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Tin buồn: Cựu Phó Thủ Tướng Úc Đại Lợi ông Tim Fisher (1946-2019) vừa qua đời

22/08/201917:09(Xem: 4798)
Tin buồn: Cựu Phó Thủ Tướng Úc Đại Lợi ông Tim Fisher (1946-2019) vừa qua đời

Tim Fisher-2
Cựu Phó Thủ Tướng Úc Đại Lợi ông Tim Fisher vừa qua đời


Đài ABC Úc vừa đưa tin buồn, Cựu Phó Thủ Tướng Úc Đại Lợi ông Tim Fisher,  vừa qua đời tại Sydney tối qua (21-8-2019)  sau 10 năm chiến đấu với ba loại bệnh ung thư, sau cùng là ung thư máu (Leukaemia), hưởng thọ 73 tuổi. Ông Tim Fischer chào đời tại  Lockhart, New South Wales vào năm 1946, từng tham chiến tại Việt Nam từ 1967 đến 1969. Vào tháng 10 năm 2018, Ông Tim Fischer được chẩn đoán mắc bệnh ung thư bạch cầu và bản thân ông cho rằng  lý do dẫn đến căn bệnh quái ác này là ông  tiếp xúc với chất độc màu da cam trong thời gian ông tham chiến tại VN ( In October 2018, Fischer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia; and he died on 22 August 2019. Fischer himself attributed the illness to exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam). Sau khi về lại Úc, ông ra làm chính trị và đắc cử vào Quốc Hội tiểu bang NSW từ 1971 đến 1984; từ 1984 đến 1999 ông là dân biểu của Quốc Hội Liên Bang Úc, đặc biệt ông là Lãnh Tụ Đảng Dân Chủ và được công cử làm Phó Thủ Tướng kiêm Tổng Trưởng Thương Mại của chính phủ Úc từ năm 1996 đến 1999 trong chính quyền của Thủ Tướng John Howard. Trong nhiệm kỳ này, ông có công ủng hộ quyết liệt và ban hành luật cấm sử dụng súng (gun control) vĩnh viễn tại Úc sau cuộc thảm sát 35 người chết & 23 người bị thương tại  Port Arthur, Tasmania vào ngày 28/4 /1996. Thành kính phân ưu cùng tang gia hiếu quyến ngài Phó Thủ Tướng và cầu nguyện  Vong Linh Phó Thủ Tướng Tim Fisher sớm thác sanh về cõi giới an lành. 

Nam Mô A Di Đà Phật.

TM. Đạo Tràng Tu Viện Quảng Đức,
Viện Chủ: TT Thích Tâm Phương
Trụ Trì: TT Thích Nguyên Tạng



Tim Fischer obituary: singular political character who rose to become Australia's deputy PM

Former Nationals leader was an internationalist who forged closer relationships with Asia and spoke out against Pauline Hanson

Tim Fischer
 Tim Fischer, who began his career in the NSW parliament before heading to Canberra, was deputy prime minister under John Howard. Photograph: Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

When Tim Fischer, who has died aged 73, announced just after question time on 30 June 1999 that he was quitting as the deputy prime minister of Australia to be more present in the lives of his two young sons, the reaction was unusually sentimental.

Sustained applause broke out in the House at the conclusion of Fischer’s farewell, and the standing ovation extended for more than a minute. Journalists also stood in the gallery above the bear pit and applauded as a mark of respect, and possibly contrition, given his rise to the Nationals leadership had been treated derisively by many commentators. During his farewell at the dispatch box, Fischer had cocked an eyebrow at the correspondents and observed: “To the media I would say this. It was about 12 months ago that you stopped calling me idiosyncratic. I knew then it was time to start thinking about getting out of politics.”

The respect from around the chamber was a collective acknowledgement that Fischer had not taken the easy road during his public service. He had stood with John Howard during the tumultuous times that followed the Coalition’s ascension to power in Canberra in 1996 – navigating both the gun control debate that followed the Port Arthur massacre, which caused significant grief in the bush, and the rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, a disruption to the political landscape that threatened the hegemony of the junior Coalition partner. Fischer’s biographer, Peter Rees, noted: “Never once had Fischer dropped the ball on populism.”

