All Questions Without Notice

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Workplace Relations

23 Jun 2011

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (14:17):  My question is to Senator Evans, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations. I refer to the fact that Fair Work Australia has recently accepted that community sector workers are underpaid on the basis of gender. The tribunal called for submissions from the parties before making a final decision and has encouraged parties to negotiate. I would like to ask: what is the government doing now to engage in a genuine, meaningful way with this process?

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (14:17):  My question is to Senator Evans, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations. I refer to the fact that Fair Work Australia has recently accepted that community sector workers are underpaid on the basis of gender. The tribunal called for submissions from the parties before making a final decision and has encouraged parties to negotiate. I would like to ask: what is the government doing now to engage in a genuine, meaningful way with this process?

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Live Animal Exports

14 Jun 2011

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (14:33):  My question is to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (14:33):  My question is to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

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Indigenous Health

21 Mar 2011

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Arbib. I ask today about alcohol related harm and abuse in Alice Springs. Firstly, is it true that there has in fact been a decrease in the incidence of violent crime in Alice Springs since the introduction of alcohol supply reduction measures in 2006? Secondly, what changes have there been in alcohol related hospital admissions since the introduction of those initial alco-hol supply reduction measures?

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Arbib. I ask today about alcohol related harm and abuse in Alice Springs. Firstly, is it true that there has in fact been a decrease in the incidence of violent crime in Alice Springs since the introduction of alcohol supply reduction measures in 2006? Secondly, what changes have there been in alcohol related hospital admissions since the introduction of those initial alco-hol supply reduction measures?

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Liquid Assets Waiting Test

14 Feb 2011

Liquid Assets Waiting Test Senate Hansard, Thursday 10 February 2011Senator SIEWERT (2.20 pm)—My question is to the minister who is representing the Minister representing the Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare. As part of the stimulus package, the government agreed to double the liquid asset threshold for relevant payments and remove the liquid assets waiting period for a period of two years, until 31 March 2011.

Liquid Assets Waiting Test

Senate Hansard, Thursday 10 February 2011

Senator SIEWERT (2.20 pm)—My question is to the minister who is representing the Minister representing the Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare. As part of the stimulus package, the government agreed to double the liquid asset threshold for relevant payments and remove the liquid assets waiting period for a period of two years, until 31 March 2011.

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Indigenous Employment

17 Nov 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.22 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Arbib, who also happens to be the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development. I would like to draw the minister’s attention to recent reports of Aboriginal workers renovating houses under SIHIP in Central Australia. Is the minister aware of claims that CDEP participants are being used in preference to providing real jobs for Aboriginal workers and that these CDEP workers have been underpaid, some have not been paid top up or some have had diminishing rates of top up? Is it a fact that some of these workers are in fact on the BasicsCard? If the minister is aware of this, what is the government doing about addressing the problems in this key infrastructure program?

Senator SIEWERT (2.22 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Arbib, who also happens to be the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development. I would like to draw the minister’s attention to recent reports of Aboriginal workers renovating houses under SIHIP in Central Australia. Is the minister aware of claims that CDEP participants are being used in preference to providing real jobs for Aboriginal workers and that these CDEP workers have been underpaid, some have not been paid top up or some have had diminishing rates of top up? Is it a fact that some of these workers are in fact on the BasicsCard? If the minister is aware of this, what is the government doing about addressing the problems in this key infrastructure program?

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Indigenous Suicide

25 Oct 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question today is to the Minister representing the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister Ludwig. Bearing in mind the increasing rate of suicide amongst Aboriginal Australians in Northern Australia, I ask a question on that issue.

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question today is to the Minister representing the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister Ludwig. Bearing in mind the increasing rate of suicide amongst Aboriginal Australians in Northern Australia, I ask a question on that issue.

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Aged Care

23 Jun 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.21 pm)—My question is to Senator Ludwig, the Minister representing the Minister for Ageing. My question relates to the open letter to the PM today around aged care, one which concerns the widening gap between the cost of delivering aged-care services and the funding

Senator SIEWERT (2.21 pm)—My question is to Senator Ludwig, the Minister representing the Minister for Ageing. My question relates to the open letter to the PM today around aged care, one which concerns the widening gap between the cost of delivering aged-care services and the funding

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ADDITIONAL ANSWERS - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Senator

22 Jun 2010

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL ANSWERS Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Senator CARR (Victoria—Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (3.03 pm)—I wish to incorporate further information in answer to a question asked by Senator Siewert to Senator Wong. Leave granted.

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL ANSWERS Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Senator CARR (Victoria—Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (3.03 pm)—I wish to incorporate further information in answer to a question asked by Senator Siewert to Senator Wong. Leave granted.

