The Australian’s Big Blue Pencil (part two)

There is much to dislike about the Albanese government’s proposed misinformation bill.  But at least it spares mainstream media organisations from its malignant reach. So why, you might wonder, would a broadsheet, such as, say, The Australian, voluntarily submit itself to the same Orwellian standards users of  internet social media platforms will endure under that legislation?

What prompted this thought was a recent experience I had posting an online comment to a letter to the editor by one Krystyna Lynch of Floreat, WA, reproduced below:

I wonder if Jacinta Nampijinpa Price knows her proposal, that Indigenous Australians virtually merge with white Australians in the interests of unity, was once part of the thinking of the government.

It was the driving force behind the Stolen Generation.

A target worth engaging, I’m sure you will agree.  So here was my comment:

Her proposal is not in the ‘interest of unity’ but in the interest of the advancement of the 20% of Aborigines who are still lead severely dysfunctional lives.

 It was the modern world, not colonisation, that traumatized Aboriginal society —  and the modern world was always going to arrive here one way or another.  Price wants to bring all Aborigines into the modern world.  The alternative is something like Brave New World’s native reservation.

I know Aldous Huxley’s term was ‘Savage Reservation’ but I thought that might be deemed offensive, so I used a bit of literary license. My comment was rejected, so I resubmitted it without the Huxley reference.

This time it was accepted and attracted 24 ‘likes’ before it was taken down, rejected once again. This intrigued me.  I could see nothing objectionable in my comment, so I read, not for the first time, The Australian’s comment guidelines:

Our comments section is a place for healthy, constructive and challenging conversations. The basic rules are simple – we encourage you to share your views, but be respectful of your fellow commenters. We don’t allow abuse, racism, sexism, predatory behaviour, trolls, threats, spam, ALL CAPS, or hyperlinks to other sites.

This comment from another Australian reader was accepted:

Krystyna Lynch, you have misinterpreted Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s speech. She was certainly not advocating that Indigenous people “merge with white Australians.

My comment breached none of the above rules, and it could not have been rejected because of my objection to Lynch’s claim about “merging with white Australians”.  So, I can only surmise it was rejected by a more senior comments editor who objected to my contention that colonisation is not the reason for disadvantage among today’s Aboriginal people, generations removed from 1788.  In other words, he/she classified my opinion as ‘misinformation’. 

Here is another example of a deep-sixed  comment in response to one of Chris Kenny’s articles in which he claimed, inter alia, to not be a member of the Yes campaign:

“If the No case wants to argue we should have no special representation, laws or programs for Indigenous people.”

That is NOT what the No Case argues.  It is arguing that we should have no special representation entrenched in the Constitution.  And as a high-profile print and TV journalist who has vociferously championed the cause, and criticized No campaigners, you are certainly a member of the Yes campaign.

And another:

Kudos to you, Chris, for actually responding to comments.  But why do you confine yourself to responding to one-liners, rather than even just one of the hundreds of substantive and detailed rebuttals of your arguments?

Many Quadrant readers have noticed the same thing, posting scores of their inexplicably rejected thoughts on this thread, The Australian and its big blue pencil.

Here’s another recently spiked comment, this one from my brother, Brendan:

We had nothing to lose from the apology and nothing to lose from the Mabo decision either. But now we have 3 flags (an unambiguous sign of a divided nation), we are unable to climb Mt Warning (because we are not the right race) and there are almost 40,000 outstanding land claims within NSW alone.  Even if the majority are declined, I shudder to think of the cost involved in the assessment of them all.

If The Australian sees its Comments Section as ‘a place for healthy, constructive and challenging conversations’ then perhaps its moderators should leave their own opinions out of it and practice some consistency by adhering to the guidelines.  Subscribers deserve to have their contributions treated seriously. 

I would like to conclude this, admittedly, rather self-indulgent rant with the latest instalment.  Today’s Australian had this letter from one Martin Bell of Balgowlah NSW:

The root of racism is an inability to see. Impaired vision causes fear to gain currency. Thus we see fearmongering dominate an incoherent No case.

Peter Dutton is perfect to champion a cause born of ignorance, given his lack of vision. His record of failure is inextricably linked to his inability to see. Unable to see, he is unable to lead. Beleaguered by doubt and fear, Dutton marches the Coalition into ever increasing darkness.

My comment, rejected of course:

“Peter Dutton is perfect to champion a cause born of ignorance, given his lack of vision. His record of failure is inextricably linked to his inability to see. Unable to see, he is unable to lead. Beleaguered by doubt and fear, Dutton marches the Coalition into ever increasing darkness.”

If I were to post this invective as a comment, would it be accepted?

The lesson?  If you want to unleash in the pages of The Australian, don’t post a comment.  Be like Krystyna Lynch of WA and Martin Bell of NSW and write a letter to the Editor.

107 thoughts on “The Australian’s Big Blue Pencil (part two)

  • Tony Tea says:

    This comment was spiked on Saturday: “Come one, Brendan. Langton wasn’t calling people racist and stupid, she was saying their racist and stupid opinions are racist and stupid. Clear now?”

  • norsaint says:

    This is exactly why I cancelled my subscription to the Oz over three years ago and I must say, I haven’t missed it a bit. I can barely pick it up now, let alone any other newspaper, when wandering into a library.
    Gideon Haigh was always worth reading and Mitchell too but that was about it.

    • pgang says:

      Same. Although Haigh often disappointed with his virtue signalling. Besides, it’s more of an opinion magazine than a newspaper these days.
      I am finding that it is incredibly hard to access current affairs news in Australia. It is necessary to trawl through many obscure sources, which makes it hardly worth the effort. I generally rely on my wife’s takes from the local radio which she listens to during her commute.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Me also about three years ago, same attitude as yours and can’t be bothered glancing at more than the headlines. One wonders why the Australian and other Murdoch newspapers even bother to have a comments section. The Australian in particular is following in the footsteps of those once great publications of The Age and SMH and now is only good as a wrapping for kitchen waste, garbage wrapping for garbage.

      • Ken Seton says:

        You neglected an important usage and reason we might still occasionally buy these rags. The poorer the quality of a newspaper, the better it is for lighting up the bbq or fireplace. This makes the SMH perfect.

