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CREATED 11/29/2012

WARNING: This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
    There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
    Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.


Smoking-Gun docs.




Donna Staunton    

(Part 2: Timeline post-tobacco — AMP and CSIRO)

— The most prominent lawyer/lobbyist for the Australian tobacco industry who went on to become the Director of Communications at the Australian government's most prestigious scientific research establishment, after decades of declaring most science was "junk". —  

This is an attempt to tease out the time-line associated with Donna Staunton's employment history with the CSIRO. It is necessarily vague, contradictory, incomplete, and sometimes wrong, simply because so much effort has gone into concealing the facts.

Part 1. Donna Marie Staunton

After leaving Philip Morris, Donna Staunton took up a prime position as the Senior VP of Corporate Affairs with the AMP Society — Australia's top life insurance company, which had been a mutual and a prominent and highly respected Australian institution until it was privatised and began to engage in international adventures.

Her boss George Trumbull at the Society had virtually destroyed the institution (losing billions of dollars) and desparately needed an image make-over so a top corporate disinformation specialist from the tobacco industry must have seemed perfect for the job. She wasn't to know that he was about to scamper back to the USA will million of dollars in every pocket; this was a major scandal at the time and came to characterise corporate excesses and executive greed.

She appears to have been sidelined by the incoming CEO, and shunted off to the AMP Foundation which is a subsidiary which gives grants to worthy organisations.

At about this time she resigned and set up her own consultancy business with the AMP as one client. She also managed to gain an enormously lucrative consultancy with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which is Australia's premier scientific research outfit.

This position was converted into a salaried position at a rate which was many times higher than the senior research scientists in the organisation. In fact, on a daily rate, it was higher than the Australian Prime Minister.

Some key documents

2003: Geoff Garrett instituted an annual poll of CSIRO staff to see how he was faring in their [the staff] eyes. But the first poll was so bad for him (55 per cent felt organisational change had not improved the CSIRO) that the results of a smaller second one last year were never released. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Science/Troubled-times- (etc.)

2004: CSIRO Sommunications Department:

... spent taxpayer funds to send 80 communications staff to South Stradbroke Island in Queensland last year. Officials said they did not know how much it had cost, but they had been given "a reduced rate".
http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/CSIRO-quizzed- (etc.)

2006 Dec 17: Norman Abjorensen resigned

2006 Aug 9: Senator Carr told the inquiry Ms Staunton had appointed a former CSIRO media officer, Norman Abjorensen, on August 9 (last). By December 17 he had resigned.

    He said Mr Abjorensen had alleged staff had been told to "eyeball and intimidate" reporters at Senate hearings, and critics of the organisation had been "blackballed and discredited but not answered".

    Mr Abjorensen criticised the way the media training tender was conducted. "I want to place on record my dismay at your [Ms Staunton's] quite improper (and possibly illegal) instruction to 'get [name deleted] on board whatever it takes'," he wrote in his resignation letter, which Senator Carr read to the inquiry.

    The organisation's Ron Sandland said an independent inquiry was held and found no wrong doing. http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/CSIRO-quizzed- (etc.)

2005 Feb 16: CSIRO before the Senate inquiry.

The cash-strapped Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation pays its media manager $330,000 a year, $52,000 more than the Prime Minister, a Senate inquiry was told yesterday.

    The organisation also spent more than $9 million over the past four years revamping its internet site, officials appearing before the Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation committee said.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/CSIRO-quizzed- (etc.)

2004 Feb: See C/V for the CSIRO [Doc 31] [20040200-KF-DS-Do]

• Staunton is also a Trustee for CEDA
    • Member of Aust Institute for Company Directors

2003: The CSIRO joined the Global Foundation, and Staunton became a Board member.

1994 May: George Trumbull CEO of AMP Ltd until Sept 1999

1995 Apr 4 - 1999: Apr 8 MD Andrew Refshauge (Labor left) NSW Minister for Health

1997: Trumbull made perhaps his biggest mistake. He hired Paul Batchelor as his chief financial officer. Several insiders have told Four Corners that Paul Batchelor, not George R Trumbull III, was the driving force behind the GIO takeover. GIO, the old State Government Insurance Office, was struggling, but word inside AMP was that it was an underpriced asset.

    AMP won the battle for GIO, but it broke one of the cardinal rules of the industry. Never make a hostile bid for a finance company because there's no chance to check out what you're buying. The full horror of GIO's reinsurance book, hit by world disasters, soon came home. Within the industry, GIO had become a laughing stock as a reinsurer of last resort, covering everything from hurricanes to space launches. AMP would have to write off $1.2 billion.

1998 June: AMP has made a spectacular leap onto the Australian share market. In the confused bidding frenzy, shares hit a crazy $45 before closing at $23. It was just craziness, but it wasn't the first of many crazy things that were going to happen with regards to that organisation.

    As the fourth-largest Australian company, AMP was the new market darling. George Trumbull had a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and a mandate for growth.

    People argued that there's no scope for an old-time philanthropic society in the rough and tough world of international business. So, in the 1990s, there was the increasing pressure on the AMP to become a public company like BHP or the National Bank.

    Demutualisation promised both wealth and accountability. So far, it has delivered neither. What has caused AMP's current crisis is a series of woeful decisions over five years - a textbook case in bad timing and bad management. Demutualisation itself was painful. AMP's cardigan-clad and inward-looking culture needed to change. The man the board hired as change agent was American George Trumbull, from a Philadelphia insurer. Soon, the new CEO would have $7 billion in spending money. [Four Corners]

1998 Nov: ??? AMP had already ventured beyond Australia, to London's Square Mile. In 1998, it bought successful fund manager Henderson's. It had also entered insurance, buying Pearl, an old-style life insurer with a huge door-to-door sales force. It was the biggest takeover in the history of the British insurance industry. And so here was this Australian company with more assets, more policies, more employees in the British Isles than in Australia.

    But AMP's London insurance gamble was a disaster

1999 Feb: Ron Sandland's CSIRO boo "Icon in Crisis" says (Page 203 that Staunton's salary at the CSIRO was "less than half her package at AMP, but at the high end of similar public sector appointments."