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

18 Jun 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.52 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Wong. Given the similarity in possible causes of the current disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea

Senator SIEWERT (2.52 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Wong. Given the similarity in possible causes of the current disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea

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Organ Donation

11 May 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.37 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Ludwig. Bearing in mind that Australia has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the developed world and that the figure has not improved for some time, and the fact that the government has now established the Organ and Tissue Authority with a budget of $150 million over four years, the purpose of which is to seek to improve this donation rate, can the minister please comment on the report that in fact the donation rate in Australia has not significantly improved?

Senator SIEWERT (2.37 pm)—My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Ludwig. Bearing in mind that Australia has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the developed world and that the figure has not improved for some time, and the fact that the government has now established the Organ and Tissue Authority with a budget of $150 million over four years, the purpose of which is to seek to improve this donation rate, can the minister please comment on the report that in fact the donation rate in Australia has not significantly improved?

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Timor Sea Oil Spill

09 Mar 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question is to the Minister for Defence, Senator Faulkner, representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and it relates to the Montara oil spill. Is the government aware that an oil sample taken in Indonesian fishing grounds has been identified as Montara oil and can therefore be assumed to have come from the Montara oil spill?

Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question is to the Minister for Defence, Senator Faulkner, representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and it relates to the Montara oil spill. Is the government aware that an oil sample taken in Indonesian fishing grounds has been identified as Montara oil and can therefore be assumed to have come from the Montara oil spill?

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Indigenous Communities

04 Feb 2010

Senator SIEWERT (2.22 pm)—My question is to Senator Evans, the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs, Ms Jenny Macklin. I refer to the minister’s comments today on income quarantining. Does the minister consider that all welfare recipients squander their payments on alcohol, drugs and gambling? On what evidence does the minister make the claim that income support recipients are wasting their money on alcohol, gambling and drugs?

Senator SIEWERT (2.22 pm)—My question is to Senator Evans, the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous


Affairs, Ms Jenny Macklin. I refer to the minister’s comments today on income quarantining. Does the minister consider that all welfare recipients squander their payments on alcohol, drugs and gambling? On what evidence does the minister make the claim that income support recipients are wasting their money on alcohol, gambling and drugs?

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Renal services in Central Australia

23 Nov 2009

Senator SIEWERT (2.31 pm)-My question is to Senator Ludwig, the Minister representing the Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Service Delivery. My question concerns the recent announcement that the Commonwealth will make a transportable dialysis facility available in Alice Springs to address the current crisis in renal services. Will new interstate patients such as Patrick Tjungurrayi be able to access this Commonwealth dialysis facility or will they be prevented from doing so? Was the provision of this facility by the Commonwealth made contingent on the Northern Territory agreeing to lift the ban on new interstate renal patients? If not, why not?

Senator SIEWERT (2.31 pm)-My question is to Senator Ludwig, the Minister representing the Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Service Delivery. My question concerns the recent announcement that the Commonwealth will make a transportable dialysis facility available in Alice Springs to address the current crisis in renal services. Will new interstate patients such as Patrick Tjungurrayi be able to access this Commonwealth dialysis facility or will they be prevented from doing so? Was the provision of this facility by the Commonwealth made contingent on the Northern Territory agreeing to lift the ban on new interstate renal patients? If not, why not?

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WA oil spill impact on indonesian fishing

27 Oct 2009

Senator SIEWERT-My question is to Senator Faulkner, the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Could the minister tell us: when was the Commonwealth first aware that oil from the Montara oil spill had crossed into Indonesian waters? Which minister or department contacted which authorities, and when? What arrangements, if any, have been made to monitor and assess the impacts of the oil on Indonesian waters? Are there any clean-up or compensation arrangements?

Senator SIEWERT-My question is to Senator Faulkner, the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Could the minister tell us: when was the Commonwealth first aware that oil from the Montara oil spill had crossed into Indonesian waters? Which minister or department contacted which authorities, and when? What arrangements, if any, have been made to monitor and assess the impacts of the oil on Indonesian waters? Are there any clean-up or compensation arrangements?

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Montara oil spill

07 Sep 2009

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Senator Wong, and concerns the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea. Could the minister inform the chamber as to the current size of the oil slick? On 29 August it was around 3,000 square kilometres.

According to the official Australian Maritime Safety Authority figures, on 30 August the size of the slick was 6,000 square kilometres.

Could the minister please inform us as to the current size of the slick?

