the Wagga Wagga RSL’s spending on cutlery. Really, Daryl?

For all his efforts though, it’s small beer, the work of a wannabe grifting on the fringes of a vastly more professional and richer industry devoted to influence peddling, insider knowledge and structural corruption.

Actually, it’s more than that: It’s an industry steadily undermining our democracy, weakening our institutions, entrenching and reinforcing privilege.

Over time it perverts government and increases inequality. When insiders keep selling access and influence and the rich and powerful keep buying it and profiting from it, the citizens end up betrayed.

That is the core of the lobbying industry – selling access to politicians and senior bureaucrats, bending outcomes to their paymasters’ benefit. Those with the money get the inside run and the rest can go whistle, all the more so as the public service is intentionally run down.
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Morrison Government is running scared of a federal integrity body
By DAVID SOLOMON | On 16 October 2020

This week’s trials of Gladys Berejiklian only confirm the Morrison Government’s largely unspoken fears that a federal ICAC would do the government a lot more harm than good.

The Morrison Government, in theory, supports the creation of a federal version of NSW’s Independent Commission Against Commission. The proposal has been on the table for two years, following the belated (and agonised) decision of Labor nationally to include a federal ICAC among its policy objectives.

The political manoeuvrings over its creation demonstrate how resistant the Morrison Government really is to having a federal body with the powers of the NSW ICAC or Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission. Attorney-General Christian Porter is supposedly negotiating with cross-bench senators about the proposal – not with the ALP or the Greens, who have had their own legislative proposals for a strong ICAC-like body on the books for the past three Parliaments. But the cross-bench senators haven’t heard from the Attorney-General since he said he would begin talks with them.
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Why the resistance to a national anti-corruption commission?
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 16 October 2020

Scott Morrison and Christian Porter are insisting that a new federal integrity body could not look at old corruption. What is that about? Is it because there are skeletons in too many people’s closet? Is it the extent to which Alexander Downer and other senior officials benefitted financially from their activities during the Australian Government’s shenanigans on behalf of Woodside and others over oil and helium, which should always have been Timor-Leste’s, in the Timor Sea?

Preposing the case for the commission feels like pushing against one of those beautifully crafted doors that will open to the slightest touch. Everyone supports a federal anti-corruption commission, including 85% of the population. Federal Labor came out in support in January 2018.

In December that year, Prime Minister Morrison, with Attorney-General Christian Porter at his side, announced he would move to establish one. An appropriate discount needs to be made for propensity of this Government to announce many more things than it ever gets around to doing. Indeed, the Big Announcement seemed to be a cunning ploy to buy time and do nothing. That seems a likely story with what Morrison and Porter called the Commonwealth Integrity Commission.
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The Gladys and Daryl Show. Having to squirm in open hearings acts as a disincentive to venality
By JACK WATERFORD | On 20 October 2020

If Gladys Berejiklian, and her ludicrous consort, have to take one for the team, let it not be for tiny misdemeanours but for being parties to a corrupted mindset of the spoils of public office.

One has only to look at the daily papers to see constant reminders of how the system is broke. There is a fresh scandal every other day. Beyond the Maguire (and Berejiklian) inquiry, or Hayne, we have seen in recent weeks a tribunal considering whether Crown Casino, and owners associated with it, such as James Packer, “are fit and proper people” to be allowed to operate in Sydney.
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Gladys’ arrogance paves the way for Federal ICAC
By MUNGO MACCALLUM | On 20 October 2020

The most remarkable thing about the revelation of Gladys Berejiklian’s love life was that it was remarkable at all.

It is quite incredible that every person in the Macquarie Street bubble – government, opposition, staff, journalists, lobbyists, innocent bystanders – was completely oblivious to the fact that once the day’s work was over, the premier and her paramour would regularly go off for a bit of bonking in the background.
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998 thoughts on “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  1. I think today is the day that it’s finally hit home to most people, including most of his supporters that Trump has actually lost the election.

    Michigan certifying its results and the GSA beginning the transition process has pretty much put it beyond doubt.

    Just a gut feeling, because this is the best day I’ve felt about it so far.

    Hopefully, it means a good future for Australia, in which the new Biden-Harris administration will apply some pressure on SfM to make meaningful moves to tackle climate change, and that will certainly rankle quite a few people in the coalition.

  2. Damn it, and damn you too Sussan Ley.

    Federal government gives environmental approval to controversial $3.6bn Narrabri gas project
    The approval is the final major regulatory hurdle for the project, but environmentalists and critics have vowed to keep fighting it

    The controversial $3.6bn Narrabri gas project that would drill up to 850 wells in grazing land and forest in northern New South Wales has been given environmental approval by the Morrison government.

    Environment minister Sussan Ley said on Tuesday she was satisfied the biodiversity of the Pilliga forest would be safeguarded by conditions set for the project, proposed by Santos.

    Santos said the conditions were in line with the 134 imposed by the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC), which approved the project in September


    Santos will just ignore those so-called restrictions and keep on doing what they have been doing in the Pilliga – whatever they want.

    Ley is supposed to be doing some sort of koala census – I wonder if she will count the koalas in the Pilliga before or after Santos goes in and destroys their habitat?

    • It is also about the shittiest filthiest way to produce gas,coal seam gas. Fuck there must have been a mountain of brown paper bags flowing. The Coalition has been going ‘above and beyond’ to get this project up for years and years. I wonder if Barnyard sold his “mongrel land” he just happened to buy in the are before being caught ?