  • Sindri says:

    I have a suspicion that the Oz’s notoriously inconsistent and bizarre spiking of comments is not because of ideological directives, but rather because the overriding priority is to avoid the ruinous costs of defamation or discrimination litigation. Articles (and letters I suspect) are “legalled” by experienced people and if necessary by lawyers, but the comments are in all probability given to junior people who are told that the only priority is the avoidance of litigation, and who have no skill or experience in the area.
    If someone “reported” that comment after it got 24 likes, Peter, it was probably assessed and removed by some such wet behind the ears person who knew no better.
    I don’t have any firm evidence of this but I know how newspapers work and incompetence is always a more likely explanation than conspiracy.

    • Sindri says:

      But yes, in addition the Oz is ludicrously sensitive about comments criticizing its own journalists, which needs to be called out and laughed at.

      • lbloveday says:

        The boss man explained that to me:
        ” I believe I have mentioned before that while we are very grateful for readers who point out typos and errors that slip through, we don’t publish those comments and they become confusing and redundant once the error is corrected”.

      • DougD says:

        And the Oz is ludicrously sensitive to comments quoting the Oz itself if the Oz would prefer to forget it had ever published what it now seems to reject it once said. eg “7 Sept 23 My comment on today’s article, “Marcia Langton says the government must explain what happens if the Indigenous voice to parliament vote fails” consisted entirely of a quote by Mark Koolmatrie published in The Australian on 8 July 2020. Why is accurately quoting The Australian itself in breach of The Australian’s comment guidelines?” Murdoch seems of course to be motivated only by where opinions conform to where the money currently is.

      • BalancedObservation says:


        ” … the Oz is ludicrously sensitive about comments criticizing its own journalists, which needs to be called out and laughed at.”
        I think that’s probably not only the Oz professional moderators but the individual journalists moderating or having a hand in the moderation of comments on their own articles because I’ve noticed it happens a lot more with certain journalists than others. And the unethical internal journalistic culture allows it to happen.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    norsaint, as another frequently rejected commenter, I am always within millimetres of cancelling my subscription because of the totally inconsistent policies of the moderators. Then, I wonder how I could manage without the sanity of their columnists such as Janet Albrechtsen, Greg Sheridan, Gideon Haigh and some others. I’d go nuts.

    • lbloveday says:

      Yet they regularly allow this type of comment:
      Ian, you may be in for a surprise. Electricity from waste (WTE) is about to enter Australia and it will be generated directly in the home via a microgrid using a renewable net zero emissions gas made using waste, meaning that all of the wholesale, retail, grid charges, and daily service charges will drop away and the electricity cost will drop down to 18 cents per kWh for the first 4 years then once the cost of the microgrid has been amortized it will fall back to 16 cents/kWh.
      It’s here already.

      • lbloveday says:

        And this:
        7 hours ago
        It beats me why the Liberal Party keep unearthing the old fossil John Howard, and putting up as a new age guru on all the ills that the party faces.
        Howard was past his use by date when he not only lost a general election, he lost his own seat in the election.
        put him back into whatever retirement home you found him in.

    • norsaint says:

      Yeah fair enough Tom. I would like to have seen Janet A’s exposure of the Drumgold fiasco too and of course Haigh’s take on cricket. Another thing which contributed to me bailing out was what looked like a decision to start taking the climate hoax seriously.
      And of course I have no doubt the paper disgraced itself during the “virus” farce.

    • john mac says:

      Haigh and Sheridan are two reasons why I barely read the Oz anymore .

  • lbloveday says:

    If you had a comment rejected during the Covidiocy, this from the boss man may explain why:
    “A lot of the people yelling loudest about censorship are the ones who want to peddle the latest anti vaxxer conspiracy theories and assorted other tinfoil hat stuff that we won’t be a forum for.”

    • guilfoyle says:

      “Jack the Insider” spent a lot of the Covid time doing hysterical pieces on “anti-vaxxers” as though people who made decisions regarding their own health were mountain dwellers surrounded by guns, with no teeth. I took exception to the lack of nuance, disguised as moral outrage, at the selfish refusal by such ‘anti-vaxxers’ to participate in an experiment with unknown chemicals in their bodies – I say this as a person who is vaccinated. My comments to the Australian on this, of course, were disallowed, so each time I would write direct.
      The tactic of blanket dismissal by categorising people without articulating their arguments or case for their position is repeated with every single issue that is part of the mainstream push. There is a suspicious uniformity in the responses by each main stream outlet to every one of the points that are suddenly hysterically important.
      To me, this signals socialist tactics – disinformation is a major weapon in the socialist arsenal, as is censorship-hence the use of censorship to counter true discussion and the labelling of such discussion as ‘disinformation’. Tactics of (what used to be Soviet disinformation operatives) are the pushing of an argument and, when the argument is shown to have no basis, moving on to another without withdrawing the original argument and then returning to the original argument as though it had not been refuted.
      These operations are complex and require some level of skill. They used to be highly trained groups within the KGB. Now, of course, they are simply employees in corporations behoven to fund providers or ‘philanthropists’ who leverage their world views.
      Which brings me to my problem with the main stream media – mentioned in comments above: previously great newspapers such as SMH, or broadcasters such as the ABC, have traded on the goodwill of their previous, good journalists. If newspapers are to have any relevance, to have a role, it is to present and discuss the complex issues. Like the other commenters here, I abandoned the SMH many years ago and have not watched the ABC for 15 or so years. These representatives of the MSM obviously see themselves as purveyors of propaganda (couched as educating the masses). If that is how they view the role of a journalist, they are performing the role of Pravda. There is no reason any person, right or left, would purchase media that simply performs the role of propaganda disseminator.
      The SMH, I am told, loses many millions each week. The ABC is propped up by our taxes. Who is paying the SMH debit and why? Is it performing the role of Douglas Hyde’s communist newspaper during WWII Britain?
      An honest media is terribly important to our democracy. And our democracy has pillars upon which it is grounded that are vulnerable when the discussion becomes distorted. The failure of many journalists to articulate the factual failings of the case against Cardinal Pell in that travesty of a trial reveal the fragility of our legal system and the vulnerability of our democratic process. To be fair, some articles defended Pell in the Australian- Greg Craven, Tess Livingstone, Father Frank Brennan. This is to be compared with repetition of ‘victim’ solicitor spin reproduced unquestioningly by John Ferguson – all adding to the lynching mentality in the general community, Catholic and -non-Catholic. Of course, the role of the SMH and the ABC in the creation of a grave injustice went far beyond mere cowardice – they were active creators of a climate of vicious hatred that enabled the persecution and imprisonment of an innocent man – with no qualms. (It is ironic how it is these people, so full of hatred, are so quick to label ‘hate speech’).
      However, we were saved by Quadrant: it the calibre of articles in Quadrant by Keith Windshuttle and Chris Friels that truly did the work of good journalism. For that, I am eternally grateful.