This suggest she was earning at least a half-million a year at the AMP Society — which, if remotely true, is a public scandal in its own right.

1999 Feb: (Four Corners archival footage has George Trumbull saying"I'm having fun. You know, what's not to have fun? As I said, we had terrific results, we've got a great company."

1999 April 9: George Trumball, Chief Executive of AMP Ltd. hired Donna Staunton as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Communications.
    [Another source gives the date as 1999 Aug 31]

    She appears to have been hired by George Trumball for support at the AMP Society (not as often claimed, by the AMP Foundation) as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications.

    [Said in Hansard 2005]

A couple of years ago we endured the unedifying spectacle of a swaggering former United States Marine, George Trumbull, whose annual contract salary for managing Australian Mutual Providence [AMP] was $17.4 million.

    While boasting about how much he was worth, he cut several billion dollars from the value of the company and swaggered off with a severance package worth millions of dollars

[Trumbull came to epitomise corporate greed and inadequate performance in Australia. He returned to the US with $23.4 million in his early retirement package. ] [Refered to in Hansard 19 Mar 2003)]

1999 Aug: George Trumbull was pushed out and replaced by his deputy, Paul Batchelor. George Trumbull walked away with $13.2 million in 1999, plus options. For Paul Batchelor, there was a golden hello of over a million options - and he may yet claw back more from shareholders than George Trumbull.

1999 Sept: Trumbull left as CEO of AMP. The Age later said that his mistakes as "former CEO George Trumbull, just ahead and just after AMP's demutualisation, to deploy its $6 billion to $7 billion of excess capital in a massive expansion of its UK insurance and funds management activities."

1999 Sept: Just one month in the top job, Paul Batchelor became a key player in AMP's worst-kept secret. With AMP shares around $15, he and his chairman, Ian Burgess, turned down the NAB's offer of $21 a share.

    Meeting in Melbourne hotel of AMP with Australia's biggest bank, National Australia Bank, They were offering to buy the nation's biggest financial services company, AMP, for a reportedly hefty $21 a share. At Sofitel, NAB's chiefs were waiting on an answer. AMP's then chairman and chief executive told them there was no deal.

    AMP shares are now a quarter of NAB's $21 bid price. Shareholders were blissfully ignorant of the offer. In 12 months, their shares have plummeted by 75% to just over $5. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2003/transc (etc.)
    [Company Secretary Bev Booker was asked to change the minutes - refused - was retrenched]

1999 Oct: Labor member of Legislative Assembly Craig Knowles was NSW Health Minister at the time Philip Morris published its admission. [Later ICAC inquiry] (1999 to 2003) Retired in Aug 2005 after ICAC made no adverse finding and became a lobbyist, Director of the Black Dog Institute. Chairman of Murray Darling Basin Authority. Refshauge and Carr also resigned in Aug 2005

1999 Oct 15: The Australian reported that Philip Morris's web site now admitted for the first time that smoking is addictive, unsafe, and causes cancer. It says

"there is no safe cigarette" [and admits] "there is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers."
This was part of a $100 million campaign to lift the US company's image in the face of law suits brough against the tobacco industry by the US Justices Department and some states.
In Canberra, federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge was delighted, a spokeswoman said. "The Government will wait to see what impact, if any, this has on negotiations with the tobacco industry over listing cigarette ingredients.
BAT and Imperial resisted following PM's lead http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/stx28d00/pdf

2000: Simon Chapman article about Carla Zampatti who was on the board of Rothmans,

Zampatti is not the first tobacco industry insider to have crossed this choppy Rubicon. In 2000, Donna Staunton, former head of the Tobacco Institute and a Philip Morris executive, took a seat on the Board of the National Breast Cancer Centre. At the time Staunton wrote me a private letter saying "I now accept that nicotine is in fact addictive and that smoking is the major cause of preventable illness in society. I cannot relive the past, but I can assure you that I do not intend to again work for the tobacco industry." However, neither Staunton nor Zampatti have ever made public apologies or explanatory statements for their well-paid box seat efforts to increase tobacco industry profitability.
[Crikey July-Aug 07]

2000 Apr: Half the board were sacrificed: five resigned and two others retired. Paul Batchelor stayed on. Stan Wallis of Coles Myer took the chair at AMP

2000 May 16: AMP's Annual General meeting following the GIO debacle

Facing the barrage of criticism in Melbourne over its record will be acting chairman Stan Wallis and new chief executive Paul Batchelor.

    The Australian Shareholders Association's key concerns are AMP's ability to generate future profits and dividends, the GIO debacle, the need for more transparent reporting, questions over whether NAB made takeover overtures and Mr Batchelor's options package.

2000 Aug: In 2000, the AMP took on the ailing NPI (in the UK) - National Provident Institution. Soon, Pearl too would become a liability. AMP's timing could not have been worse. After years of cavalier behaviour, the day of reckoning for the British insurance industry was long overdue.

    In August 2000, the London stock market started to fall, creating a frightening mismatch between AMP's liabilities on the one side and its assets on the other.

    The stock market fell 47% in two years. AMP was drawing on precious resources to keep up with regulators' demands. Its UK accounts show funds used to pay policy bonuses shrank by over £3 billion, and by now, analysts believe they're near zero. NPI was the worst casualty. AMP shunted $1 billion to London to help prop up the businesses, but its shares just kept falling through $14.

2000 Aug 31: Paul Batchelor of AMP Corporate Affairs (from July 1999) restructured the division, and:

  • appointed Matthew Percival to the position of General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Communications.
  • Staunton transfered to Senior Executive, International Government Affairs for the AMP Foundation (reporting to Percival)
Effectively she has been demoted. The details are hidden by a confidential settlement with the AMP.
An alternate version says: [This was later ??]
"The incoming new AMP Chief Executive, Andrew Mohl, restructured Corporate Affairs with a new head. Matthew Percival was appointed General Manager Corporate Affairs.