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Net debt across all levels of government is forecast to reach more than $1.4 trillion by 2023-24, leaving budgets that will struggle to get back into surplus, explains Shane Wright.
    The Age explains how and why the Victorian government will plunge the state into record levels of debt and deficit, spending an extra $49 billion in the coming years in an effort to drag Victoria out of the disastrous COVID-19 recession.
    Victoria’s commitment to suppressing COVID-19 will cost almost $3 billion this year, with the government banking on a vaccine to allow health expenditure to be reined in within the next seven months.
    Noel Towell opines that Victoria’s post-lockdown budget goes big on debt, deficit and optimism.
    William Olsen tells us how casuals due to get relief in Victoria, in lieu of national action.
    Sean Carney look at what is driving the Victorian budgetary actions.
    Danielle Wood and Tom Crowley say that Victoria has stepped in where the federal budget did not. They think it is a budget of lifting, not leaning,
    The SMH outline how Berejiklian broke her own Covid rules.
    In the dying days of the 2020 parliament and after facing intense lobbying the Morrison government is expected to stand resolute and introduce a globally significant reform to force digital giants Google and Facebook to pay for the news they exploit, explains Paul Kenny.
    Kate McClymont reports on the prosecution’s closing arguments in the Obeid case as its last witness, journalist Anne Davies, took the stand.
    Anna Patty writes that the NSW government is under pressure to extend compensation laws and safety regulations to protect food delivery riders in response to five deaths in two months. A task force has been launched.
    Michael Koziol says that the deaths of five riders in just three months makes the use of these services a moral conundrum we must grapple with.
    Delivery riders are dying in a system that never should have been allowed to thrive, says the TWU’s Michael Kaine.
    The editorial in the SMH is concerned that a series of recent deals has undermined confidence in how our elected decision-makers buy and sell public property, and at what price.
    Rob Harris writes that Victorian Labor’s branch stacking woes went far beyond one factional warlord, with a review into the scandal finding the practice was able to thrive in an environment of organisational inertia, a poor culture and almost no party governance. Not a good look!
    And Harris explains how Berejiklian’s penchant for direct involvement in the awarding of grants may have landed her in hot water.
    It’s been a fabulous pandemic for the super-rich, but will it make our economy less equal, wonders Matt Wade.
    With 1.5m Aussies out of work, the Morrison Government may attempt to stimulate the economy by opening the immigration floodgates, writes Tarric Brooker.
    Luke Henriques-Gomes writes that a new report indicates that hundreds of thousands of renters could face eviction when moratoriums end around Australia.
    Photojournalists worry that ‘sanitised’ and controlled photographs of the PM have ramped up during Covid. It’s embarrassing, really.
    Former SAS officer, Mark Wales, tells us how killing became incentivised, and a toxic culture grew from an inversion of power within special ops.
    Australian War Memorial director Matt Anderson has promised to reflect allegations of war crimes by special forces in the institution’s displays and archives.
    Investment in large scale renewable energy and rooftop solar remains strong despite the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Clean Energy Regulator’s latest quarterly report. Writes Mike Foley.
    More from Foley as he tells us that Mark Butler has said Labor’s $20 billion energy policy showed the party was committed to clean power, long-time energy and climate change, as Anthony Albanese played down his party’s internal debate on climate targets.
    Adam Morton reports that Malcolm Turnbull has said Scott Morrison was “dazzled and duchessed” and went “full-in” with Donald Trump on foreign affairs and climate change, but now needs to change direction to avoid Australia being seen as a “Trump-lite refuge in the southern hemisphere”.
    The falling cost of storage batteries is helping to accelerate take-up, with demand very strong in particular for lithium ion batteries says a top executive with Maoneng Group, a Chinese-Australian company which is working closely with AGL Energy.
    Phil Coorey reports that Malcolm Turnbull says he is confident Scott Morrison will bow to global pressure and commit Australia to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Turnbull also poured cold water on Morrison’s plans for a gas-led recovery, saying the proposal was unrealistic and driven by gas industry rent-seekers looking for subsidies.
    Bad reactions to the COVID vaccine will be rare, but Australians deserve a proper compensation scheme, say these contributors to The Conversation.
    We need to talk about toxic masculinity and examine its role in the subjugation of women and in violence against us and why “these things”keep happening in Australia, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.
    Paul Bongiorno says Australia’s failed China policy is very bad business.
    Crown Resorts has a ten-week window to work on a plan B in the event it loses its NSW gaming licence or James Packer is found unsuitable to be an associate. And no one would be spending more time gaming out the possibilities than NSW rival casino operator, The Star, says Elizabeth Knight.
    Michael Pascoe explains why the Big Money is worried about civic unrest.
    Noel Whittaker isn’t expecting to see too much change too soon from the Retirement Income Review.
    Best&Less has been named among several other big-name fashion retailers in Australia that scored low on a new Oxfam report exposing labour practices. Major brands have been accused of adopting aggressive price negotiation tactics, inaccurately forecasting orders, imposing short lead times and making last-minute changes to orders, which contributed to trapping workers in a cycle of poverty.
    Dominic Perrottet lists ten iconic sites he’d like to see bulldozed.
    Scott Morrison says Australia’s position has been wrongly interpreted as siding with the US over China. Yet two of the main funders of the Federal Government-owned think-tank ASPI, a constant critic of China, are the US State Department, whose secretary Mike Pompeo has led the charge of global anti-China sentiment, and foreign weapons makers. Marcus Reubenstein investigates.
    Brexit stems from a civil war in capitalism and Britons are all just collateral damage says George Monbiot.
    From Wall Street to the progressive left of the Democrats, everyone is applauding Joe Biden’s reported choice of Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, writes Stephen Bartholomeusz.
    Stephen Loosely explains how the history of voting in American elections runs counter to the notions of free and fair.
    How do we avoid future authoritarians asks Bernie Sanders who says winning back the working class is key.
    Biden will have the presidency. But Republicans still have the power, writes Adam Tooze.
    Jacob Greber tells us how Americans had to wait 16 days for the lamest of backdowns.
    The Chicago Tribune explains the three nuclear threats facing President-elect Biden.
    The Wall Street Journal says that the costs of the continued fight over the 2020 election are rising for both the Republican party broadly, and for Donald Trump personally.
    Today’s “Arseholes of the Week” nomination goes to Purdue Pharma LP which has pleaded guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin, capping a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve an investigation into the drug maker’s role in the US opioid crisis.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    David Rowe