  • lbloveday says:

    A comment quoting from The Australian, in full:
    From Greg Sheridan, The Australian 17/7/2021:

    Whitlam replied: “I’m not having those f..king Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their religious and political prejudices against us.”
    was rejected and the boss man explained:
    Hi LB. The comment guidelines point out that we don’t allow profanity in comments, in full or starred out, even if it’s from an actual quote in a story.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Chris, there is NO gaping hole in our Constitution, it was filled in in 1967. You just want to make another hole. Stop digging.

    There is NO gaping hole in our Constitution, it was filled in in 1967. YES wants to dig another hole.

    • rosross says:

      There was no gaping hole in the Constitution in 1967. That referendum was about transferring power and responsibility for tribal aborigines from States to Federal Government. Even in the Sixties, Australians with aboriginal ancestry did not generally identify as aborigines. They were Australians. There was no hole to fill and none was filled in 1967.

      There is however a gaping hole left by the many lies told to win the 67 Referendum which are now held as truths by those who should know better including historians and academics.

  • March says:

    Some recent rejected…

    If in court I demand that my case be heard by Anglo atheist males with libertarian views.

    Story: ‘Give defendants Indigenous jurors’

    Not certain what the point of this article is other than fan worship from the author.

    Story: Professor calls it as she sees it

  • lbloveday says:

    Quote: We don’t allow abuse, racism, sexism, predatory behaviour, trolls, threats, spam, ALL CAPS, or hyperlinks to other sites.
    But they do, just not from me and thee:
    The boss man replied to my pointing to specific examples of them rejecting a hyperlink from me but accepting from another:
    Hi LB. Links aren’t banned per se but it’s at the discretion of the mods. If they are too busy to check whether a link is legit or not they will likely reject the comment.

  • norsaint says:

    I’m sure the moderators are adolescent work-experience kiddies.

  • Rob H says:

    What amazes me is why you continue to read the Australian.

    • lbloveday says:

      Where else can I read:

      Janet Albrechtsen
      Nick Cater
      Henry Ergas
      Claire Lehmann
      Chris Mitchell
      Terry McCrann
      Judith Sloan
      the Shanahans, particularly Angela
      Hedley Thomas
      Steve Waterson

      They alone are well worth the subscription – TO ME; I don’t speak for or even recommend to others.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        lb, add Gerard Henderson and you certainly speak for me.
        Troy Bramston gets right up my nose most of the time, and Paul Kelly does whenever he gets on his Kerr/Whitlam hobby horse. But they are the costs you pay to have a balanced discussion.

        • lbloveday says:

          I read Henderson’s Media Watchdog on his site before it hits The Australian, and sent him an email disagreeing with his assertion that “interviewed every PM since Menzies” included having interviewed Menzies.
          In his subsequent MW, he mocked me by name for not understanding English grammar, insisting that obviously he was right. My understanding of common usage, backed up by dictionary definitions, is that “since” refers to the intervening period between the time mentioned and the present”. The moderator rejected my comment. That’s really protecting their writers; he can mock me in their paper but they refuse me the right of reply.
          But they accepted a comment from another who pointed out that Henderson, not I, was wrong by saying along the lines, “using your logic, saying there has been no use of nuclear bombs since Hiroshima and Nagasaki would mean they were not bombed”

          • BalancedObservation says:


            The main issue there is not grammar but a lack of ethics. If someone is publicly and personally named and criticised in an article they should be given the right of reply, ideally in the paper where it was made but certainly in a comment posted to a relevant article.
            The subject of that exchange is an extremely minor issue but in my opinion it does happen to be a reflection of the petty arrogance of some journalists. An arrogance which is encouraged by a lack of accountability and a culture which permits a deliberate suppressing of opinions.
            From my experience there were a few journalists at The Australian whose articles you’d be far more likely to get censored posting to. I suspect they’re involved in the moderation of comments on their own articles. That should be an independent function.
            On the face of this the fact that a journalist is quite comfortable being as incredibly petty as that and a reasonable response is so blatantly censored shows just how far the culture of suppressing views has gone.

      • Farnswort says:

        Albrechtsen, Cater, Ergas, Lehmann, Sloan and McCrann are worth reading. The Oz also publishes occasional columns by national treasure Geoffrey Blainey and taboo-slayer Douglas Murray. These are usually must-reads. But the Oz also publishes a lot of rubbish. Troy Bramston is dreadful and Paul Kelly is a windbag.

        • lbloveday says:

          “Troy Bramston is dreadful and Paul Kelly is a windbag”.
          Agree – so I don’t read those two at all, along with Adams and Gemmell – don’t even look at the topic. Some others I scan and usually don’t read.
          It’s no big deal having rubbish included in what I pay for.

        • pgang says:

          … but not worth the subscription cost. Again it’s commentary, not news, and there’s plenty of that around.

      • Anne Le Fevre says:

        My feelings also but especially Janet Albrechtsen and Henry Ergas. Both my husband and I appear to be blackballed by the comments editors. The comment above re letters versus comments makes a valid point.

  • geoff_brown1 says:

    I’ve had comments posted, draw several likes, then go down the memory hole…

    • lbloveday says:

      I bagged Plibersek’s drug smuggler husband, made Director-General of the NSW Department of Education shortly after serving less than 3 years of an already lenient 9 year sentence, while no one with his criminal record would be allowed in a classroom.
      Plenty of likes really quickly, then vanished. Did Plibersek’s staff get onto it?

      • Brian Boru says:

        Michael Coutts-Trotter, Plibersek’s husband’s career would have to be a triumph for rehabilitation.
        When I read your comment about bagging him I did a search to confirm the facts. I was quite prepared to be shocked and to condemn. Instead I found evidence of a person who has apparently redeemed himself and gained the respect of both sides of NSW politics.
        I do not know the context of your Australian post and concede that it may have been appropriate. However from my observation I would have been more likely to praise the man and the society that has enabled his success.