    Staunton was demoted to Senior Executive, International Government Affairs, AMP Foundation by Matthew Percival.
[These were two distinct activities nearly two years apart— Mohl became head on 23 Sep 2002, Matthew Percival joined as head of Public Relations in Oct 2000]
[Note: The AMP Foundation is Australia's 5th most generous philanthropic giver, with $6.2 million in grants in 2009-2010]

2000 Oct: Matthew Percival became General Manager, AMP Public Affairs. He will report directly to AMP chief executive officer Paul Batchelor.

    He was previously from Colonial Ltd, Carlton & United Breweries, ANZ Bank, Coca-Cola and Lindeman Wines and a ministerial adviser. ??

    In the 1980s and 90s, Coca Cola Amatil had the Wills Tobacco franchise. Lindemans Wines (Holdings) was owned for a while by Philip Morris (From Apr 1981 -.) Percival was corporate affairs manager in Jan 1987 when they were still owned by Philip Morris (The MD was Peter L Barnes - selling "wine coolers"/alco-pop fruitjuice) which was aimed at the adolsecent market (also Sep 1985) Forced by Blewett to withdraw it from market. http://www.winecoolers.com.au/wine-coolers-article (etc.)

2000 [Late] She was elected to the Board of the National Breast Cancer Centre. Professor Simon Chapman of Sydney University (anti-smoking researcher and activist) wrote in Crikey:
In 2000 Donna Staunton, former head of the Tobacco Institute and a Philip Morris executive, took a seat on the Board of the National Breast Cancer Centre.

    At the time Staunton wrote me a private letter, saying
    "I now accept that nicotine is in fact addictive and that smoking is the major cause of preventable illness in society. I cannot re-live the past, but I can assure you that I do not intend to again work for the tobacco industry."

2000 Oct 12: AMP's Donna Staunton has moved out of the AMP Society into a part time position within a division of the company and takes on the role of Senior Executive, Government Affairs with the AMP Foundation.

In her new role she will be involved with international government relations as well as establishing the work of the AMP Foundation on a global basis.

    Staunton will remain a member of the senior executive team, while moving into the specialised role will allow her to spend more time with her family.
http://www.moneymanagement.com.au/news/executive-a (etc.)

2001 Jan 12: Staunton left the AMP Foundation and started the Staunton Consultancy for "issues, crisis and reputation management" with the AMP at the top of the list of her clients. [Alternate source says " 2001 Jan 12 Staunton was retrenched."]
[2002/03 was a year of financial catastrophe for the AMP Society. They had a FY loss of $5.5 billion and were forced to 'demerger" with HHG, their UK arm. This threw the group into a state of crisis,]

2001 Feb 26: Senator Chris Evans (WA) addressed adjournment remarks

The Minister for Health and Aged Care appointed Donna Staunton, a former tobacco lobbyist, to the National Breast Cancer Cen- tre. The minister thought, 'This is great— someone well known as a tobacco lobbyist.' Only Dr Wooldridge could do that. Rachel David, a former senior staffer of Dr Wooldridge, was involved in the MRI investigation and later moved to Pfizer, a phar- macy company which was involved in suing the PBAC at the time over the Viagra decision. Her career has further blossomed, and the minister has seen fit to appoint her to the board of the National Institute of Clinical Studies. Recently, Mr Pat Clear, friend of and lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, was appointed to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. People are well aware of the history of that—his ongoing involve- ment in the industry and concerns about what that will do to one of the most important bodies in the medical arena in this country. More recently again, Kate Carnell, the min- ister's friend and landlady, has been appointed Chair of the Board of General Prac- tice Education and Training. The minister said only a couple of months ago that he was reserving this position for a GP, but now he has seen fit to appoint Kate Carnell.
http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/hansard/senate/dail (etc.)

2001 Mar: /E Melissa Sweet wrote an article for The Bulletin about concern in the National Breast Cancer Centre over her appointment.

Australia's National Breast Cancer Centre has come under attack for appointing former tobacco industry lobbyist Donna Staunton to its board. Staunton has been urged to acknowledge publicly the dangers of tobacco.

[It is suggested that this appointment appears to have been made by the Federal Minister for Health, Michael Wooldridge, who left Liberal politics a few years later and set up permanently as a full-time health lobbyist.]

2001 July 27: The CSIRO's internal conference of the Communications Task Group finalises the "Communications Strategy 2003-2007" document. Staunton appears to have been advising the new South African CEO Geoff Garrett informally at this time, but the work was done under the direction of another consultant, Di Jay.

2001 Oct 14: Joined the Board of WorkCover NSW. Ministerial appointment - by the State ALP Government (John Della Bosca - State Minister for Industrial Affairs].

    This organisation administers NSW occupational health and safety legislation.,[2010 The Annual Report of Workcover NSW] This still lists her on the Board, and says her final term is expiring 29 May 2010. She remains a member of the Board Audit and Risk Management committees. http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/ (etc.)

The WorkCover Authority of New South Wales ('workcover') primarily administers New South Wales occupational health and safety law, including the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Workers Compensation Act 1987. In doing this, WorkCover prepares codes of practice for particular industries, and investigates reports of unsafe practices in particular workplaces.

2001 Nov 16: Staunton's predecessor at the CSIRO, Di Jay, was formally appointed as the organisation's first Director of Communications Di Jay had previously been manager of Corporate Affairs, Medibank Private, and had been given the job of Acting Director of Communications at the CSIRO after the strategy document had been finalised.

2001 Dec: Carolyn Hewson was a highly respected former investment banker and one of the few directors from the old AMP board — then quite suddenly, Carolyn Hewson resigned. To this day she's not spoken publicly about it

2001 Dec 11: Anti-smoking activist and NSW Democrat MP Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans asked in the parliament:

The question relates to a WorkCover board member Donna Staunton —a former senior executive of Philip Morris (Australia) Ltd, Chief Executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia and opponent of smoke-free policies and workplaces —who was recently appointed to the WorkCover board, a statutory authority for the prevention of workplace injuries and diseases, including passive smoking injuries. I ask the Minister to review Ms Staunton's appointment to the WorkCover board and, as part of that review, ask for a public statement clarifying that she (a) no longer represent the interests of the tobacco industry, including its opposition to non-smoking bans; (b) supports safe smoke-free workplace policies for all workers; and (c) confirms that she no longer has any financial arrangements with her former tobacco industry employers or related third party?