    Andrew Dyson

    Joe Benke
    Cathy Wilcox

    John Shakespeare

    Matt Golding

    John Spooner

    Fiona Katauskas

    Simon Letch

    From the US

  4. Michael West has an explanation for the government’s attempt to get Google and Facebook to pay for news and a very interesting proposal.

    The explanation starts around 6 minutes in, but the rest is well worth a listen.

  5. Scott Morrison denies blame for Robodebt debacle

    Mr Morrison was social services minister when the unlawful scheme was conceived and touted the billions of dollars it was supposed to rake in during his time as treasurer.

    He continued the welfare debt recovery program as Prime Minister and pinned a promised return to surplus on its projected windfall


    The CrimeMinister’s pathological lying and denialism are clearly signs of a mental illness. He is unable to admit responsibility for anything from deaths in aged care to robodebt to quarantine failures yet as PM the buck stops with him.

    The creature clearly needs urgent psychiatric help.

  6. This morning I finished writing a 3000-word short story last night. It is due at the university on Friday, That is the last date of my extension. That is cutting it rather fine.

    I started writing at 9 pm last night and finished the first edit this morning. I need to not look at it for 24 hours.

    Fiona, please check your email.

  7. A few laughs and moments of recognition if you open the Scottish tweet below and read the whole thread.

  8. Google and Facebook news payments to include ABC and SBS after change to draft code
    Exclusive: Josh Frydenberg adds public broadcasters to code after they were initially excluded by Australia’s competition regulator

    Labor, the Greens and several crossbenchers suggested the ABC and SBS should be added to the ranks of Australian news publishers to benefit from the code, in the interests of helping gain broad cross-party support for the legislation.

    When he announced the draft code, the chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, said the ABC and SBS were excluded because they were taxpayer-funded.

    If passed, the legislation would force Google and Facebook to share revenue from news links with Nine Entertainment, News Corp, and any other eligible media companies including Guardian Australia, or pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines


    This is a very complex issue. If anyone is going to get it wrong it’s the bunch of loons masquerading as the Australian government.

  9. All the article contained was legally obtained information available to anyone who wants to search for it. Ditto the video.

    Bruz needs to do his own video giving his side of the story. We know that will never happen because every word in the video and the report is factual.

    Then there’s this –

  10. John Hewson has a go

    A colleague commented to me recently: “Where would we be without the states leading and driving the response to Covid-19?”

    It made me think. To cut through all the spin, point-scoring and blame-shifting. Sure, there was the national cabinet and Scott Morrison’s attempt to forge a national, collaborative response, but so much of the heavy lifting was actually done by the states.

    Even in areas where our national government has traditionally had clear, overarching responsibility, such as quarantine and aged care, Morrison stepped back, finding it easier to concede, criticise and blame, rather than act.

    Of course mistakes are made, and finger-pointing is easy, but none of this “argie- bargie” is in the national interest.

    So it is too with the response to a far more significant challenge: climate. Again it has fallen to the states to lead with more realistic targets, strategies and attempted policy responses.