The departure wasn’t a complete shock. Fischer told the Nine Network in the same month he called time on his leadership that 1998 had been the worst of his 28 years in public life because “we had to deal out the left and the extreme right”. The battle with One Nation had been enervating, and Fischer felt he was needed at home. His son Harrison had been diagnosed with autism.

When Fischer resolved it was time to go to the backbench before leaving politics, after an Apec meeting in Auckland, he informed his close colleagues of his intentions. On the plane ride back to Australia he shared the news with the then Australian Financial Review journalist Brendan Pearson on the basis he would not report the development until the deputy prime minister informed the House. According to Rees’s account of events, confiding in Pearson proved useful to Fischer when Howard tried to persuade him on his return to Canberra to delay the announcement. The Nationals leader told Howard the die was cast. There would be no delay.

Tim Fischer says goodbye to John Howard at Sydney airport after handing the PM his resignation, 18 July 1999
 Tim Fischer says goodbye to John Howard at Sydney airport after handing the PM his resignation, 18 July 1999. Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Timothy Andrew Fischer was a singular political character. He was born on 3 May 1946 in Lockhart, in rural New South Wales. Educated in Melbourne, he served in the army during the Vietnam war before returning to settle in Boree Creek in the Riverina. He went into politics in 1971, first in the NSW state parliament, moving to the federal arena in 1984. He married Judy Brewer later in life, in 1992, and the couple had two sons. Fischer rounded out his professional life as a tourism executive and with an ambassadorial appointment to the Vatican.

Fischer was a lifelong railway enthusiast. In his book Steam Locomotives That Galvanised the Nation, Fischer recounts an episode of trainspotting, aged 10, on the Newell Highway over bridge near the Narrandera railway station. His experience of bearing witness is almost rhapsodic. “My thoughts that morning were fully engaged by the brilliant colour, action and movement of the big black steam locomotive hauling some rust red carriages with gold trimmings.”

Closer to home, the contact with trains was more prosaic. The young Tim would accompany his father on Monday nights just after 7pm to collect the Sydney Sunday papers that arrived with passengers on the CPH rail motor. But even that small element of routine burned bright in recollection. “What joy as the rail motor with its big searching headlight came sweeping around the corner in winter; a quick whistle stop, and then off it would hurtle into the night.”

Trains assumed importance because they were part of the way Fischer encountered the world. Young Tim rode the train to boarding school in Melbourne, battling intense homesickness as the non-sporty chess player struggled to find his tribe at Xavier College. He rode troop trains in the army, and back in the Riverina he loaded sheep and grain and unloaded superphosphate from freight trains.

Fischer said he was never a trainspotter in the “classic British sense” but his lifelong fascination stemmed from wanting to understand the role trains, both passenger and freight, played in the development of modern economies. In some of his writing, Fischer processes the passage of time and societal change by reflecting on the pre-war Australian prime ministers who rode trains, changing transport at state borders because of different gauges, through to his own career navigating the journeys to the parliament in Sydney and in Canberra.

During his political career, Fischer made a point of visiting railway stations from Pretoria to Tehran to “get a feel for the standard of living and quality of infrastructure in countries off the beaten track”. During his diplomatic appointment at the Holy See, Fisher contributed to the the Caritas Express – a steam train journey from the Vatican Gardens to Tuscany.

Tim Fisher in 2003
 Tim Fisher launches ‘The Hat’, a special Akubra designed and given to John Laws to mark his 50th year in broadcasting in 2003. Photograph: Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Fischer, an imposing physical presence, decked out in an Akubra, with a speaking style possessing the mild echo of a childhood speech impediment, was underestimated by many prominent Canberra commentators when he took the Nationals leadership federally in 1990. The acerbic political commentator Alan Ramsey declared in his inimitable fashion that Fisher was the first dingbat ever to lead the National party.