    The reply:
    The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: [industrial Relations Minister] I do not need to review the appointment of Ms Staunton to the WorkCover board. I recently recommended her appointment to Cabinet which in turn made the appointment. She is an outstanding and an entirely appropriate appointment to the WorkCover board.

    The honourable member neglected to mention that for some long period of time she was probably the youngest and only woman Vice-President of AMP in Australia, an insurance company. The honourable member is obviously aware that WorkCover has something to do with the insurance industry. I suppose one could argue that, yes, she was good at what she did in her previous employment, defending various corporations —including Philip Morris, which has tobacco as a component of its business. It is also a large producer of packaged foods and, after all, tobacco is a legal product. Ms Staunton is a very intelligent, capable businesswoman and is already making an excellent contribution to the WorkCover board. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/han (etc.)

2002: Answer to Question without notice in Australian Senate:

Ms Staunton has not taken on any consultancy work since her employment as an officer of CSIRO began on 1 March 2004. Prior to that date, Ms Staunton was engaged by CSIRO as a consultant.

    Ms Staunton was engaged by Pfizer as a consultant for a short period in 2002, well before she had any involvement with CSIRO.

    Ms Staunton was engaged as a consultant by MIA [Group (a leading provider of imaging services)] until the end of January 2004.
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display (etc.)

2002 May: Australasian Science Statement.

Geoff Garrett [and his deputy Ron Sandiland] at the CSIRO sidelined Julian Cribb, an experienced and highly respected science writer, in favour of unqualified and inexperienced PR flacks.
In the period 1996 to 2002 Cribb had been the Director, National Awareness, for Australia's national science agency, CSIRO where he oversaw a 150 per cent growth in the organisation's media profile.

2002 Jul 29: Australian Financial Review reported

After announcing staff cuts in mid-2002, CEO, Paul Batchelor, then said that AMP would inject $A1 billion into the UK business.

    In late June, AMP's share price fell to a low of $A15.41, improving only slightly to trade at around $A16 in early July.

2002 Sep 24: Paul Batchelor resigned from the AMP - replaced by Andrew Mohl

2003 Jan: Ron Sandiland shifted to Sydney. Di Jay resigned as the CSIRO's Director of Communications.


2002 Dec 12: MR TANNER: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—
    (1) At any time over the last five years has Telstra either employed, or entered into a contract with public relations practitioners (a) Andrew Whist, (b) John Dollison, (c) Phillip Francis, (d) Wendy Burrell and (e) Bryan Simpson; if so, what activities have they undertaken on Telstra's behalf.
    (2) Has Telstra had any discussion, or entered into any arrangement, with Phillip Morris with respect to public relations matters over the past five years.

2003 Feb 13: Hansard: In answer to a question in the Australian parliament, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Peter McGauran, stated that "As part of a fact-finding mission in 1998, Telstra met with Phillip Morris representatives to seek information on public affairs organisational structure and processes.' As a result of this, McGauran informed the House of Representatives that between February and July 1999 Andrew Whist had been "engaged" to "provide advice and his views to the Telstra management of the day on matters related to organisational structure, processes and resources in the company's public affairs area."

2004 May 24: — Senate Inquiry answer:

Senator Lundy asked about Mr Andrew Whist. Mr Andrew Whist was on contract for us in 1999. He was engaged in February 1999 to provide advice and his views to the Telstra management of the day on matters relating to organisational structure, processes and resources in the company's public affairs area. His contract terminated with us in July of that same year,

    TI with one-third the shares had been soled in 1997. T2 a further 16% were sold leaving the Government with 51% of ownership


2003 March: - June (4 months) Matt Garret - son of Geoff Garrett at CSIRO and friend of Donna Staunton, was Marketing and IT at Earling Film Studios. - then returned via Africa (1 year) to work for News Digital media then Fox Sports

2003 April 1: Staunton Consultancy Ltd. was contracted on the quiet by a senior executives at the CSIRO on the basis of her working four days a week. There was no open tender, nor was there any notification to staff for six weeks. Her fee was $22,000 per month ($1,375 per day) plus expenses. She was renewed on "a rolling basis", again, without tenders until 26 Oct 2003.[The company doesn't appear to be registered — so Staunton Consultancy was just a trading name]

    For the next 6 months to October 26 2003 her accumulated fees were $143,000 [A higher daily rate than the Australian Prime Minister]

    Another source gives a different date (April 7) and says that Staunton was re-engaged by CSIRO's Director Geoff Garrett as a consultant for 4 days a week to advise on reshaping "corporate comunications" Her 'rolling contracts' of $22,000 per month earned her around $236,000 up to 29 Feb 2004

2003 May 23: CSIRO's Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Ron Sandland, advised the communications staff that: "In the short-term I will be appointing an external consultant (Donna Staunton) to offer high level strategic communications support and advice.

2003 June 6 - 7: CSIRO advertised the position (first time) of Director of Communications with applications closing 27 June.

2003 July 24: The Australian

A FORMER tobacco executive who was involved in the controversial "document retention policy" to protect the industry from legal action is now a director of the National Breast Cancer Centre.

    Donna Staunton, who declined yesterday to respond to questions put to her by The Australian, is also on the board of the workers' compensation body, WorkCover NSW.

2003 Aug: CSIRO Board approves the "Communications Strategy 2003-2007 strategy."

2003 Sep: At this time the CSIRO had two Ministers: The Senior Cabinet Minister for Education, Training and Science, Brendan Nelson, ex-AMA director from NSW and fierce anti-smoking activist; and a junior Minister of Science Peter McGauran from Victoria.

    Since Brendan Nelson would have known Donna Staunton from previous battles, it has always been difficult to understand how her appointment to the CSIRO was possible given that it was clearly being made by McGauran at the political level — with Victorian State Liberal party involvement.