Also, could the minister inform us as to where the minister for the environment got his figure for the amount of oil spilling into the environment of 300 to 400 barrels per day?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Senator Wong, and concerns the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea. Could the minister inform the chamber as to the current size of the oil slick? On 29 August it was around 3,000 square kilometres.

According to the official Australian Maritime Safety Authority figures, on 30 August the size of the slick was 6,000 square kilometres.

Could the minister please inform us as to the current size of the slick?

Also, could the minister inform us as to where the minister for the environment got his figure for the amount of oil spilling into the environment of 300 to 400 barrels per day?

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Bottom trawling fisheries in WA

19 Aug 2009

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Sherry. Is the government proposing to proceed with opening an additional 10,000 square kilometres of the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery and the North West Slope Trawl Fishery, off the Western Australian coast, to bottom trawling? If so, why is this being opened?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Sherry. Is the government proposing to proceed with opening an additional 10,000 square kilometres of the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery and the North West Slope Trawl Fishery, off the Western Australian coast, to bottom trawling? If so, why is this being opened?

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WA Dieback

16 Jun 2009

My question is to Senator Wong, the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. I wish to draw the minister's attention to the recently released four-year study of the impact of phytophthora dieback in WA-Project Dieback. Phytophthora dieback is identified as a key threatening process under the EPBC Act and has been named as the most significant threat to biodiversity in south-west WA, which is a world biodiversity hotspot. Project Dieback showed that one million hectares in southern WA is infected with dieback and another one million hectares is at high risk. Nearly 80 per cent of the plant species in the south-west of WA are found nowhere else in the world. At least half of these are vulnerable to dieback. As a key threatening process under the EPBC Act, why is dieback not listed as a priority funding under Caring for our Country and what action is the government taking to address phytophthora dieback urgently?

My question is to Senator Wong, the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. I wish to draw the minister's attention to the recently released four-year study of the impact of phytophthora dieback in WA-Project Dieback. Phytophthora dieback is identified as a key threatening process under the EPBC Act and has been named as the most significant threat to biodiversity in south-west WA, which is a world biodiversity hotspot. Project Dieback showed that one million hectares in southern WA is infected with dieback and another one million hectares is at high risk. Nearly 80 per cent of the plant species in the south-west of WA are found nowhere else in the world. At least half of these are vulnerable to dieback. As a key threatening process under the EPBC Act, why is dieback not listed as a priority funding under Caring for our Country and what action is the government taking to address phytophthora dieback urgently?

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Employment services contracts

18 Mar 2009

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment Services, Senator Ludwig. Minister, how many Australian not-for-profit organisations have recently applied for tenders for new employment service contracts and have failed to be awarded contracts for services they are currently delivering? What is the estimated value of employment service contracts that have now been awarded to profit driven overseas providers?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment Services, Senator Ludwig. Minister, how many Australian not-for-profit organisations have recently applied for tenders for new employment service contracts and have failed to be awarded contracts for services they are currently delivering? What is the estimated value of employment service contracts that have now been awarded to profit driven overseas providers?

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Appointment of men's health ambassadors

04 Dec 2008

Senator Siewert: My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Ludwig. The Minister for Health and Ageing recently appointed Mr Barry Williams of the Lone Fathers Association as one of the ambassadors for the national men's health policy.

Senator Siewert: My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Ludwig. The Minister for Health and Ageing recently appointed Mr Barry Williams of the Lone Fathers Association as one of the ambassadors for the national men's health policy.

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Greenpeace Japanese Whaling Activists

14 Nov 2008

My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In June this year, two Greenpeace campaigners, now known as the Tokyo Two-Junicho Sato and Toru Suzuki- were arrested by Japanese authorities for their efforts in exposing a widespread whale meat scandal in Japan. They have been in jail and under house arrest for 145 days.

Amnesty has protested the arrest as politically motivated, and the UN Human Rights Committee has severely reprimanded the Japanese government for ‘unreasonable restrictions placed on freedom of expression in Japan'. What efforts, if any, have been undertaken by Australia in negotiating for fair treatment and proper justice for the Tokyo Two?

Has the Prime Minister raised this issue with Japan and has the Australian government investigated whether the actions of the Japanese authorities are a breach of international law under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?

My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In June this year, two Greenpeace campaigners, now known as the Tokyo Two-Junicho Sato and Toru Suzuki- were arrested by Japanese authorities for their efforts in exposing a widespread whale meat scandal in Japan. They have been in jail and under house arrest for 145 days.

Amnesty has protested the arrest as politically motivated, and the UN Human Rights Committee has severely reprimanded the Japanese government for ‘unreasonable restrictions placed on freedom of expression in Japan'. What efforts, if any, have been undertaken by Australia in negotiating for fair treatment and proper justice for the Tokyo Two?