        • lbloveday says:

          Did you find any acceptable reason for him serving less than 1/3 of his sentence? I don’t know much about the parole system, but read that he said “I spent nearly three years in jail and then around 18 months on parole”. So, a combined time in jail and on parole of well under half his Court-ordered sentence.
          Isn’t that effectively commutation? Like a successful appeal against the severity of the sentence without a trial?

          • Brian Boru says:

            No I didn’t, but I guess the NSW parole board did on that occasion.
            His words on the news dot com dot au website; “When I say I was lucky, I mean I was really lucky. I was given bail and the police were prepared to extend bail while I was in rehab and making some changes,” I guess that means that the police, to their credit, saw potential for redemption and he took the opportunity to turn himself around. Guessing again, when he went into prison he must have been clean and impressed the powers whilst inside as to the likelihood of keeping to the right path.
            Thank you lbloveday for coming back to me. I guess in this its a balance between, deterrence, punishment and redemption. Whilst you and I may have thought he should have served longer, others on the spot with the responsibility to make the judgement saw it differently. It looks like they were right.

  • Another Richard Harrison says:

    One of the latest of my comments to be rejected was in response to the proposal for jury-stacking in trials of Aboriginals. Dressing in full hood-and-robe and clutching my copy of Mein Kampf, I thundered: “The unsoundness of this proposal can be understood if you search on the Internet for ‘Bronx jury’ and sample the stories that result.” Just dripping with hate!

  • rosross says:

    Unfortunately so much in the media is computerised and any subs or moderators who do exist are incapable of much rational though, which is why censorship is so common.

    Yes, assimilation of native peoples was the policy in the past as it remains today for migrants and indeed, if we think about it, children, for there is no future without becoming an assimilated and fully integrated part of the broader community and the modern world. The fantasy that some faux hybrid of a traditional stone-age hunter-gatherer life can be maintained is a tragedy for the children who remain trapped in such delusions.

    There was however, by British Governments in the 19th century of seeking to preserve aboriginal peoples. Quite why they would think that was a good idea is the question but the colonies had hard taskmasters in the very distant and idealistic British public and their masters.

    The assimilation policy was applied to those who were half caste, and considered even more necessary if they were a quarter or an eighth and had not yet assimilated into the broader community. Particularly in the case of females.

    The logic behind this was, that since someone half Aboriginal and half European, was at risk in their Aboriginal community, they had the option of joining the other. Like most cultures, particularly those less developed and enlightened, part-aboriginal children if not killed at birth for breaking skin traditions by the fact of their existence, were often neglected and abused. The females particularly so. Women in aboriginal cultures were little more than slaves and powerless to protect their children. This no doubt is why, when case records are accessed it is commonly found that the mother has signed her child into care.

    Also worth knowing that the British considered someone half Aboriginal and half European to be European unless they opted to remain living a tribal life, in which case they came under different regulations and were eligible for more benefits.

    The goal however was for all ultimately to assimilate into the modern world. Why was that a bad thing? We spend billions globally in the West today trying to help less developed peoples join the modern world. That means assimilate into the modern world. And yet the British are condemned for their advanced enlightened thinking in wanting to do the same with the native peoples of the lands they colonised.

    We know assimilation works because we have two centuries of its success staring us in the fact. The most successful Australians with aboriginal ancestry are those who are assimilated into the modern world and have been for generations. The likes of Linda Burney, Ken Wyatt, Lidia Thorpe, Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Stan Grant, just a few of many, are where they are because their ancestors were colonised and assimilated into the modern world.

    It is a reality that humans have a capacity to hold two conflicting views at one and the same time, but the demonisation of the practice of assimilation is totally irrational by those who have clearly benefited from assimilation.

    Another reality is that there is no place for stone-age hunter-gatherer living in our modern world and indeed there was not from 1788. Aborigines were as smart as anyone else and they knew when they were onto a good thing. The first aborigine to accept or steal an iron axe or blanket was assimilating, as were those who noted broken glass made a better spear tip and sheep and cows were much easier to kill than kangaroos.

    But, never let facts get in the way of propaganda is the modus operandi of the aboriginal industry. Always was, always will be.

  • Jackson says:

    We need to start a dedicated ongoing thread for people to post their Rejected Oz comments.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Thanks for this article Peter Smith. It’s not self indulgent at all. It’s a very important article. And your detail is needed to illustrate the nature of the problem.
    It’s important to publish this criticism of The Australian because it is such a vital media outlet for Australia. Without it and the Murdoch media generally we’d have very little coverage of conservative opinion or in fact any real diversity ( in the true sense of the word) of opinion in the mainstream print media. We would be a lot worse off in Australia without the often demonised Rupert Murdoch’s presence over all these years. I’m very grateful for it.
    The Australian actually tells you a posted comment is rejected. There’s an audit trail of rejections – unlike other media where your post just disappears into a void. That aspect of posting is honest and transparent and The Australian is clearly taking responsibility for the rejection. But it’s downhill from there.
    In my opinion there are three sources of unacceptable bias at The Australian in censoring posts:
    1. Your post effectively and logically debunks what a columnist argues. In my opinion this seemed to be much more prevalent for one or two writers in particular.
    2. Your post conflicts with the current generally held position of the paper on say a particular issue or politician.
    3. You’re unfortunate enough to strike a biased moderator, running their own line in bias. I seemed for example to find this particularly on the marriage equality issue.
    In my opinion an unacceptable rejection is one which rejects a post which clearly conforms with the guidelines. And I’d argue such rejections breach the implied conditions which are part of the contract you have with The Australian. Obviously The Australian doesn’t see it that way.
    There’s also another problem at the Australian with how long your comment is held in pending – some seem to not get rejected but were held in virtually permanent pending.
    However while I found the level of rejections that I got at the Australian far too high to continue to justify a subscription it was nowhere near as bad as that with the left of centre press mainstream media. I’ve had only one comment successfully posted in a year with them. And that’s after posting regularly. I’ve all but given up now.
    It makes me question how much is unacceptably censored that other people post.
    And worse still what is censored in news reporting to suit a particular biased point of view, especially on important issues at election times?

    • BalancedObservation says:

      Sorry Peter O’Brien. I wrote Peter Smith by mistake.
      Thanks again for a very important article.

