Northern Territory election live

Live coverage of the Northern Territory election count.


The links below lead to full displays of results for the 25 seats, updated live. Please excuse a few bugs that may still be evident, and also note that the calculations of booth swings and preference flows in cases where two-candidate preferred counts are not available are rather unscientific.

Arafura Braitling Fannie Bay Karama Nightcliff
Araluen Brennan Fong Lim Katherine Port Darwin
Arnhem Casuarina Goyder Mulka Sanderson
Barkly Daly Gwoja Namatjira Spillett
Blain Drysdale Johnston Nelson Wanguri

Thursday night

Robyn Lambley’s ever-precarious lead in Araluen ended the day at 13 votes, down from 17 yesterday. The NTEC says there are still 205 postals and 59 declaration votes outstanding, although not all of these will end up in the count. No new counting today in Namatjira and Barkly, and still nothing new in Blain.

Wednesday night

The CLP has hit the lead in Namatjira, where a strong trend on postals pushed them from 15 behind to six ahead, and slashed Labor’s lead in Barkly from 72 to 23, where both absents and postals added today favoured the CLP. All that would remain is a few dozen postals tops, which are unlikely to do Labor any favours, and maybe a dozen or two provisional votes, which might. In Araluen, what Robyn Lambley’s lead in Araluen has lacked in size it has made up for in consistency: extra postals and absents today left it at 17, to which it has progressed from 13 on Saturday to 26 on Sunday to 21 on Monday. Still no further counting in Blain, where Labor leads by 21. This leaves Labor with 13 confirmed wins and leads over the CLP in another two; the CLP with six confirmed wins and leads over Labor in one; and the Territory Alliance with a lead over Labor in another. Antony Green notes Labor’s primary vote is down 2.5% on the last election but the CLP’s has hardly changed, and that the CLP picked up only a small two-party swing and that even part of that could be accounted for by the switch to compulsory preferential voting.

Tuesday night

Everything that was in doubt yesterday remains in doubt today, although Labor’s 21-vote lead in Blain is handier than I thought it was: yesterday I said it would come down to the Coolalinga pre-poll booth, but Antony Green points out in comments that the votes here will have been entered as absents. No counting was conducted today for Blain or Araluen, where Robyn Lambley leads by 21. I’m not sure exactly what was counted in Namatjira today, but it has reduced Labor’s lead from 19 to 15.

Monday night

The five new two-candidate preference throws conducted today confirmed Labor wins in Fong Lim, Arnhem and Johnston and a CLP win in Katherine. They did not resolve the situation in Blain, where the distribution of Terry Mills’ preferences shows almost nothing between Labor’s Mark Turner and Matthew Kerle of the Country Liberals, with the former leading 2023-2002. This will be decided by the Coolalinga pre-poll booth, which recorded 148 votes from the electorate and still hasn’t reported for some reason.

Further counting today looked to confirm CLP wins in Braitling and Brennan, and they moved into a probably decisive lead in Daly, one of two seats they held in the previous parliament. In Barkly, Labor’s Sid Vashist’s held his lead at 72 votes, presumably thanks to rechecking, since absents broke 109-86 to the CLP. However, Namatjira is still up in the air, with Labor still holding on to a lead of 19 votes, although the strong trend to the CLP in postals seems likely to determine it in their favour. Robyn Lambley is clinging on to a 21-vote lead in Araluen, with absents breaking 142-131 but rechecking presumably cancelling it out, since she led by 26 votes yesterday.

This leaves Labor assured of a majority with no fewer than 14 seats, the CLP home in six and independents on two. The CLP could potentially win a further three, but those seats might equally go to Labor in two cases and Robyn Lambley in one.

Sunday night

The Northern Territory Electoral Commission will today conduct two-candidate preferred counts in five seats where its election night counts picked the wrong two candidates. This could potentially settle doubts about three close races: Arnhem, where the preferences of the CLP candidate and an independent will decide the result between Labor incumbent Selena Uibo and independent Ian Mongunu Gumbula, and Fong Lim, which looks a tight race between Labor and the CLP based on the primary vote, but where defeated Territory Alliance incumbent Jeff Collins was included in the preference count conducted on Saturday night; and Blain, where Terry Mills’s preferences will decide the result between Matthew Kerle of the Country Liberals and Mark Turner of the CLP. The other two seats are Katherine and Johnston, which will clearly be won by the CLP and Labor respectively.

Today’s counting widened Labor’s lead in Barkly from 71 to 102, which will probably be decisive — there are at most 600 votes outstanding for the CLP to turn the margin around. Braitling is now looking good for the CLP, as 108 postals split about evenly, leaving the 105 vote CLP lead looking too big for the outstanding votes to overhaul. The CLP has also taken the lead in Namatjira, where postals broke 81-26, turning Labor’s 30 vote lead into a 25 vote deficit, and they would also be hopeful that the trend on postals will deliver them Daly, where Labor’s lead has been cut from 28 to seven. Very much still in doubt are Brennan, where the CLP’s lead narrowed from 59 to 48 with the counting of 251 postals, with at least 400 votes still out there; and Araluen, where 179 postals increased Robyn Lambley’s lead from 13 to 26.