Has the Prime Minister raised this issue with Japan and has the Australian government investigated whether the actions of the Japanese authorities are a breach of international law under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?

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Kunoth Town Camp Raid

14 Oct 2008

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. My question concerns the recent police raid on Kunoth town camp in Alice Springs, which residents described as an ‘over-the-top terrorist like raid'. Is the minister aware of this raid? Can the minister tell the Senate how many police were involved and whether they were exclusively Northern Territory Police or whether Federal Police or police seconded from other states were involved? Were members of the NT tactical response group involved? Were police wearing bulletproof vests or other riot gear? Did they have weapons drawn? How many houses were raided? How long did the raid take?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. My question concerns the recent police raid on Kunoth town camp in Alice Springs, which residents described as an ‘over-the-top terrorist like raid'. Is the minister aware of this raid? Can the minister tell the Senate how many police were involved and whether they were exclusively Northern Territory Police or whether Federal Police or police seconded from other states were involved? Were members of the NT tactical response group involved? Were police wearing bulletproof vests or other riot gear? Did they have weapons drawn? How many houses were raided? How long did the raid take?

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Chinese Milk Products Contamination

25 Sep 2008

My question is to Senator Ludwig, the minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. When did the minister first have information that the Chinese sweet, White Rabbit Creamy Candies, was contaminated and was available for sale in Australian supermarkets? What tests have been taken on this product, and when? Are these products now off all shelves in Australia? How can we be assured that there are no other similarly contaminated products in Australia at the time?

My question is to Senator Ludwig, the minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. When did the minister first have information that the Chinese sweet, White Rabbit Creamy Candies, was contaminated and was available for sale in Australian supermarkets? What tests have been taken on this product, and when? Are these products now off all shelves in Australia? How can we be assured that there are no other similarly contaminated products in Australia at the time?

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Murray-Darling Basin reform

04 Sep 2008

My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Wong. My question concerns progress on the intergovernmental agreement on the Murray-Darling Basin reform and the referral of powers by state and territories required to give effect to the agreement and to establish a basin plan.

Can the minister inform the Senate how many of the states and territories of the Murray-Darling Basin have passed this enabling legislation?

How many have even drafted and introduced such legislation in time to meet the 1 November 2008 deadline, as committed to in the IGA?

Will any states or territories be able to meet this deadline and will the promised reforms of the intergovernmental agreement be in place by 1 November 2008?

My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Wong. My question concerns progress on the intergovernmental agreement on the Murray-Darling Basin reform and the referral of powers by state and territories required to give effect to the agreement and to establish a basin plan.

Can the minister inform the Senate how many of the states and territories of the Murray-Darling Basin have passed this enabling legislation?

How many have even drafted and introduced such legislation in time to meet the 1 November 2008 deadline, as committed to in the IGA?

Will any states or territories be able to meet this deadline and will the promised reforms of the intergovernmental agreement be in place by 1 November 2008?

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Welfare Suspension Truancy trial in Cannington

28 Aug 2008

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. I note that Minister Macklin announced the welfare suspension truancy trial in the suburb of Cannington.

Can the minister confirm whether this trial site is in fact restricted to the suburb of Cannington or does it in fact extend across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale, to mention several of them?

What support services are in place for the families that have had their payments suspended, particularly for those that have more than one child-in other words, children other than the ones involved in the suspension of payments?

What is the expected increase in demand for charity and other services in this region when they are forced to cope with the families that have had their payments suspended?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. I note that Minister Macklin announced the welfare suspension truancy trial in the suburb of Cannington.

Can the minister confirm whether this trial site is in fact restricted to the suburb of Cannington or does it in fact extend across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale, to mention several of them?

What support services are in place for the families that have had their payments suspended, particularly for those that have more than one child-in other words, children other than the ones involved in the suspension of payments?

What is the expected increase in demand for charity and other services in this region when they are forced to cope with the families that have had their payments suspended?

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Slow progress on petrol sniffing

28 Mar 2007

My question is to Senator Ellison, the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. It relates to the provision of infrastructure to support youth diversionary programs to combat petrol sniffing. Can the minister inform the Senate whether the government has allocated or plans to allocate resources for youth programs and infrastructure for those communities in the northern part of the central region who have recently become part of the rollout of Opal fuel?

My question is to Senator Ellison, the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. It relates to the provision of infrastructure to support youth diversionary programs to combat petrol sniffing. Can the minister inform the Senate whether the government has allocated or plans to allocate resources for youth programs and infrastructure for those communities in the northern part of the central region who have recently become part of the rollout of Opal fuel?

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