    • lbloveday says:

      “unlike other media where your post just disappears into a void”
      The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Advertiser and Courier Mail do the same as The Australian.
      The Daily Telegraph, who way back published 9 consecutive Letters to the Editor from me in the print copy now are harsher on my digital comments than The Australian. What basis could they have for rejecting this comment other than a bias against the author?.
      What happened to Mrs Nowland was terrible, but to term the elderly as “society’s most vulnerable” is wrong – babies are clearly more vulnerable.

      • BalancedObservation says:

        lbloveday, thanks for your comment.
        Good point. I was referring to the non Murdoch media. I guess the Murdoch media use the same system.
        And I agree your comment you refer to has to be right.
        But unlike you I’ve given up subscribing to any media which continues to unacceptably censor my comments. I buy The Weekend Australian hard copy and some other papers. But I don’t subscribe. Last time I tried again with the Australian my subscription only lasted a day before I cancelled it.
        It’s just not worth the effort trying to get comments published in our biased mainstream media. And judging by comments here there are a lot more people like me.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Oh and I wouldn’t ascribe the unacceptable censorship of comments down to Rupert Murdoch.
    I’m sure he’s much more busy with other stuff.
    And perhaps more importantly I can’t recall ever getting a comment censored at the Wall Street Journal which is in his stable.
    In my opinion the unacceptable level of censorship at The Australian is probably purely a problem with Australian management.

    • lbloveday says:

      I suspect Sarah Murdoch has a big influence in The Australian’s leftwards shift.

      • BalancedObservation says:

        The way I see it the leftward shift of the paper is not quite the same issue. Regardless of what position The Australian takes editorially or in opinion pieces a comment which conforms with its guidelines should get published. Not to publish such comments is unacceptable.
        Of course if The Australian and other Murdoch media wind up going too far to the left it’s goodbye for conservative opinion in the mainstream media in Australia. That would be a big blow to diversity of opinion in Australia.
        I wouldn’t have a clue what influence Sarah Murdoch has but she does seem a very beautiful and intelligent woman to me and I’d hope she doesn’t want to reduce the diversity of opinion in the mainstream media in Australia. Everybody would be worse off if that happens.
        And I’d hope if she does have any influence she’ll use it to help ensure opinion posts by readers get published if they conform with the The Australian’s guidelines. That’s the ethical thing to do.

        • lbloveday says:

          Here comes Sarah!
          Rupert Murdoch to step down as executive chair of News Corp, co-chair of Fox.
          The 92-year-old will exit roles atop News Corp and Fox and will be appointed chairman emeritus with his son Lachlan taking over as sole chair of both companies.

          • BalancedObservation says:

            On the other hand maybe he’s retiring to give himself time to improve free speech in The Australian – the newspaper he personally was responsible for starting from scratch.
            Moderators beware!

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    An indulgence fm the blue pencil of Quadrant is requested for as someone past four score years and a bit I would like to thank all the commentators in the above for I had thought that the “real” or almost “real” Australians had long died out along with my light horsemen and WW2 folks but commentators to Quadrant prove that is not so. You know, you grow up in the bush where people speak their minds, you go away to the big smoke of the World and claw yr way up the greasy pole to the top of yr profession, a hard task when you tell it like it is for everyone watches their “P’s” and “Q’s” bow and scrape etc, and you look askance at the bread and circuses when you return to Australia as in the main topic of conversation in Sydney is the worth of ones hovel, in Melbourne the footy, in the UK it was Brexit tho many of the anti Brexit folk didn’t bother to cast a vote, in other countries it was like stuff, and so you decide to retire to an agrian environment in Australia yr forefathers fm Europe and Ireland settled in the 1860’s and you discover the place is filled with very “real” Australians who speak their mind, who tell it like it is, rubbish and damn politicians to hell and gone as required, and at last feel comfortable in yr skin again.

    • vickisanderson says:

      Botswana – I hope your agrarian paradise does not become contaminated by the Greenies & Lefties fleeing the city – as happens so often in country regions within 3 hours of the main cities.

  • Just a Bloke says:

    Was a time when I subscribed to The Australian, the SMH and the Fin Review. . I dropped the SMH first, then the Fin Review as I realised I wasn’t reading unbiased journalism.. I’m at the stage with the Australian where I often read the comments after the head line. If I comment I almost know what is going to be rejected now. It’s a joke. I’ve seen Eddie Jones on TV ads saying he’s out to prove Dads wrong about the Wallabies. After the Fiji loss I commented ” It looks like the Dads were right” Rejected.
    Not sure when I’ll pull the pin on the Australian but it’s close.

  • March says:

    This Letter failed to make an impression…

    BOM declare an El Nino.. In other words, the Dorothea Mackellar Index (DMI) has moved to its positive phase and we are once again in the drought part of the stanza.

    Instead more Climate Alarm from the gloom and doomers.

  • John C says:

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think The Australian has outsourced monitoring of comments to a service based in New Zealand. Would this explain how much the monitoring is at odds with the overall editorial policy and with the leading columnists such as Janet Albrechtson and Greg Sheridan?

  • March says:

    Last year I had an on line comment rejected but then resubmitted as a Letter and it was published.

    Like others my subscription is hanging on a thread.

  • Davidovich says:

    It is a relief to know that the censors at The Australian are consistent in their irrational rejection of comments from so many thoughtful people. My wife asks me why I keep on adding comments when so many of them get rejected for reasons unfathomable. I like to keep the censors busy and very occasionally I get a complaint upheld but then it is published too late to really join the conversation.
    As observed above, pending acceptance of a comment can go on for many hours so I often complain about that too. There must also be certain words that automatically trigger a rejection eg during the Covid panic, Ivermectin bad but antiviral medication good.
    Overall, frustrating though their comments censors are, there are very good journalists writing for The Australian as mentioned by readers above plus Johannes Leake’s well-crafted cartoons along with Spooner are always enjoyable.

  • Maryse Usher says:

    When Henry Ergas was the only writer I could bear to read in the Oz during Covid, I bailed …but was unable to cancel my sub without talking to a paid dissuader. I did all the talking. Poor bugger admitted to me in a sympathetic tone he never read the paper.
    A long mutual lament with a retired News Ltd editor agreed about the sad reality: the media is run by children programmed at uni and tafe to churn out woke. They don’t know what they dont know and its all misinformation anyway.