  11. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Oh dear! Alexandra Smith reports that Gladys Berejiklian’s office has recovered copies of shredded documents, revealing the Premier’s staff directly determined projects to be funded under the controversial $250 million council grants program.
    Now it’s coal that is getting the treatment from the capricious Chinese government.
    Meanwhile, the US embassy has accused Chinese diplomats in Australia of foreign interference after they handed a list of grievances to the media and told the Morrison government to back down on key policies.
    Chris Uhlmann unpacks these demands.
    Michelle Grattan writes that Scott Morrison has encouraged federal public servants to engage with their Chinese counterparts, saying these are important connections particularly given the tensions in the bilateral relationship.
    Pontificating Paul Kelly has a huge whinge in The Australian about John Kerry’s new role as the US special envoy for the climate because “he will turn up climate heat on Scott Morrison’s government”.
    Meanwhile, John Hewson accuses the Morrison government of abrogating the responsibility for the climate crisis to the states. He concludes his contribution with, “The essential transitions can be effectively and fairly planned and managed over the next three decades. With Joe Biden as the new US president the global pace will quicken markedly. It is grossly irresponsible for Morrison to duck this responsibility, wasting even more time trying to wedge the opposition and the states.”
    Greg Combet comes in behind Paul Keating, saying Australian’s shouldn’t have to trade off superannuation for a home.
    Greg Jericho says that in the debate about super, the actual point of a retirement income policy is being lost.
    The AFR tells us that tens of millions of dollars spent by superannuation funds on advertising and political lobbying could be outlawed under the federal government’s crackdown, forcing trustees to act in the financial interests of retirement savers.
    Rob Harris writes that Anthony Albanese’s closest allies say he is “not for blinking” on Labor’s climate change policies and will not be shifting the energy portfolio away from long-time frontbencher Mark Butler in an upcoming reshuffle.
    Anthony Galloway tells us that the former chief historian of the Australian War Memorial has called for its chairman, Kerry Stokes, to stand down over his public and private support for soldiers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
    In a searching essay, John Warhurst looks at how we can come to terms with Australian war crimes.
    Niki Savva says the military leaders went MIA as the Brereton bombs began to fall on the SAS.
    The aimlessness and violence of Australia’s involvement in the Afghanistan War is a sober reminder of the need to re-evaluate Australia’s complicity in U.S.-led wars and the U.S. alliance itself, writes Sam Brennan.
    People who refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus must spend two weeks in quarantine, or be immunised on the spot, before being allowed into the country, under plans being considered by the Morrison government for when international travel resumes, reports Phil Coorey.
    According to The AFR’s Andrew Tillett, pressure from the Australian government has forced the sacking of the French executive overseeing the $80 billion submarine project, while the local board will be beefed up by the addition of two veteran Defence industry chiefs in a bid to improve an increasingly dysfunctional relationship.
    Paul Sakkal reports that laws are set to be introduced to Victoria’s parliament that would ban the preference harvesting.
    The Age tells us that former Victorian Labor MP Judith Graley has denied being “used” by allegedly corrupt developer John Woodman despite being dubbed one the “fab four” of MPs and former MPs he expected would champion his interests.
    The SMH editorial says that Joe Biden’s cabinet stands to offer the Morrison government real support in our fraught relationship with China, but his agenda also throws up issues that Australia must tackle.
    Instead of taxing electric vehicles, heavy vehicles should pay more for the damage they cause, argues Richard Dennis.
    Michaela Whitbourne reports that a Federal Court judge has branded a defamation case brought by two doctors from the notorious Chelmsford psychiatric hospital in Sydney a bid to “rewrite history” and rejected their claims against a journalist and publisher. (Steve Cannane and the ABC)
    From here on our recovery will need more than fiscal policy, it’ll need redistribution, argues Micheal Keating.
    Jess Irvine says there were nine ways in which 2020 was pretty awesome. Can’t disagree.
    Samantha Dick explains how hotel quarantine upgrades will be the ticket to getting Australians home.
    John Lord declares that this government isn’t fit for purpose.
    Marco Polo Social Club in Queanbeyan was sold to a company run by the family of NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro. Callum Foote investigates the intriguing circumstances of a deal which saw John and his father Domenico, who were club directors, end with the clubhouse.
    The eye-watering cost of Mathias Cormann’s RAAF jet to support his next election bid have been defended by the Prime Minister, but there’s questions why the former senator didn’t do a few Zoom calls instead, writes Josh Butler.
    Uber’s global chief executive has described the recent deaths of five delivery riders in Australia as tragic and said safety was a top priority for the company, countering claims it was only an afterthought, writes Nick Bonyhady.
    But Professor of Law, Joellen Riley Munton, argues that food delivery riders are the 21st century’s chimney sweeps.
    The ABC and SBS would receive compensation under a revision to the media bargaining code the Morrison government is considering, risking dissent among backbenchers (fuelled by the IPA) to assist the legislation’s passage through Parliament.
    Trust, privacy and security must be key considerations in the development of highly intelligent network 6G, writes Paul Budde.
    As Crown faces scrutiny over its fitness to run a casino in Sydney, revelations have emerged of “intimidating” behaviour by one executive, writes Nick McKenzie. Seems like a nice type of guy!
    There are some fundamentally poor quality shares that are being swept up by enthusiastic investors attempting to play the COVID trade, warns Elizabeth Knight.
    Our national anthem is back on the playlist and, as always, for the wrong reasons, says Mungo MacCallum.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz reports that the US share market regulator, the SEC, plans to kick Chinese companies from Wall Street unless they allow its inspectors to audit their auditors.
    From ‘America first’ to ‘America together’: who is Antony Blinken, Biden’s pick for secretary of state, asks Tony Walker.
    The London Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reckons the sick global economy needs more than a vaccine.
    The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned the UK that without a major negotiating shift by Downing Street within the next 48 hours he will pull out of the Brexit negotiations in London this weekend, pushing the talks into a fresh crisis.

    Cartoon Corner (The Herald-Sun has made it impossible for me to access Mark Knight cartoons. Can anyone help?)

    David Pope

    Cathy Wilcox

    David Rowe

    Andrew Dyson

    John Shakespeare

    Matt Golding

    Peter Broelman

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  12. ‘I am far from perfect’: Berejiklian concedes COVID-19 test mistake

    This made my blood boil. So to start,Fuck off Gladys ! The impossibility of “Perfection” was not required. What was required was the most basic observation of a precaution that you and your colleagues have heard, written, promoted and urged others to observe a zillion times. You however rather than fail to achieve “perfection” failed 101. So tell us Gladys , this disregard for rules yous keep displaying, does it come from extreme arrogance or are you just thick as a brick ?

  13. Mungo says-

    Rather than just tweaking a word here or there, junk the whole bloody thing. And while we’re at it, forget about the endless debate over our flag and furl it forever.

    If we really need a symbol to tell the world who we are, we don’t need anthems and flags — a national song, to be strummed on appropriate occasions, more often festive than official, will be more than sufficient. The obvious candidate is ‘We Are Australian’ — a trifle kitsch, but wonderfully inclusive

    Amen to that!

    I read this article at Pearls and Irritations two days ago, nice to see it getting wider attention.