    The problem disappears, however, when you know that Tom Switzer, who had trained with the American Enterprise Institute, and then worked for the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, was Brendan Nelson's Senior Policy Advisor.

2003 Sep: An offer was made to recruit Steven Murphy (ex Jeff Kennett's media officer, now a disk jockey in Melbourne) but this was "blackballed politically" and there was no readvertisement.

2003 Oct: The key CSIRO Corporate Communications staff

  • Donna Edman (Government Relations)
  • Rebecca Scott (Internal Communications)
  • Lillian Harrison (External Communications)
  • Richard Forbes (Media)
  • Sian Manley (CSIRO Enquiries)

    Korn/Ferry International (headhunters) were paid fees of $88,939. "Following the first round of inverviews in August 2003, Staunton expressed an interest in applying for the position and was asked [by CSIRO executives] to submit a formal application to Korn/Ferry International [Source: Senate Estimates Question/Reply]

2003 Oct 27: (Appointed formally November) Staunton's un-tendered, rolling contract was renegotiated as another un-tendered rolling contract as Acting Director of Communications at the CSIRO. She was to be paid $1,375 per day.

2003 Oct 27: Staunton was re-engaged as Acting Director of Communications on contract, with no tender, and on the same terms as before. For the next 3 months to February 29 2004 her fees were $93,000

2004 Feb 29: Staunton's contract period ends (total 11 months). For the entire contact period from 7 April 2003 she earned $236,000 plus expenses.

2004 Mar 1:: Peter Pockley of Australasian Science learned of Staunton's appointment before it was made public after she told some partliamentarians. Pockley had submitted written questions to the CSIRO about her contract, which had by then turned into an appointment/employment. [The CSIRO has 150 officers categorised as "communicators"]

2004 March 15:: to June 2: Sometimes during this period the title of her position was upgraded to Executive Director of Communications, but this was not announced internally. Until July 2004 her 'company' web site continued to advertise her availability and had not declaration of her CSIRO engagement.

2004 Mar 2: Donna Staunton was formally appointed to the position but the extent of her tobacco-lobbying background was conceled from CSIRO scientists and her division's staff.

    Korn/Ferry International (headhunters) were paid fees of $88,939 for finding someone already acting in the position. The Senate Estimates Committee had been told that

"Following the first round of inverviews in August 2003, Staunton expressed an interest in applying for the position and was asked [by CSIRO executives] to submit a formal application to Korn/Ferry International"
[She didn't apply formally, nor did she go through the normal two-stage selection panel process]

    Appointment announced to CSIRO staff — but played down her lifetime tobacco lobbying experience. Her appointment was now a staff position for 4.75 days per week, at a rate which Garrett refused to divulge to the Senate Estimates Committee.

2004 April: Peter Pockley's critical article appears in Australasian Science. It exposes the Staunton appointment by the new head of the CSIRO, Geoff Garrett and he immediately blackballs the magazine.

See Pockley's later reply to Senate Estimates Inquiry: Page 10

2004 April: The US Tobacco Manufacturer's Association (TMA newsletter) Executive Report says:

Some senior scientists and science commentators in Australia have expressed surprise and concern over the recent appointment of Donna Staunton, a former vice president of Philip Morris and chief executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, to the position of director of communications for CSIRO, one of the country's leading scientific research organizations.

2004 April 1: and May 24 Geoff Garrett and Ron Sandiland both wrote to Peter Pockley objecting to his article and the cartoon that accompanied it. Sandiland wrote:

I am personally highly offended by the tone and presumption of your article. In this context, I am not willing to respond to your requests for information, and I must reluctantly question whether your credibility as an objective and informative science journalist is at risk.

    The tasteless and innuendo-laden cartoon that appears in your publication is surely the nadir of Australian science journalism. I cannot understand how a journalist whose integrity I have valued could have santioned such a scurrilous piece of junk."
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/eet_ctte/es (etc.)

2004 Apr 25: Article William Birmbauer for Sunday Age "CSIRO job for tobacco defender"

Dr Garrett now has less than two years to go in his five-year appointment and has declared his priorities by making an intriguing appointment as Director of Communications

    The job specification did not require the appointee to have any background in science or its communication. After working as a consultant for CSIRO since last May and being appointed Acting Director on 27th October the new full-time Director from the 1st of March is Ms Donna Staunton.

    When CSIRO management made a brief announcement to their staff of her engagement it did not mention her background but said she is highly regarded in political and corporate spheres.

    This is strange as Staunton does not shrink from declaring on her own website that she had a long period of work with the tobacco industry. She was a lawyer with Clayton Utz where she handled briefs for tobacco cases and then became Chief Executive Officer of the Tobacco Institute of Australia and Vice President for Corporate Affairs of the Philip Morris Group.

    A question on notice from Senator Carr has revealed Staunton's fee on contract was $ 22,000 per month while Acting Director for four days per week That rate is $264,000 annually and pro rata for five days per week the full-time contract would be around $330,000 a year This places Staunton in the top four earners in CSIRO at roughly three times the salary of a senior research scientist

    CSIRO's statement to the Senate shows that Ms Staunton is not a staff member but is engaged on a contract with Staunton Consulting Ltd She states she has expertise in risk management and reputation management.

As chief executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, Donna Staunton questioned the medical consensus that cigarette smoking was addictive, pointing out that millions of Australians had given it up.

    "I do not believe that cigarette smoking is an addiction, based on any reasonable definition," she told a Senate committee in 1994.

    Last month, Australia's leading scientific research organisation, the CSIRO, appointed Ms Staunton director of communications and the eyebrows of some senior scientists and science commentators hit the roof.

    How on earth, they wondered, could Ms Staunton, a former vice president of Phillip Morris, communicate preventive health messages given her defence of Big Tobacco? And what did she know about science anyway?