Fischer’s politics were a mixed bag. John Hewson took the trade ministry away from the Nationals during the Fightback period, and Fischer was dogged until he grabbed it back from the Liberals. Unusually for a National of his period, Fischer wasn’t a protectionist, he was an internationalist, and broadly comfortable with the economic rationalism of the Liberal party.

Rees notes in his biography Fischer believed rural Australia had to evolve with the times or it would be squeezed out of international markets. In 1996 he told his party’s national conference, “shutting Australia off from the rest of the world behind a protectionist barrier – trade and human – is just plain dumb”.

Tim Fisher and his National party team, 23 March 1993
 Tim Fisher and his National party team, 23 March 1993. Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The devout Catholic was socially conservative, and fiercely opposed to gay rights during his time in politics. Fischer was criticised during the Wik and Mabo debates for forcefully taking up the objections of pastoral leaseholders to Indigenous land rights, but while his positions in that debate were contentious, he stood firmly against racism.

He spoke out against Hansonism, labelling her interventions on race “divisive, dumb and wrong”. Fischer, who took on Hanson more forcefully than John Howard, was the only government minister to sign up to the parliamentary code of race ethics championed by Labor and the Australian Democrats.

He was also interested in forging closer relationships between Australia and Asia, and during his service in the trade portfolio built up a substantial network of political friends and allies in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. He was also a critic of Israel’s aggression against Lebanon, which caused friction with Liberals.

Tim Fischer speaks with friends, relatives and community representatives during a the Port Arthur memorial, 19 May 1996
 Tim Fischer speaks with friends, relatives and community representatives during a the Port Arthur memorial, 19 May 1996. Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The gun control debate was enormously difficult for Fischer and the Nationals. The then deputy prime minister stood shoulder to shoulder with Howard in championing regulation after Port Arthur, but there was a fierce backlash in the bush, and there was an open rebellion inside the Nationals, with Fischer under intense pressure from Queensland MPs, including De-Anne Kelly and Bob Katter (who parted ways with the Nationals in 2001). His leadership faced an acute threat.

Some of the ugly rallies against gun control included effigies of Fischer. The deputy prime minister told protesters at a rally in Gympie gun control was “about taking out of the suburbs of Australia the semi-automatics and automatics that should not be in the suburbs of Australia”. As the protesters hurled abuse, a teenage girl took the stage with Fischer to back the deputy prime minister’s stand.

The then federal Labor leader Kim Beazley later reflected Fischer could have chosen to allow the Nationals to differentiate themselves from the Liberals in the gun debate because Labor supported the regulations Howard implemented, so Nationals numbers weren’t required to get the changes legislated. “It would have passed this House very easily without the support of your National party members,” Beazley said in the chamber. “But you chose not that easy road out. You chose to lay your leadership on the line and persist in a course of action which was right for the country.”

Fischer, who died of cancer, is survived by his wife, Judy, and his sons, Harrison and Dominic.

 Tim Fischer, Australian politician, born 3 May 1946; died 22 August 2019

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Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer
has died in Albury after a fight with cancer

Tim Fischer. Photo: Eddie Jim.

 Tim Fischer. Photo: Eddie Jim.

FORMER deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has died in Albury at the age of 73.

The father of two and AC passed away peacefully on Wednesday night surrounded by those closest to him, following treatment at the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.

A family statement paid tribute to "the wonderful medical and nursing professionals".

"After successfully battling three cancers since 2009, the fourth cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia eventually claimed his life although he continued to contribute to his many passions and attend functions right until the day of his final hospitalisation," the announcement stated.

Beloved: Tim Fischer at his last public appearance at Boree Creek last month. He took a train from Albury to the village, where a park named in his honour was unveiled. Picture: MARK JESSER

 Beloved: Tim Fischer at his last public appearance at Boree Creek last month. He took a train from Albury to the village, where a park named in his honour was unveiled. Picture: MARK JESSER

His most recent public appearance occurred last month at Boree Creek, where he welcomed a reserve being renamed the Tim Fischer Community Park, after having travelled by train to the village from Albury.

Asked at the time by The Border Mail about his health, Mr Fischer said: "It's up and down, but thanks to the good work of the Albury cancer centre I have no complaints."