    It’s way past time the world ditched national anthems and flags, they just encourage jingoism and worse. Why do we still believe we need ancient forms of symbolism to tell us who (or where) we are?

    I have one point of disagreement with Mungo – I do not understand the support for Waltzing Matilda, never have, never will. The last thing this country needs is a dirge of an anthem about a cowardly, suicidal sheep stealer. Doesn’t anyone who wants this as our national song ever bothering listening to the words?

  14. Some good news for a change –

    Even better – One Nation’s attempt to stop this bill by having their only two members of the NSW Upper House, Mark Latham and Rod Roberts, move 249 amendments. All of them failed, every single one.

  15. Cormann’s expensive taxpayer-funded, fully staffed jaunt around Europe is totally unnecessary – the interviews are virtual.

    The interviews are virtual 🤔 pic.twitter.com/h4wiJM4F0S— Geoff Cates (@geoffreycates) November 25, 2020

    The CrimeMinister has defended the jaunt by saying it is necessary so Cormann “doesn’t get COVID”.

    A better way to make sure he doesn’t get The Plague would be to STAY HOME!!!

    Mathias Cormann’s eight full-time staff to score $383,000 OECD role
    The PM has revealed why ex-minister Mathias Cormann is flying around Europe on a taxpayer-funded private plane to try and score a new job.

  16. Nothing unusual about feeling this way – it’s a normal reaction whenever the CrimeMinister appears.

  17. Oh for frack’s sake!

    What the hell is wrong with Labor?

    ‘NSW needs the gas’: Labor backs Narrabri coal seam project

    Despite Labor grappling with internal divisions over the direction of climate and energy policy, energy spokesman Mark Butler said NSW needed the gas from the proposed $3.6 billion development.

    “NSW has relied upon other states for their gas supplies for many, many decades,” he said.

    “As their traditional supplies from Bass Strait or offshore Victorian fields drop off over coming years, as they will, NSW has to find alternative supplies and support for households, millions of which are connected to the gas network, for manufacturers and for the energy system.

    “So a new supplier like Narrabri will be important for the NSW economy and, provided it can be delivered in accordance with best environmental practice, that will be a good thing for the NSW economy.”

    Mr Butler’s words were a moment of policy unity inside the ALP


    No wonder Labor is bleeding votes to the Greens in the cities and the SFF in the country. This nonsense has to stop, now.

    Use existing gas fields in the short term, maybe, but do not support new gas drilling in precious bush areas that should be protected, not fracked.

  18. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Alexandra Smith and Lucy Cormack tell us that Gladys Berejiklian has indicated the state’s corruption watchdog will miss out on an extra $7.3 million as she defended to practice of pork barrelling.
    And Alexandra describes Berejiklian’s stunning display of hubris over the issue.
    John Faine examines the stark differences between Morrison and Andrews. A really good read, this one.
    Michael Pascoe says that it looks like the Liberal Party is out to score another own goal on superannuation, accidentally plotting the destruction of the underperforming retail super funds it has been furiously trying to protect for a couple of decades. A good article.
    Meanwhile, the super funds run by banks and financial institutions – many of them major Coalition donors – have been fleecing the public’s super on an industrial scale for at least a decade. This is the story Westpac and News Corp Australia didn’t want you to see in mid-2018 – even in the middle of a royal commission into banking illegality. Investigative reporter Anthony Klan reports.
    Professor Tony Blakely explains how Victoria got to 28 days with no new virus cases – elimination day.
    Billions of dollars in government support and record low interest rates are failing to encourage businesses to sink money into vital capital projects and new equipment as signs indicate the climb out of the coronavirus recession will be slow, explains Shane Wright.
    The Morrison government proposal to remove responsible lending obligations is ideological, not evidence-based, declares finance professor, Karen Davis.
    Defence has begun sending “show cause” notices to members of the elite special forces regiment that was subject to the Afghanistan war crimes inquiry, paving the way for them to be kicked out of the military, write Anthony Galloway and Chris Masters.
    But some retired special forces veterans are calling on officials to hold of stripping citations from potentially thousands of SAS personnel in the fallout over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
    History professor, Frank Bongiorno, says that the War Memorial must explore the darker side of Australia at war.
    Hugh White explains why he says that Morrison has misread China.
    Michelle Grattan wonders if Morrison will adopt a 2050 target before the Glasgow climate conference.
    Rob Harris reports that a landmark court ruling that confirmed some casual workers are entitled to paid leave will be challenged in the High Court after labour hire company WorkPac was granted special leave to appeal. This is heavy stuff!
    The federal government’s decision to approve Santos’ Narrabri project appears to fly in the face of policy and economics, argues natural resources law expert, Dr Madeline Taylor.
    In its gormless retaliation to Kevin Rudd’s petition asking for a Royal Commission into the Murdoch media, News Corp has unwittingly confirmed why such an inquiry is so utterly essential, say Dave Donovan and Michelle Pini.
    Euan Black has put together a big piece about Malcolm Turnbull on identity politics, Donald Trump and the Murdoch media.
    AstraZeneca is likely to conduct an additional global coronavirus vaccine trial after current studies raised questions over its level of protection. It’s “up to” 90% effective claim seems to have fallen a bit flat.
    Australia will be paying nearly $1 billion to a privatised company providing pharmaceutical products that were developed when we owned it, writes Professor John Quiggin.
    Australians returning to Melbourne will be required to undergo a coronavirus test before boarding flights and confirmed COVID-19 cases will be sent to ‘hot’ hotels when international flights resume next month.
    Will Hanmer-Lloyd explains how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers.
    According to The New York Times, some Covid-19 survivors have described teeth falling out, as well as sensitive gums and teeth turning grey or chipping.
    Around the world, the second wave of the pandemic is pushing debt levels even higher and the prospect of a return to growth even further away while continuing to shrink the global economy, writes Stephen Bartholomeusz.
    This summer is shaping up to be more dangerous, more destructive and more deadly than the last – and it won’t be because of bushfires. An active La Niña event in the Pacific is expected to peak in December or January, which normally means more fatalities and a higher level of destruction than big bushfire seasons, experts have warned.
    A new plan announced by Sussan Ley indicates the Morrison Government’s refusal to protect koalas and drive them to extinction, writes Sue Arnold.
    Former Labor MP Jude Perera has admitted that an allegedly corrupt developer wrote a submission in his name in support of a $150 million land rezoning and used his electorate office to lobby the Andrews government to approve the change. Bloody developers!
    Netflix and other global streaming services could be forced to spend millions of dollars on Australian programs and films under major changes to media laws proposed by the federal government that could level the regulatory playing field with free-to-air TV networks.
    The world is moving from a unipolar system dominated by the United States to a bipolar world. Navigating this new age of bipolarity will be the challenge of this generation, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in the 2929 Lowy Lecture.
    With new Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s vote, the US Supreme Court has blocked coronavirus restrictions imposed on religious services in New York state, backing Christian and Jewish houses of worship in infection hot spots. FFS!
    The Canberra Times editorial thinks that Joe Biden is making all the right noises in promising sense and sensibility.
    Paul Krugman is very pleased with Biden’s appointment of Janet Yellen to being Secretary of Treasury.
    Matthew Knott wonders who Trump will pardon before he leaves office. Could he even pre-emptively pardon himself?
    Ad Astra reckons Trump is a cult leader.