    A nasty dust-up followed - the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation's staff association received motions of concern from staff, the Australasian Science magazine wrote a scathing editorial, and Ian Lowe, the emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, said: "The only use she ever made of science was to try to obfuscate the issue of the health risks of tobacco."
The Age also published a statement that has subsequently been proved not to be true:
Dr Sandland confirmed that Ms Staunton worked for CSIRO as an acting director while Korn Ferry was looking for candidates to fill the position. She was shortlisted and went through the same process as other candidates.
"In the end she was the unanimous choice for the role," he said. The fee paid to Korn Ferry was "below that normally charged".
[The fee charged was not the fee paid. The CSIRO cut back Korn Ferry's fee because it had not found, shortlisted, or put her "through the same process as other candidates."

    She was selected personally by Garrett and Sandiland after the Korn-Ferry selection process had run its course and the company had failed to turn up what Garret said was a suitable candidate.]

2004 June: Institute of Public Affairs Newslaetter attacks:

Michael Borgas, President of its [CSIRO] staff association, and a senior scientist in its Division of Atmospheric Research.

    After an extensive search, CSIRO recently hired Ms Donna Staunton as Director of Communications, an appointment which Mr Borgas condemned. Why? Donna's sin was that she was formerly a non-paid director of the Institute of Public Affairs, an organization 'that questions the link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.'

2004 June 2: Labor Senator Kim Carr at the Senate Estimates challenged the selection of Staunton, following the revelations of Peter Pockley.

    The Senate Estimates committee learned that she was employed for 4.75 days a week, but the CSIRO declined to state her salary. {See Hansard]

2004 Jul 1: A long press-release from the Australasin Science magazine: CSIRO Spins a Doosra to Senators Staff and Public.

An investigative study published in the July edition of Australasian Science has found that CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett and his Deputy Dr Ron Sandland gave incorrect or incomplete answers to the Senate in an Estimates hearing on 2 June.

    In articles published tomorrow Australasian Science reveals:
  • CSIRO Director of Communications Ms Donna Staunton has not publicly retracted comments she made about the addictiveness of nicotine while serving as Chief Executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia. CSIRO claimed in the Senate that a letter Ms Staunton wrote to a noted antismoking campaigner was a public repudiation of her stance and presented no barrier to her appointment.

        However the recipient of that letter Prof Simon Chapman of the University of Sydney maintains:
      "Staunton's letter to me was private and I only copied it as such for information to the Australian Cancer Society board and one or two others Australasian Science publishes extracts from the letter that are not personal."

        While CSIRO management has never disclosed Ms Staunton's background to CSIRO staff or in answers to questions in Estimates hearings, Australasian Science publishes a soundly sourced account of Ms Staunton's employment record.

  • Ms Staunton brought to CSIRO 16 months experience in communications and no experience in science or its communication. Amid controversies over contracts awarded to other consultants without tenders CSIRO contracted Ms Staunton on $22,000 per month for a 4-day week plus substantial undeclared expenses. Her full salary remains secret.

  • In a written answer to a Question on Notice E767: CSIRO advised the Senate that contracts were awarded for Ms Staunton's services through Staunton Consulting Ltd. A search by Australasian Science through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission found no record of such a company either current or deregistered. There is only a record for a business Staunton Consultancy. The question remains as to the entity to which CSIRO paid its fees.

  • Dr Garrett told Estimates that as Ms Staunton is now a member of staff she requires the Chief Executive's permission for external work. When Senator Kim Carr noted that the website for Staunton Consultancy was still advertising her services on 2 June Dr Sandland replied:
      "I am sure that is an oversight I will attend to it forthwith."
    However the website remains online to this day.

  • When Senator Carr questioned why Ms Staunton's 2003 Communications Strategy was remarkably similar to a Communications Revolution plan produced by communications staff on 25-27 July 2001, Dr Sandland attributed responsibility for the 2001 plan to Ms Staunton's predecessor Ms Di Jay.

        However Australasian Science reveals that Ms Jay did not join CSIRO until 3 months after the plan was finalised and accepted by CSIRO's management and Board.

    Australasian Science has directed numerous questions to Dr Garrett in writing and repeated requests for an interview with Ms Staunton. All have gone unanswered. Dr Garrett and Dr Sandland have neither challenged previous articles published in Australasian Science nor asked for a right of reply. Instead they have stated their intention to blackball Peter Pockley, Australia's pioneer science reporter with four decades of experience, and Australasian Science, now in its 25th year. The full correspondence is published in Australasian Science.

    In its editorial, Australasian Science criticises this stance as it contradicts Ms Staunton's Communications Strategy which seeks to position CSIRO's executive team as open and transparent leaders.

    Australasian Science challenges Dr Garrett, Dr Sandland, and Ms Staunton to make themselves available for open interview and public discussion on science its communication and CSIRO's standards [Source: Press release]

2004 July 12: Twenty CSIRO communicators and educators put their names to an open letter to the Aust Science Communicators email network. The letter was a statement of unity behind CSIRO's Communications Director, Ms Donna Staunton, but stated up front that the signatories did not "reflect any 'official' CSIRO viewpoint".

    However, a memo distributed by Staunton four days earlier undermines the implied claim that the letter was independent of the CSIRO Executive. "We are currently drafting a response to the criticisms raised by Australasian Science," Staunton wrote on 8 July. "The response will be published in the upcoming Monday Mail and copied to the Australian Science Communicators list."

    In the Monday Mail to all CSIRO staff on 12 July, Chief Executive Dr Geoff
    Garrett stated that "a number of the articles published by the magazine are
    misleading and/or factually incorrect"

2004 July 14: Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing the following question, upon notice in the Australian Senate:

(1) Ms Staunton has not taken on any consultancy work since her employment as an officer of CSIRO began on 1 March 2004. Prior to that date, Ms Staunton was engaged by CSIRO as a consultant.

    Ms Staunton was engaged by Pfizer as a consultant for a short period in 2002, well before she had any involvement with CSIRO.

    Ms Staunton was engaged as a consultant by MIA [Group (a leading provider of imaging services)] until the end of January 2004.

    (2) At the time of appointment, Ms Staunton declared her involvement on three Boards (WorkCover NSW, The Global Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Centre. (Ms Staunton's term expired for the latter in April 2004). CSIRO conforms with the standard Commonwealth Government practice of maintaining a register of the private interests of senior executives. Under this process Ms Staunton's private interests will be monitored on a regular basis.
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display (etc.)