Tim is survived by wife Judy Brewer AO and sons Harrison and Dominic.

In announcing his death, the family declared it would not be making any further public comment until funeral arrangements were finalised.

Family man: Mr Fischer with wife Judy Brewer and son Dominic at Boree Creek. Picture: MARK JESSER

 Family man: Mr Fischer with wife Judy Brewer and son Dominic at Boree Creek. Picture: MARK JESSER

Those who want to send condolence messages can email brewerfischerfamily@bigpond.com and in lieu of flowers donations to the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust (awcancertrust.org.au) in Tim's name are welcome.

Mr Fischer was deputy prime minister from 1996 to 1999 as part of the Coalition government led by Liberal prime minister John Howard.

He was the leader of the National Party from 1990 to 1999 and represented the seat of Farrer in federal parliament from 1984 to 2001.

Mr Fischer's career in Canberra, followed a 13-year period as a NSW state politician for the seats of Sturt and Murray.

He was first elected as a 24 year-old in 1971, becoming the youngest NSW politician to be voted in as well as the first returned serviceman from the Vietnam War.


Tributes flow in for the Nats leader who changed course of politics


Always a farmer at heart, Tim Fischer pictured in 1990 in a canola crop in a story for The Land. It's Barossa canola on his farm Peppers at Boree Creek.

 Always a farmer at heart, Tim Fischer pictured in 1990 in a canola crop in a story for The Land. It's Barossa canola on his farm Peppers at Boree Creek.

A man of simple, honest values that he stood by all his life, is how many people remembered the former Nationals leader Tim Fischer who has passed away after a battle with leukaemia.

A 'Renaissance man' who was into everything from trains to his famous annual Tumbarumba bushwalks with the press, the boy from Boree Creek, who grew up at "Peppers" in the Lockhart shire, was a "titan" of the National Party.

But he was also respected across the breadth of politics, admired for taking on his own party over tighter gun controls during the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre, modernising his party under the banner New Challenges-New Horizons, leading his party into government and as Trade minister clinching groundbreaking trade deals in China and elsewhere.

Tim Fischer left an indelible mark in his 73 years. Known as "two-minute Tim" for his style of flitting from meeting to meeting around the country, people remembered him actually as a man who took his time to say hello, and enthuse them with positive energy. He would even help young journalists who felt nervy interviewing him. Forever wearing an Akubra, he would greet anyone who came into his near vicinity.

The former Vietnam veteran who believed Agent Orange may have contributed to his steep decline with leukaemia in his later years (he battled four cancers), he learnt his humility the hard way in war, and then as a grounded person, translated that into one of the hardest spheres possible, in state and federal politics.

Tim Fischer, second from left, served in Vietnam.

 Tim Fischer, second from left, served in Vietnam.

He left politics to be closer to his family and then later becoming the ambassador to the Holy See in Rome, and helping in the push to canonise Mary MacKillop, Australia's first saint.

It was his quiet diplomacy that left his mark on many people.

Nationals president and former MP Larry Anthony saw Tim Fischer last week as Fischer was gravely ill fighting off acute leukaemia in Albury-Wodonga hospital.

"Even when I saw him last Friday with Kay Hull (former MP), he had a positive outlook. He was always interested in other people, had an unusual compassion, sort of an old style that left its mark, a generosity that touched many people and had their lives changed by it. He made our life a better place.

"There were many facets to Tim, an author, an ambassador, a train enthusiast and a veteran. He also had a great sense of humour."

NSW Nationals director Ross Cadell said Fischer was a "titan" of the party. "The Nats are a family and we are feeling it. Our thoughts are with Judy and the family. He was a giant and we miss him."

Fischer was a Vietnam veteran.

 Fischer was a Vietnam veteran.

He had close relationships with journalists, often ringing news organisations news desks on his own bat (one of these authors actually took one of his calls on a subject of a Grafton siege), helping younger journalists, and organising the Tumbarumba walk each year with the Canberra press gallery.

A former Land editor and current wool writer Vernon Graham had some memories of Fischer.