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox

    Mark David

    Andrew Dyson

    Peter Broelman

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    Simon Letch

    John Shakespeare

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark Knight

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  19. Oh noes, what will the guy who replaces the stolen signs do now for a living ?

    Warning: This article contains offensive language (but it’s not our fault!)

    The small Austrian town of Fucking is set to change its unfortunate name after long-suffering residents have been the butt of a number of jokes and stolen road signs.

    ……………….a local tour guide explained: “The Germans all want to see Mozart’s house in Salzburg; the Americans want to see where The Sound of Music was filmed; the Japanese want Hitler’s birthplace in Braunau; but for the British, it’s all about Fucking’


  20. “The federal government’s decision to approve Santos’ Narrabri project appears to fly in the face of policy and economics, argues natural resources law expert, Dr Madeline Taylor.”

    Yet the idiots in Labor support this flawed and unwanted project.

    What about the Great Artesian Basin, which will be contaminated and ruined by Santos? Don’t they care?

  21. God, The Project is hot garbage. I watched tonight for a few minutes where it did a “timeline of the second Covid-19 wave in Victoria”, and most of it was Liberal Party ministers whining about Dan Andrews’ efforts without challenge or interruption at the time.

    I think Jordies is spot on in calling them out for being pro-Coalition wolves dressed as leftist sheep.

    I also think the Coalition would have been quite delighted if Victoria suffered a fully out-of-control wave like the rest of the world is currently. They’d think we deserve it because most of us vote Labor. But we got through it despite their efforts to thwart us. And I’m not forgetting that any time soon.

    • Victoria has today officially eliminated the virus.

      Not one word of congratulations from any of the mob who have been baying for Dan’s blood – and that includes the CrimeMinister and Grunt.

      Congratulations, Victoria, well done!