  • Stephen says:

    I’ve had many comments accepted and also quite a few rejected. In the beginning I would email them and ask for an explanation for rejection but only ever received one reply that said it shouldn’t have been rejected. Other requests for explanations have gone without reply.
    In one of my earliest comments about the voice I said I wanted a voice for both left handers and short people and that I would qualify for both. It was accepted.
    This one from last week was rejected-
    I want a voice for left handers. It’s time that the terrible tyranny imposed on left handers by the right handed majority is over thrown. What do we want? Gradual Change! When do we want? In due course!
    Can any one explain why it was rejected? Lame attempts at humor aren’t outlawed in the guidelines!
    My suggestions to the Oz is that any time a comment is rejected they should post their reasons next to the rejected comment so the subscriber has immediate feed back.

  • vic of gero says:

    May I diverge slightly from the topic to say there are two things I love about Quadrant Online and for that matter Spectator Australia. First, you get information on subjects such as climate change, gender issues, current affairs etc that other news providers ignore or use in small dollops and secondly, my comments are almost always published.

    Now, it should be noted that while I think climate change is bunkum, a man is a man and a woman is a woman (with almost no exceptions) and our government spends way too much money on way too many useless things, paid for by taxes that are way too high and immigration levels way beyond what’s sensible, I am on the outer for some other opinions.

    For instance I maintain Tony Abbott is a good bloke but was an inept Prime Minister, I believe in Unions for the overall good they’ve done and I like the ABC though it needs to be downsized and restructured so it follows its charter and is actually balanced,

    I am however banned from commenting on the Independent Australia site because they ran an article bemoaning the fact so many indigenous Australians are imprisoned, a great many more proportionally than the rest of us. I wrote and said that while social and other reasons contributed, the reality is far too many indigenous people repeatedly break the law, end up before the courts and eventually, there is no recourse but prison. Independent Australia sent me an email telling me what a horrible person I am. That was about four years ago. I am still banned.

    The Guardian also keeps an eye on me. Even my most recent submission about the rugby world cup was vetted or to use their term, moderated.

    I commented not long ago on why I oppose The Voice. That never got a run though I chose my words carefully. The column on which I commented drew many responses, almost all supportive of The Voice and often the theme was it will, if voted in (thankfully it won’t be) be a game changer for indigenous Australians doing it tough. They actually believe that. But then they also believe we can run a modern economy with magic fairy dust for fuel.

    • Tony Tea says:

      Change your name to Vic of Pending and see if you comment is pending. Nearly all my comments now spend hours in the pending naughty corner and only ever appear well after the article and comments have fallen asleep and I’ve missed all the fun.

  • Sanchismo says:

    I suspect that letters to the editor of The Australian are vetted by someone fairly senior while online comments go to a team of juniors, some of whom have their own extra censorship agenda.

  • Steve Christie says:

    Another trick the Australia undertakes is this – if your comment cannot justifiably be rejected, but does not fit their narrative. In that case they hold off approval/release for some hours, then they put it in the comments queue at a point hours ago, so no one really sees it. I persevere though – as perhaps we at least put some cracks in the otherwise invincible helmets of ignorance the presumably younger staff members doing this work acquired at University with their useless journalist degrees and accompanying student debt.

    • lbloveday says:

      The Daily Telegraph does that; can be a day before acceptance. I’ve presumed that is so to get the comment count up but as you say “so no one really sees it”.

  • Margaret O says:

    Any time I have submitted a comment regarding the rate of abortion in Australia, in relation to our demographic collapse and the subsequent need for immigrants, it is rejected.
    The other taboo is to question the heartless acceptance of childcare for little babies and young children.

    • BalancedObservation says:

      Margaret O
      The censorship of your posts on the subject of abortion is unlikely to be due to incompetence, technology or outsourcing to New Zealand as some have ascribed the censorship of posts to to but rather a cultural bias or management policy within the paper to suppress your opinion on the subject.
      It probably helps explain why we don’t hear opinions like yours very often these days in the mainstream media. It’s probably not because people don’t have them. It’s probably because they’re suppressed.

  • lbloveday says:

    This got past The Australian’s moderator today; a bit extreme, but similar to what I have been ridiculed for saying.
    Let this pass and establish the voice.
    Dutton and the Liberals come to the next election promising to call for another referendum to abolish it.
    The Liberals will win every seat in the house.

  • Gary Kirk says:

    If all of us who have had reasonable comments rejected by the News Limited papers, along with all of those who don’t comment but whose views would certainly be rejected, formed a political party, we would have almost instantaneous success.

    That’s not going to happen though, until we stop clinging to the Coalition in the hopes they will rediscover Menzies’ vision. Alternatively, rather than form a whole new party, we could throw our support behind the freedom supporting minor parties, maybe even one day uniting them all as one party, again in accordance with Menzies’ vision of a party to oppose socialism.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    I think it’s not really helpful to see this level of censorship and manipulation of opinion as a left-right phenomenon. There’s a far great principle at stake here: the integrity of our mainstream media. This is certainly not just a problem with The Australian but our mainstream media generally.
    There’s a systemic lack of integrity in what is happening. It’s a problem in the left and the right mainstream media. It’s become a fundamental part of what our mainstream media does. For journalists, moderators and editors it’s the norm. It’s what they now do. It’s part of their culture. The examples given here are so blatant it shows they don’t care how unjustifiable, unethical and dishonest what they do may be.
    There’s a distain among journalists for readers especially those who would deign to criticise them or debunk what they’re saying.
    People talk here about journalists they like who share their own opinions but these same journalists would have to be aware of what is happening. I suspect that a number are the perpetrators of this censorship when comments posted disprove what they are saying in their articles.
    I suspect that because I’ve noticed comments posted on articles by certain journalists were much more likely to get censored than those posted on articles by other journalists.
    Meanwhile we hear journalists and editorial writers singing their own praises on how high their integrity is. Frankly it’s quite sickening. The level of hypocrisy from our mainstream media is astonishing.
    This systemic lack of integrity in our mainstream media is a threat to our very democracy. It’s as serious as that.
    You’d have to be naive to think this systemic lack of integrity is confined to dealing simply with online posts. If it’s there it’s likely to to be in how news is handled. The same manipulation and lack of integrity will be there too. It’s just that it’s a lot harder to discern.
    It’s taken long enough to have this manipulation of online posts to mainstream media exposed. And yet judging by the comments here and my own experience it is common, widespread and blatant.