"He had a remarkable career which included farming on Peppers at Boree Creek, army service as a conscript during the Vietnam War and ambassador to the Holy See," Graham said.

"Mr Fischer was also obsessed with trains and fought a long and unsuccessful battle to get Sir John Monash, a famous Australian general during the First World War, posthumously raised to the rank of Field Marshal.

"But he made his biggest mark as a politician starting in the NSW Parliament from 1971-84 before his election to the House of Representatives at the 1984 elections as the member for Farrer.

"Despite having a lisp and a talent for mangling the language, Mr Fischer won over the public for being honest and a straight shooter even though he was derided by his opponents and the city media for being a "hayseed".

"He was a frustrating person to interview because of his short attention span and sometimes incomprehensible sentences. He also had a down-to-earth approach to serving constituents in his Riverina seat, embarking on regular car trips to towns in the electorate where he would meet people at pre-advertised locations."

Simon Chamberlain, press secretary for Kevin Anderson, recalled his days as a reporter for Queensland Country Life and how he drove Mr Fischer to the airport one day and combined the errand with an interview. "The helpful politician grabbed Mr Chamberlain's dictaphone and asked his own questions before answering them!," The Land's Jamie Brown was told.

The current member for Farrer (Fischer's old seat), Sussan Ley said: "Australia has lost one of its great political characters and regional Australia one of its great champions".

"Tim was one of a kind and my thoughts go out to Judy, Harrison and Dominic.

"Today is a sad day for the people of Farrer whom Tim represented on the national and international stage over seventeen years and who I succeeded as local member following his retirement.

"Tim was a mentor, whose passion for the history, culture and politics of our region shone through in everything he said at home and abroad. He travelled among us, he spoke for us and we loved him for that.

A hat and tie man.

 A hat and tie man.

"Whenever I drive the backroads of my electorate near Boree Creek I am reminded of the Vietnam Veteran farmer in the slouch hat who strode amongst us, and his passion for finding a place for rural Australia on the world stage.

"While much will be said about Tim's achievements today - for me, the memory will be of the affable family man relaxing at the Lockhart Show enjoying a snag around the barbecue with his boys, chatting about trains .... and, of course, wearing that hat."

Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said Australia had lost one its finest people with the passing of Tim Fischer.

"Tim was a giant of The National Party, he was a giant of Australia, but more than that, he was a champion for regional and rural communities. Regional Australia had no better friend than Tim," Mr McCormack said.

"He was a proud Australian who embodied the very best qualities of loyalty, kindness, empathy, courage and humility.

"He loved Australia as much as Australians loved him and that passion for his country was evident throughout his life and career.

"There are few people who have had the impact on The National Party and indeed this great nation as Tim Fischer AC. His presence was felt in every room he entered and his name and legacy will continue to benefit those who choose regional and rural Australia as their home.

"My heartfelt thoughts are with Tim's wife Judy, sons Harrison and Dominic and his many friends across Australia."

Archbishop Mark Coleridge has paid tribute to former Ambassador to the Holy See.

Archbishop Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said Mr Fischer was a larger-than-life personality who throughout his career was genuinely dedicated to service.

"Tim was a man of many interests and with many talents, but those of us who have known him will remember most his warmth, his humanity and his strong conviction to pursue what is right," he said.

In a release from the Catholic Church it said: "In 2008, the Labor Government appointed Mr Fischer Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See. During his tenure from 2009-12, Australia's first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was canonised.

"In 2012, he was made a Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Pius IX, one of the Church's highest honours."

"Tim was very proud to be our man at the Vatican at the time and was a remarkable host and 'ambassador' for Church and country," Archbishop Coleridge said.

He noted that "Tim was renowned for his love of trains and, even during his time representing Australia in Rome, he managed to reactivate the Vatican railway".

"He was loved by all who met him", the Archbishop said, "and we mourn his passing. But we also celebrate all that Tim gave to his family, his community, his Church and his country.

"May he rest in the peace of Christ."

Former NSW Farmers president and current chairman of the Regional Australia Institute Mal Peters has had a long association with Mr Fischer.

"It is with deep sadness that I learn of his passing and I extend my sincerest condolences to his family," Mr Peters said.