2004 July 26: And ASC member reported:

It is perhaps worth noting that although the 'Staunton Consultancy' website is still live (and still continues to showcase Ms Staunton's experience representing the tobacco industry) it now has the following paragraph added:
"Since March 2004 Donna Staunton has been engaged by CSIRO and is presently the Executive Director of Communications. As such she is not available for private consulting work."
(see: http://www.dstaunton.com ).
http://lists.asc.asn.au/pipermail/asc-list/2004-Ju (etc.)

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

  • Senator Kim Carr [Labor Party] again raised the issue of Ms Donna Staunton's appointment to the position of Executive Director of Communications and her role in the organisation, and issues relating to the employment conditions and the circumstances of the appointment of people in the CSIRO public relations area.
  • There was further questioning on the former head of media and internal communication, Mr Norman Abjorsensen, his appointment and the allegations made in his letter of resignation regarding inappropriate methods of how the panel selected preferred tenders in media training to facilitate media training for CSIRO's officers.
  • Senator Carr questioned CSIRO on the upgrading and redesigning of the CSIRO website. It was explained that this involved the designing a new single site to reflect the unified organisation, incorporating 253 web presences of CSIRO businesses, expected to result in maintenance savings.
  • Senator Carr questioned CSIRO regarding Dr Peter Pockley, a journalist from the Australasian Scientist, [who is] now denied [any of the organisation's] supplied information, despite long association with the CSIRO. It was explained that this had been a result of Dr Pockley's unrealistic demands to supply information at short notice.

2004 Nov: The CSIRO's Annual Report shows her salary was in the range of $260,000 to $330,000. In February they said it was at the top of this range. She maintains offices in both Canberra and Sydney, but expenses are additional.

2004 Dec: Norman Abj¿rensen resigned from CSIRO

2005: CSIRO paid Korn/Ferry $88,939 to select her. Richard Webster, the CEO of Korn/Ferry in Australia was also a member of both the boards of British American Tobacco, and of Nick Greiner's WD & HO Mills tobacco company. His two senior executives were (Thomas) Gary Reidy and Tim Flay, both ex-executives of British-American Tobacco.

    Craig Fuller, who was once the chief disinformation executive in Philip Morris (USA) Corporate Affairs and Donna Staunton's ultimate boss, was later the US CEO of the Korn/Ferry International division involved in executive recruitments.


AMP Miscellaneous
2005 May AMP chairman Peter Wilcox announced his retirement [in May 2005] and a proposal to return $750 million to shareholders at yesterday's annual general meeting.Wilcox said he became chairman of AMP as a necessity in 2003 when the group was in crisis. [He was fined $30,000 for his role in the Hardies asbestos debacle in Sept 2009]

2005 Feb: Peter Pockly's response to the CSIRO about comments (on the selection of Donna Staunton) made during the Federal Senate Estimates hearings. Pockley, probably Australia's most respected science journalists, had been black banned by the top two CSIRO executives.

    This was supposedly because of an article in Australiasian Science magazine (which he edits) on Donna Staunton's appointment, which included a cartoon of a CSIRO character in bed with a cigarette.

    The director had written:

"The tasteless and innuendo-laden cartoon that appears in your publication is surely the nadir of Australian science journalism. I cannot understand how a journalist whose integrity I have valued could have sanctioned such a scurrilous piece of junk"

2005 April: Australiasian Science (detailed in later article (Apr 06) "Gagging Row Rattles CSIRO Executives")

Staunton spun the false line that CSIRO had not blackballed Australasian Science in mid-2004, but in letters to the AFR, {Staff Association President, Dr Michael] Borgas (20 January) and former CSIRO Chief of Entomology Dr Max Whitten (23 January), challenged her claims, and huge salary ($300,000+). She returned to her bunker.

    The wide relevance of these exchanges became apparent when The Canberra Times revealed CSIRO's boost to fossil fuel research while cutting renewable energy (4 February), and ABC's Four Corners (13 February) exposed the gagging of CSIRO scientists on environmental issues, especially climate change.

    Three former senior scientists spilled the beans on how CSIRO managers restricted them from engaging with the media — Dr Graeme Pearman (AS, April 2005, p.43), Dr Barrie Pittock and Barney Foran.

2005 Apr: Australasian Science. Norman Abj¿rensen was engaged by Staunton in 2005 as one of her team of in-house communicators. Abj¿rensen was a good catch as he brought extensive experience at senior levels in the media and in science-related fields (notably pharmacy).

    He records how he rapidly became disillusioned by Staunton and her master Garrett for their naivetŽ in dealing with the media and staff.

"Garrett is ever suspicious of internal communication, seeing its prime objective as neutralising or even stifling dissent"

    "Staunton herself will not talk to the media (which is extraordinary for a communications director) and will not appear where she might be questionedÉ Staunton, who has told me and others in CSIRO how much she loathes the media, has never worked in the media."
After telling Staunton of his concerns she "became agitated , telling me perhaps that I needed to 'reconsider' my position. I did and resigned in December 2004". ["The Insider", Australasian Science, April 2005, pp 39-42]

Whoever pays the piper calls the tune
2007 CSIRO admitted that the coal industry had the power to suppress a new report questioning the cost and efficiency of clean-coal carbon-capture technologies because they partly funded the research.

2005 Dec: Nature magazine criticise the CSIRO for their beat-up of what was termed "Hyperbolic" claims that the high-protein "CSIRO Diet" had been "scientifically proven".

2006 Jan 4: Dr Michael Borgas, Staff Association President at the CSIRO called for her resignation in an article which appeared in the Canberra Times.

2006 Jan 7: The Australian Financial Review ran a story highly critical of the CSIR0 employing her.

2006 Feb 11: Canberra Times ran a story "Dark cloud for scientists"

2006 Feb 18: Canberra Times ran a story "Unhappy wellbeing week for CSIRO"

    At this time the CSIRO Executive Dr Steve Morton, had been grilled in Senate Estimates by Labor Senator Penny Wong, and had admitted that former [Liberal] Science Minister Peter McGauran had heavied him to clamp on CSIRO scientists' involvement with the Wentworth Group of conservation scientists, but McGauran later "denied" it.