  • IainC says:

    I comment often, and have about a 25% rejection rate. Quite bizarrely, I have never had a comment which references Martin Luther King (or even MLK) in even the most anodyne way, accepted, and it is one of those “I’m going to get to the bottom of this” tasks on my to-do list.
    It used to be impossible to get anything with the word “apartheid” accepted, even words sounding like it. This was deep sixed: “Australians love a party; Labor loves aparty.”
    Recently, I had 6 comments in a row rejected, and I cheekily posted a 7th stating that fact, along with an “everyone is great and their articles are fantastic” first line, and not surprisingly it became my 7th in a row.
    These two deep scholarly comments of heartbreaking beauty (I thought so, anyway) re Adam Creighton’s article on left and right positions being confused these days, were also summarily dismissed.

    Adam, you didn’t mention the cause du jour, the referendum, which has switched political polarities in a very illuminating way.
    With the Voice, it’s the socialist left who proposed an amendment which was clearly race-selective, open only to those with indigenous descent. It’s the right that has been railing against the racist and segregational nature of the proposal, and the left defending why it’s not really racist, despite 97% of non-indigenous Australians being excluded.
    Going deeper, the last 40y of Aboriginal policy has been one of promoting cultural separatism and race-selective funding and programmes (all features of the so-called far right), and it’s been the right railing against this and asking for needs-based not race-based programmes and funding.
    Further, it’s the left who want to keep Aborigines cultural separated and physically isolated “on country” and the right who want them to come and join us where all the jobs and services are. Tony Abbott was infamously lambasted when he suggested closing down non-functional distant enclaves and bringing the poorest of the poor back into the light. It’s the left who want the gap maintained in this way.

    The left use anti-Semitism as a definition for the far right, but the left has been anti-Semitic since the early 50s, in the context of its virulent opposition to everything about Israel, which very often spills over into general anti-Jewish sentiment in the West. Ironically, this is a remnant of Stalin’s about face in policy in 1950. Initially, Stalin was in favour of the formation of Israel, and sent it arms and supplies. He quickly saw the numbers on the other side, and when Israel didn’t look likely to become a vassal state, he ordered his supporters worldwide to switch to supporting the Arab case, and it has been the same left anti-Israel policy ever since.
    Union policies have also remained the same since the 50s (my TV switches over to black and white when an ACTU spokesperson comes on). Don’t say the left aren’t hyper-conservative in many of their ideological axioms.

  • March says:

    Rejected today….on the story about poor conditions in Alice Springs town camps

    The squalid conditions the outcome of generational welfare dependency. A voice in Canberra will only entrench these conditions into the future.

    Story: Perkins’ plea on NT: ‘I want people to see this’
    Your comment is in breach of our commenting guidelines and cannot be published at this time.

    • Tony Tea says:

      I was a bit shocked when I had a comment published that said Perkins claim that the Voice would fix indigenous disadvantage was a non sequitur. After a few hours in The Oz’s remand centre, of course.

  • vickisanderson says:

    “The lesson? If you want to unleash in the pages of The Australian, don’t post a comment. Be like Krystyna Lynch of WA and Martin Bell of NSW and write a letter to the Editor.”

    I have news for you, Peter – letters to the Editor seem now to operate under similar restrictions. I have been having had letters published very regularly in the Oz for decades – until late 2022. Despite being very restrained in my comments, my letters in respect to government policy regarding Covid and the mRNA vaccine controversy rarely saw daylight. I seem to have been “cancelled” in respect to this contested area.

    It now seems that my opinions in respect to Aboriginal activism and movement towards separate status, are being similarly sent to coventry.

    • vickisanderson says:

      Sorry for grammatical horror – typo – maybe that is why I don’t get published lately!

    • Peter OBrien says:

      yes I still persist in writing letters any acceptance rate has dropped. I can accept that not all my letters will get published but what really sticks in my craw is when they publish letters instead that just contain vacuous abuse (like Mr Bell’s) or contain obvious and egregious errors of fact.

  • jackgym says:

    Greg Sheridan is a contradiction. He mostly writes common sense articles but when it comes to Donald Trump he sides with the left-wing loonies. Explain that to me.

    • Doubting Thomas says:

      The very definition of paradoxical. His blindness to the totality of the Trump phenomenon is amazing. While I believe Trump and his several opponents during his Presidential campaigns to have been among the worst candidates for the Presidency in my long lifetime, his actual performance during his Presidency, by most metrics, was considerably better than any of the last three Democrats, and of at least fair average quality.
      He left the Presidency without receiving one cent of salary during his term, without turning the Oval Office into a bordello, without having weaponised any of his powerful legal departments against his political enemies.
      He had firmly faced China’s and North Korea’s sabre rattling. He did not shamefully bug out from Afghanistan leaving behind a literally enormous multi-billion dollar arsenal of weaponry to be used by terrorists. Pre-Covid, the economy was fine, unemployment figures were at historical lows particularly those for the blacks and other minorities. All that after a continuing libellous campaign by the Clinton and Obama camps and their running dog leftists in the media and the FBI.
      Say any of that in the Australia’s commentary, as I did, and you could paper the walls with rejected comments.
      Bah, humbug!

    • Farnswort says:

      Sheridan is also a big fan of mass immigration. He seems totally blind to the downsides of excessive immigration and diversity.

  • LE says:

    I’ve had a few rejected – for me it’s when my wording gets too cynical. But they are particularly sensitive to Covid, Ukraine and the Voice. And no comments are even allowed re Higgins or Brand.

    Headline – Australia sends Bushmasters to Ukraine:
    By contributing to the war we prolong the war and the killing of Ukrainians. Blood on our hands!

    Headline – Voice will help fight against endemic disease
    Where is the voice on the covid response? Lives were destroyed, millions spent and total silence.

    Headline – I’m not stepping down: Qantas Chairman
    He can’t go. Who would run the lounge if the chairman steps down?

  • March says:

    If I had written this as a comment it would have been rejected but it seems quoting the article by Henry Ergas is OK (today).