"He was one of those rare blokes who would just tell you where you stood. I always found working with Tim that he was a great servant of farmers and a very honest broker."

Tim Fischer with his family, Judy with sons Harrison, and Dominic, right, at their Boree Creek property when as acting Prime Minister Mr Fischer ran the country from his farm.

 Tim Fischer with his family, Judy with sons Harrison, and Dominic, right, at their Boree Creek property when as acting Prime Minister Mr Fischer ran the country from his farm.

Mr Peters said the respect Mr Fischer had won as an "absolute honest broker" with the rural community enabled Mr Fischer to weather the controversial gun reform he pioneered with former Prime Minister John Howard.

"When John Howard did the gun buyback, Tim bore the brunt of rural people's reaction as the Nats leader," Mr Fischer said.

"But he carried it all with dignity and honesty. Some people didn't like what he was doing, but they respected the way he went about it."

Former NSW Farmers' president Derek Schoen, a lifelong mixed farmer from Corowa, first met Mr Fischer in the early 1980s.

As a member of the local Nationals branch he worked on Mr Fischer's successful 1984 campaign which launched him from state politics into representing Farrer in the federal parliament.

Mr Fischer had "enormous respect and affection" in his electorate, Mr Schoen said.

"People called him Two Minute Tim. It wasn't meant with any disrespect, it was just the way he would always work the room at any function.

"He would get to every single person there, but they'd only get two minutes."

Mr Schoen said people often remarked about how many people Mr Fischer knew by name, but one day he revealed his trick.

"Often when he went to a meeting or an event, he would find someone he knew and get them in conversation. Then he'd point to someone else and ask their name. If it was John Smith, then off he'd go and say 'Hi John', get talking and repeat the process around the room. It was a very astute way of circulating."

Mr Schoen said whenever Tim did speak to people, he never heard of them leaving with a bad word to say.

"He wanted to listen to what people had to say, and it was such a rare quality.

"He would remember things about previous conversations, ask about your family and you felt he was a part of your life."

"Tim stuck to it and we achieved a very good outcome in firearms control after Port Arthur.

"It was a very difficult period, but he always had a reason behind what he did and that's why he stood out as a politician."

Former Nationals Leader and New England MP Barnaby Joyce said Mr Fischer could be personified as "enthusiasm guided by a laser like compass of values".

"From service to our Nation as a conscript in the Vietnam War, and then a second tour out of a sense of duty, he took this character to the second highest office in our land," Mr Joyce said.

"His quirkiness masked a forensic intellect for the more obscure tabulated data. His hat was a signal of a person who wanted to be seen by the people so they could approach him. "I am going this way. Walk with me" was one of the first times that I approached Tim. He was never dismissive, but he was busy.

"He personified leadership in the gun debate, taking the high road and the hard one, putting his political capital on the line.

"He was the ballast that gave longevity to the John Howard political ship. He was the standard by which so many National Party Leaders after him were judged."

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson said Mr Fischer made an "enormous contribution to regional and rural Australia" as federal Trade Minister.

"Mr Fischer is remembered for his tireless work as Trade Minister, in particular for his role in opening access in markets including China, India and Iran," Ms Simson said.

"Of course we're unlikely to ever see a more passionate and pragmatic advocate for the importance of a modern, efficient rail-based freight system, as the former Deputy Prime Minister."

Former NSW Farmers' president Jock Laurie said he was saddened to hear of Mr Fischer's passing.

"He was a real character, and an absolute gentleman too," Mr Laurie said.

"Tim had his own unique style. Rural people like to see someone express themselves and be genuine, like he always was.

"He was always absolutely honest and rural people loved him because of that."

In 1999, Fischer ran the country from his property at Boree Creek when he was acting Prime Minister.

Michael McCormack (who continued the tradition) said: "Tim has left the station but his legacy will live on. So many people were touched by his warmth and humanity.

"He was one of the great National party leaders, for Tim the country meant everything, but he always did things in the national interest.

"Vale Tim Fischer, you have been a mighty human being."


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Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below,
may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma,
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