2006 Feb 18: Staunton in a letter to the editor published in the Australian Financial Review, claimed that Peter Pockley and the Australasian Science magazine had not been blackballed by the CSIRO in mid 2004.

2006 June 12: The Sydney Morning Herald, Stay In Touch column by Damien Murphy "SPIN CYCLE":

It's goodbye to Donna Staunton, the CSIRO's executive director of communications, who in a 27-month career at the country's leading scientific research organisation seemed to attract more attention than a mad scientist with a machete.

    Staunton had been in the job barely a month in April 2004 when it emerged that one of her previous tasks had been chief executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, a post that sat oddly with those of a scientific bent who had come to the medical consensus that cigarette smoking was addictive.

    Then the former cigarette girl starred in a Senate estimates hearing in February 2005, partly for her stunning achievement of earning $330,000 a year - $52,000 more than the Prime Minister. Staunton became symbolic of the unhappiness that had crept into many CSIRO lives with the arrival from South Africa of Geoff Garrett as chief executive.

    Garrett was Staunton's greatest champion in her rough ride as head of CSIRO spin, and said her warm personal style would be missed, as would her humour under fire.

    Staunton, who was preparing lunch for 10 at her Bellevue Hill home yesterday, confirmed she would leave the CSIRO in mid-July to run her own business
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/06/11/11499644 (etc.)

2006 Jun:: See Australasian Science article by Peter Pockley on the CSIRO problems with Garrett and Staunton

2006 July 14: /E Staunton resigned from the CSIRO 'to spend more time with her children' and to run a 'strategic communications company' The Strategic Counsel in Sydney.

    Donna Staunton was Executive Director of Communications for CSIRO and also a member of its Executive Board. She was also on the board of climate-denier Institute of Public Affairs and on the Global Foundation

2006 Nov: Marilyn Chalkley, Manager of Media Liaison at the CSIRO replaced Donna Staunton who has left the organisation.

2007: Donna Staunton's "Strategic Counsel" website says:

Donna has been on the Board of the National Breast Cancer Centre (appointed by the Federal Liberal Government) and the NSW WorkCover Board (appointed by the State ALP Government). She has also sat on the Board of the Global Foundation and the Institute of Public Affairs.
[The appointment by the NSW Labor Government to the NSW WorkCover Board was made virtually automatically to CEOs of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, and may have had something to do with the generous donations the tobacco industry gave to the State Labor Party in New South Wales.

    The board position at the Institute of Public Affairs followed her from her CEO position at the Tobacco Institute of Australia to her Head of Corporate Affairs role at Philip Morris. When she resigned from Philip Morris, she remained as an IPA board member, while her PM replacement Eric Windholtz (another lawyer/lobbyist) gained a second board directorship alongsider her.)

2008 Sept: Donna Staunton is the CEO of HCIA — Hearing Care Industry Association (Sydney) The profile makes no mention of either her work for the tobacco industry or for her troubled role with the CSIRO. http://www.hcia.com.au/Resources/StepUp_Issue1_Sept08.pdf

2009 Aug 25: Brendan Nelson announced that he was resigning from the Liberal Party and his shadow portfolio (under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership). Tom Switzer, Simon Berger (both ex aides), Paul Fletcher and Arthur Sinodinos all lined up for preselection. Fletcher got it.

    Nelson blogs on a Liberal web site "My political carrer turned out to be as successful as my marriages."

2010: Canberra register of Lobbyists. She has John Cook also with The Strategig Counsel Pty Ltd. Her clients were
    1. Roche Products
    2 Blackmores
    3 Hearing Care Industry Association
    4 Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
    5 Aspen Medical Pty Ltd
    6 Lifehealthcare Pty Ltd
    7 Neurosciences Australia Ltd
    8 Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd
    9 Cochlear Limited (Asia Pacific)
    10 Bongiorno Wealth Management Pty Ltd
    11 First Voice http://lobbyists.pmc.gov.au/register/view_agency.cfm?id=95

    Listed also
    - Clifford Hallam Healthcare Pty Ltd
    - Neurosciences Australia Ltd
    - CanTeen Australia Ltd
    - Lifeaudiology Pty Ltd
    - Lifehealthcare Pty Ltd
    - Aspen Medical Pty Ltd
    - Pathways Health Management
    - Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
    - Hearing Care Industry Association
    - Blackmores
    - Roche Products
    [?????? First 11 match Richard Lenarduzzi of The Premier Communications Group. http://maxious.lambdacomplex.org/git/?a=viewblob&p (etc.)
    Her associate is John Cook

2012: Dwb (for period 2010 Dec 2 - Aug 16 2001) MP Pakula asked the Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business - Has the Minister (or their staff) met with representatives of the lobbying firm The Strategic Counsel. [Refused to answer]

    He appears to have asked the same question about every lobbyist in the register. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/da (etc.)

2011 Oct 16: Another list
    Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
    ASPEN Medical Pty Ltd
    Bongiorno Wealth Management Pty Ltd
    Canteen Australia Ltd
    Clinical Solutions
    Cochlear Limited (Asia Pacific)
    First Voice
    Hearing Care Industry Association
    Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd
    LifeHealthCare Pty Ltd
    Neurosciences Australia Ltd
    Ortho Group Pty Ltd
    Roche Products http://www.dpc.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0 (etc.)

2012 Jun 27: Updated Strategic Counsel List
    1 Roche Products
    2 Blackmores
    3 Hearing Care Industry Association
    4 Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
    5 Aspen Medical Pty Ltd
    6 Cochlear Limited (Asia Pacific)
    7 Bongiorno Wealth Management Pty Ltd
    8 Genomic Health Inc
    9 Melanoma Patient Group
    10 Vision Eye Institute
    11 Hear and Say First Voice
    12 Orthogroup Pty Ltd


CONTRIBUTORS:Jb22 lrt3 ajw2

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