  22. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Serious problems are piling up while Scott Morrison’s image factory works overtime and Gladys Berejiklian puts winning ahead of the electorate, writes a disgusted Katharine Murphy.
    Gladys Berejiklian’s defence of pork barrelling is only the latest serious failure of judgment, opines Anne Davies.
    The main reason the Australian economy appeared to be robustly growing was that the population was increasing by nearly 400,000 people every year, mostly due to immigration. And now that has stopped, the government’s cover has, quite suddenly, been blown, says Mike Seccombe.
    At last Simon Birmingham has SOMETHING to say about China’s games with trade.
    And Darren Gray reports that the country’s biggest wine company, Treasury Wine Estates, faces turmoil in its largest export market after Chinese regulators slapped a sudden 169.3 per cent tariff on its exports from Australia.
    Ben Oquist writes that chest-thumping diplomacy is the wrong approach from middle-ranking countries like Australia. Quite an interesting contribution.
    Paul Kelly says that Morrison has to balance competing agendas with the US and China.
    Paul Bongiorno wonders if Australia’s relationship with China can be healed. He points out that hindering Scott Morrison’s ability to repair the relationship is the uncompromising antagonism of the anti-China hawks in his government.
    China’s crackdown on Australian wine imports presents an ideal opportunity to develop a new strategy for wine and spirit exports. And the focus ought to be on India, says the AFR.
    According to Darren Lim and Victor Ferguson, a collective approach to countering Chinese economic bullying may be Australia’s best option.
    Katharine Murphy reveals that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has fired a warning shot at the Australian Conservation Foundation, asking the environment group to “immediately read the guide on political advocacy” and consider withdrawing an open letter of complaint about Angus Taylor’s lack of action on climate change.
    By defending pork barrelling, the NSW premier has exposed her inner moral compass. And it doesn’t point north, writes the AFR’s Aaron Patrick.
    The Federal Government has shaped our nation into one that goes against the Australian values it promotes, writes Bilal Cleland.
    Dr William De Maria describes the Brereton report as the very model of a modern major war crimes scandal.
    Army chief Rick Burr has told 13 special forces soldiers they will be sacked or face sanctions relating to allegations of war crimes.
    Amid the Brereton report’s findings that military reports have been ‘routinely embellished’, the IGADF is reassessing concerns raised by David Savage, a civilian who sustained serious injuries during a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in 2012, reports Karen Middleton.
    Rob Harris tells us that Chris Bowen has said Labor must do better to embrace the aspirations of suburban Australians if it has any chance of returning to government.
    Shane Wright looks at the sea of debt the states and the feds are amassing.
    In her usual excellent style, Julia Baird looks at the men who hate women and their online refuge of scoundrels.
    That gap between China and the west on digital currency could have profound consequences for control, surveillance, innovation and international sanctions, warns Eryk Bagshaw.
    Christopher Knaus reports that oil giants Santos and Comet Ridge are again pushing to explore for gas under a licence that covers land owned by Barnaby Joyce, which he said he would sell almost seven years ago, acknowledging it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
    The editorial in The Saturday Paper gets stuck into Morrison over his lack of commitment to a global effort on climate change.
    You might not like Scott Morrison’s daggy dad shtick, but it is paying off big time, says Josh Butler.
    Adam Morton explains how the Andrews budget wedges Morrison on aged care.
    Charlotte Grieve writes about the chequered performance of the ASX.
    The Independent Commission Against Corruption found the NSW government’s water policies were inconsistent with the law and “created an atmosphere that was overly favourable to irrigators”, reports Peter Hannam. ICAC was quite scathing in its findings,
    Jennifer Duke writes about how the reactions to the Productivity Commission’s report into retirement incomes demonstrates that superannuation is just about a politically divisive issue as climate change.
    The government and the opposition are walking a fine line – seeking to find policy positions that allow them to both advocate the interests of workers in the fossil fuel industry and promote the growing renewables sector. Neither is having complete success, writes Karen Middleton.
    Australians stranded overseas with little hope of getting home before Christmas say there is ‘one rule for them, and another for the PM’, who is currently quarantining at home in The Lodge.
    Dennis Atkins writes on the death of Alan Ramsay, a Canberra press legend who would have torn strips off Scott Morrison. This is a cracker!
    Lisa Visentin and Zoe Samios explain how regional TV networks have savaged the Morrison government’s proposed overhaul of the broadcast licensing system, saying the reforms will not ensure the sustainability of the struggling industry.
    Is corporate Australia tougher on relationships than Canberra’s bonk ban policy, asks Anna Patty.
    Victoria’s health department has been forced to release emails previously withheld from the hotel quarantine inquiry that reveal a bitter internal turf war about who should have been in charge of the program.
    As South Australian Premier Steven Marshall promises to ‘throw the book’ at a student who allegedly misled contact tracers, epidemiologists fear a punitive response could undermine efforts to trace and contain future outbreaks, writes The Saturday Paper’s Royce Kurmelovs.
    Andrew Tillett explains how the submarine project is drifting into very deep water.
    Opponents of Pope Francis’ push to clean up Vatican finances applied unprecedented psychological pressure and created a climate of fear in their attempt to stop George Pell and his allies investigating Swiss bank accounts which allegedly held more than $300m, according to a book chronicling events preceding the Australian cardinal’s downfall.
    The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped Israel’s appetite for land confiscation, settlement building and demolition of Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank while besieging the Gaza Strip, writes Dr Ibrahim Natil.
    A Lockheed missile blows up a bus full of Yemeni children; in Australia Lockheed Martin gains kudos by sponsoring the National Youth Science Forum. BAE Systems sponsors underprivileged kids in Australia while being complicit in the killing of thousands of needy children in Yemen. All you see in industry marketing pitches is euphemism, with nary a mention of the word “weapons”. Michelle Fahy reports.
    The number of COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals across the United States has reached 90,000 after nearly doubling in the past month, just as holiday gatherings are expected to propel the next wave of infections.
    In quite a long explanation, Nick O’Malley writes that it’s not yet clear how much damage Trump has done to the functioning of democracy, but it’s significant.
    In yet another setback for the Trump campaign, a federal appeals court has rejected a request to block President-elect Joe Biden from being declared the winner of the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
    Farrah Tomalin says that a Trump concession is becoming less relevant.
    The AFR’s editorial says that a populist quits and a President steps up.
    As Trump suffers another post-election court defeat, some Republicans worry he could depress turnout in crucial Georgia runoffs
    Chris Zappone opines that the assault on Biden’s presidency has already begun.
    The US is having its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, but its billionaires are just getting richer. It is difficult to think of a more obscene illustration of the unfairness of the American economic and political system, explains The New York Times.
    Adding to its impressive number of nominations for “Arseholes of the Week”, Crown Casino recovered voluntary payment of two weeks’ wages to staff who were stood down due to COVID-19 from taxpayers by claiming it back through the government’s JobKeeper scheme.

    Cartoon Corner

    David pope

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Mark David

    Jon Kudelka

    Mark Knight

    Johannes Leak

    John Shakespeare

    Simon Letch

    From the US

  23. Bludgecraft.

    Michael West reviews the Final Report of the parliamentary inquiry into Regulation of Auditing in Australia – actually an inquiry into the Big 4 – PWC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG. In an amazing coincidence all four are big donors to the four major political parties.

    All that time and money spent, all those hours of discussion, all the staff hours wasted – for nothing at all. Just as well hardly anyone ever bothers to read these committee reports.