    “what surer evidence of collective madness could there be than the many thousands of inner-city lefties, who, having denounced Australia’s founding fathers as murderers, daily “pay their respects” to past Indigenous elders who rained violence on women and children?”

    Well stated!

    Story: Common sense was once quintessentially Australian. Not any more

  • lbloveday says:

    My doctor friend, with decades-long knowledge of my medical history said that anyone recommending, let alone mandating, I undergo mRNA “vaccination” was ignorant, stupid or evil.

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    27/9/23, Story: A teaching degree must include a little bit of ‘woke’
    How about replacing social justice and climate change with civics and civic responsibilities. Colonisation would be okay of it focussed on the colonisation that is taking place today via mass immigration; but I doubt that it is.

  • EJP says:

    29/9/2023 In the comments on Chris Kenny’s latest and looniest, about the America’s Cup, I pasted the text of the NIAA’s reponse to the FOI request stating that the Uluru Long Statement was 26pp. No personal comment of mine at all, just a refutation of his frequency claim it is only one page and that everybody else is wrong about that.


    I really find this incomprehensible.

  • lbloveday says:

    Rejected 1/10/2023, a factual account of one consequence of integrating disabled children into schools and, as demanded by the Greens and others, “scrapping special schools”.
    “… segregation is abuse”
    Integration can place an unfair burden on other students. My daughter’s case is instructive.
    She came home at the end of year 4, shoulders slumped “Why me Dad? I’ve got X in my class again, 5 years in a row, no-one else has”.
    X had severe Downs Syndrom, could not speak (grunts my daughter said), let alone read or write, but was in the same class as my daughter and sat next to her at his mother’s request – X took a shine to her as she was initially a very caring child and the only one who invited X to her birthday party.
    So her education was diminished and for what educational reason? X was never going to matriculate let alone study at uni or complete a trade qualification.
    But it did not end there, X followed her around at recess and lunch times, impinging on her social as well as educational advancement.

  • lbloveday says:

    2/10/2023, I got ACCEPTED saying that the author wrote nonsense AND using “Covidiocy”!:
    He claimed “Being old is limiting only if you allow it to be so”.
    I replied:
    “Except by government decree during the Covidiocy I have exercised rigorously, but now, pushing 80, I can only bench press 100kg and cannot get under 7 minutes for a mile. To claim that age need not be limiting is nonsense.”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    Rejected by The Australian:
    11/10/2023: Story: At a celebration of slaughter, Labor looks the other way
    “Multi, incompatible cultural value systems are a danger to society.”

    Two comments Pending 24+ hours after posting on 11/10/23:
    Story: Greens MPs oppose Israel solidarity motion:
    “Let me see if I have got this straight: Hamas attacks Israel and slaughters people indiscriminately; as a gesture of support for the peoples of Israel the NSW decides to light the Opera House with the colours of Israel; members of the Sydney Jewish community who would like to assemble at the so lit Opera House to mourn as a community and take what little comfort they can from the gesture of support, and from that of the broader community, but they are advised by the NSW Police and Government to not do so as it would be dangerous; numerous members of the Sydney Palestinian community and others assemble at the Opera House to celebrate and cheer the attack on Israel, but the NSW Police and Government do nothing.

    What an appalling society we are becoming.”

    Story: The shame that risks tearing Labor apart
    “I know what makes me ashamed of Australia, and it is not a No vote in the forthcoming referendum. It is politicians who cannot bring themselves to condemn the actions of Hamas or to condemn those people amongst us who celebrate and cheer the atrocities.”

    • Geoffrey T. says:

      13/1/23: Update to my comment above. After well more then 24 hours, The Australian has decided to reject my comment that begins “Let me see if I have got this straight…”. It has now belatedly accepted the other of my comments that they had held pending for more then 24 hours.

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    21/10/23: It seems some truths are to remain unheard…
    Story: ‘Truth-telling must be priority’
    “On the contrary the modern world – as it was in the 18th century – was about to coming crashing in the door regardless of whether it was the British or not.”

    • Geoffrey T. says:

      Note that as at today, 23rd October, the above referenced comment has been left ‘Pending’ by The Australian for more than 5 days (it will be six days in the next few hours). Have other subscribers experienced this form of censorship by The Australian’s comment moderators?

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    25/10/23: Another comment stating something too self-evident for sensitive minds apparently; hence its rejection. At least it hasn’t been left pending for a week like the comment dated 21/10 that I refer to above.
    Story: Call to bolster power of ‘culture police’
    “After 60,000 years of habitation I doubt there is anywhere habitable in Australia that wasn’t at some stage a grave site.”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    26/11/23: Comment in reply to subscriber criticising main stream media for generally failing to probe the Albanese government. My comment rejected.
    Story: Wheels beginning to fall off for Albanese government
    “But now, with the Israel/Hamas war, a group of Australian journalists discover a need for scepticism. Not with the response to covid. Not with the BLM marches here in Australia. Not with the Victoria Labor government’s actions. Not with Labor’s claims regarding the benefits of wind and solar renewable energy and electric vehicles.”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    30/11/2023: Comment rejected re pro-Palestinaian activists who stormed a Melbourne hotel where the loved ones of Israeli hostages were staying.
    Story: ‘Hotel protesters should have been arrested: Dutton’
    “What an absolutely disgrace of a ‘protest’. Outright hate openly expressed. Where is our government? Where is the AHRC?”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    3/12/2023: Somehow this comment was deemed outside of The Australian’s subscriber comment guidelines. What a failure on the part of The Australian.
    Story: Are journalists seekers of truth, or warriors for a cause?
    “We could do with a lot more reporters and a lot less journalists. Reporters, dispassionately reporting the facts of events as they occur. Perhaps the rot set in when journalism was elevated to a University degree and the role of the reporter robbed of status.”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    30/12/2023: Nothing critical of multicultural can be permitted it seems:
    Story: Radical groups sharing anti-Jewish handbook
    “Another aspect of multiculturalism NOT to celebrate.”

  • Geoffrey T. says:

    24/3/2024; The Australian publishes an article lamenting the lack of political leadership and yet rejects the comment below.
    Story: At a time of rising tensions, strong political leadership has gone missing
    “Hear, hear Fiona. Most of our politicians shoukd hang their heads in shame this coming ANZAC Day. May the ghosts of the fallen come to haunt those polticians for what they are knowingly doing to Australia.”

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