    You can find a link to this report here –

  24. Gladys is not “exhausted” and the MSM need to stop their stupid “poor little Gladys” schtick. This is an evil, lying, conniving woman who is finally getting what she deserves.

    If she is making mistakes it’s for three reasons –
    1 – She has told so many lies she is struggling to keep them all together.
    2 – Guilt – only she knows how much is still to be revealed.
    3 – Terror – she knows she is going to be forced out of office.

    I can’t help comparing the sympathy, the easy ride and the media-generated excuses for appalling behaviour Gladys is getting from the media with the way Julia Gillard was treated. Particularly vicious were the media comments when her father died.

  25. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Jacqui Maley complains that It doesn’t matter how badly they stuff up, in the Morrison era politicians don’t resign. A good read.
    Jack Waterford tells us why Mathias Cormann is not right leader for the OECD. This is quite an excoriation.
    And Daniel Hurst reckons Cormann will have a hard sell, given his record on climate change.
    On the subject of bringing home Australians stranded overseas, Nicholas Stuart writes, “Rather than leading, Scott Morrison appears to have gone absent without leave. The government should be finding ways of opening hostels that could be used to temporarily house returning Australians. Instead, it seems to have gone on Christmas holidays early.”
    Katharine Murphy and Adam Morton begin this contribution with, “Scott Morrison’s language about Australia adopting an emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050, and about climate action more generally, is starting to warm up. The recent shift in the prime minister’s language invites two questions: is there a pivot under way, and is the shift real?”
    William Olsen writes that in a report released on Saturday morning by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the country’s renewable energy sector may represent one of the fastest-growing employment sectors within Australia, but also represents elements in the country’s worst employment practices as well.
    Shane Wright reports that Scott Morrison has warned of more economic challenges ahead, saying the age of certainty enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic was an aberration with more disruption caused by global competition likely to feature in coming years.
    More from Wright as he tells us that further reductions in financial support for people pushed out of work by the coronavirus pandemic could economically devastate parts of suburban Melbourne where tens of thousands of unemployed workers face a long haul back into jobs. He points to new research showing that even a $125 a week lift in the JobSeeker payment would not stop people looking for work
    Greg Jericho says that using super to fix wages growth is as disingenuous as using it to fix the housing market. He writes that so many of our policy debates are mired in bad faith that are never actually about solving the problem at hand.
    And Amy Remeikis explains how the Coalition’s changes to superannuation rules will wrap industry funds in red tape and potentially make it very difficult for people to escape from “crap” funds.
    Peter Baker reviews Ian Bersten’s book Looters ’N’ Polluters: How the Liberal Party Hoodwinked Australia.
    As 2020 has demonstrated repeatedly, crisis often brings out the best in people (and, sadly, sometimes the worst), writes Barney Zwartz.
    A Queensland man is behind bars having faced court on Saturday charged with a terrorism offence, after he allegedly sought firearms training and planned a terror attack in Bundaberg. He’s a former journalist.
    At least 60 child sexual abuse claims have been made against one of the key “holdout” organisations named and shamed by the federal government for failing to sign on to the National Redress Scheme, writes Michael McGowan. The organisation is Fairbridge, which has been controlled by the Prince’s Trust, a charity owned by Prince Charles, since 2012. It is currently dormant and under administration, and subject to dozens of claims of historical abuse dating back to well before the charity’s involvement.
    It’s been a big week for energy politics in Australia, with the nation’s biggest state economies accelerating their way down the clean energy highway, writes Peter Hannam.
    Peter FitzSimons hands out a brickbat for Gladys and a bouquet for Matt Kean. He also hands out praise to Dan Andrews for his Covid-19 response. His concluding statement on the ease of being a man is a cracker!
    Super early detection of cancer, well before symptoms become apparent, is the second-best thing to a cure – and almost as elusive. Is that about to finally change with a simple blood test? John Elder looks at a new British test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer at an early stage – including ovarian and pancreatic cancers for which there are no early detection tests, and which prove lethal more often than not.
    James S Kunen wonders what on earth we will talk about after Donald Trump. He has a few ideas.
    The assassination of the country’s top nuclear expert raises fears that the outgoing US president is determined to take further action posits Simon Tisdall.
    The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency has been accused of “siding with Iranian zealots” – after he labelled the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist as a “criminal act” and “state-sponsored terrorism.”
    Today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week” goes to these leeches.

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    Matt Davisdon

    Matt Golding

    Mark Golding

    From the US

  26. Two articles that should be read together.

    Australia’s Covid vaccines: everything you need to know
    Analysis: As pharmaceutical companies release trial results, many questions remain about controlling coronavirus. Here is what we know

    And –

    UK could roll out Pfizer coronavirus vaccine next week: Report

    To me this rush to find a vaccine is going to end in tears. None of the four vaccines have been adequately tested yet, but they are being rushed into production and release without anyone understanding how long they will be effective or if there are potentially dangerous effects further down the track.

    As I’m old and have an auto-immune condition I’ll be eligible for early immunisation, but I think I’ll wait. I’m not going to rush into something that has not been fully tested or where the results of phase 3 trials are being withheld by the manufacturers. Don’t we deserve to know all the facts?

    Phase 3 testing can take a few years yet we are told these vaccines are perfectly safe after a few months of rushed development..

    These articles, and all the others I have read, do not mention Phase 4 – that comes after vaccines have been released to the general population.This phase monitors use of the vaccines for adverse effects. Those getting the vaccines first will be guinea pigs, lab rats.


    • Same applies to everything else China now refuses to buy from Australia –

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