Barkly would give Labor a twelfth seat, from which it can hope to make it to a majority if either or both of the counts in Arnhem and Fong Lim go their way today. However, Braitling, Namatjira and probably Brennan and Daly are more likely to go to the CLP, adding to their clear wins in Spillett, Nelson and Katherine, with Fong Lim and Araluen at least potentially getting them to nine. There will be two independents from Goyder and Mulka, potentially a third from Arnhem, and perhaps also Robyn Lambley as a sole survivor of the Territory Alliance.

Close of night summary

Election night ended with a great many questions unanswered, such that all sorts of outcomes are mathematically possible. However, it is extremely unlikely that Labor will fail to win a majority. Of the seats we can be certain about, they have won 10, all of them carried over from the previous parliament: Casuarina, Drysdale, Fannie Bay, Gwoja (former Stuart), Johnston, Karama, Nightcliff, Port Darwin, Sanderson and Wanguri. The CLP can only be certain of two seats: Spillett, held by party leader Lia Finocchiaro, and Nelson, which has been gained with the retirement of its independent member Gerry Wood. Independent incumbents have retained Goyder and Mulka (formerly Nhulunbuy).

This leaves question marks of some kind over no fewer than 11 seats, although it might be thought a stretch to include Arafura and Blain, respectively all but certain to be won by Labor and the CLP. If those two are given away, Labor starts with 12 and the CLP with three. Six of the remaining nine in doubt could potentially be won by Labor, and the CLP is at least in contention in eight of them.

Arafura. Labor incumbent Lawrence Costa leads Gibson Illortaminni of the CLP 1155-1016, a lead of 139 votes. Illortaminni needs at least 80% of 353 remaining to be counted or, more realistically, the discovery of a serious error.

Araluen. Territory Alliance incumbent Robyn Lambley leads Damien Ryan of the CLP 1821-1808, a margin of 13. Outstanding issued votes are 494 postals, 70 pre-polls and 37 mobile booths, so obviously anything could happen here.

Arnhem. This is a race between Labor’s Selena Uibo and independent Ian Mongunu Gumbula, for which we don’t have a two-candidate count since the candidates designated for it were Labor and the CLP. Uibo has 41.5% of the primary vote to Gumbula’s 34.0%, which Gumbula could overhaul with two-third of the preferences from the CLP (16.4%) and another independent (8.2%). Outstanding issued votes — 322 postals, 95 pre-polls and 84 mobiles — will tend to widen Labor’s primary vote lead.

Barkly. After the Tennant Creek pre-poll rode to his rescue, Labor’s Sid Vashist ended the night with a lead of 71 (1137-1066) over CLP candidate Steve Edgington. Outstanding issued votes: 316 postals, 209 pre-polls, 122 mobiles.

Blain. One of the biggest surprises of the night was that Terry Mills finished a distant third out of three, resulting in the abandonment of the notional preference count between him and Labor’s Mark Turner. Mills’ preferences will decide the result between Turner, on 41.7%, and Matthew Kerle of the CLP, on 35.1%. Kerle needs about 64% of them, and the ABC projection appears to be based on an estimate of 75%.

Braitling. Joshua Burgoyne of the CLP finished the night with a lead of 101 over Labor’s Dale Wakefield, or 1958-1857. Wakefield needs at least 60% out of the outstanding issued votes: 399 postals, 73 pre-polls, 54 mobiles.

Brennan. Marie-Clare Boothby of the CLP holds a 59-vote lead (1812-1753) over Labor member Tony Sievers. Still to be added are the 153 votes cast at the Coolalinga pre-poll centre, together with 491 postals, 31 pre-polls and 23 mobiles.

Daly. In a seat vacated by Gary Higgins of the CLP, Anthony Venes of Labor ends the night with a 28-vote lead (1674-1646) over Ian Sloan of the CLP. Outstanding issued votes: 438 postals, 63 pre-polls, 29 mobiles.

Fong Lim. The notional two-candidate count was between Labor’s Mark Monaghan and Territory Alliance incumbent Jeff Collins, but the latter typified his party’s performance by finishing a distant third on 11.5%. Monaghan ends the night with 42.0% of the vote to CLP candidate Kylie Bonanni on 36.5%. This leaves Bonanni needing about 63% of the preferences of Collins and an independent who polled the remaining 9.9%. Three pre-poll centres accounting for 184 votes have yet to report; other outstanding issued votes are 413 postals, 31 mobiles and 20 pre-polls.

Katherine. Melanie Usher of the Territory Alliance will win if she can make the top two, but the most likely result is she will fall just short. She has 1020 primary votes (30.1%), a shade behind both Kate Ganley of Labor on 1116 (32.9%) and Jo Hersey of the CLP on 1094 (32.3%). Should she finish third, her preferences will win it for Hersey. Outstanding issued votes: 349 postals, 198 mobiles and 98 pre-polls.

Namatjira. This now looks like another seat where the Territory Alliance did well but not well enough, leaving the final count between Labor and the CLP, as per the notional preference count. This ended the night with Labor’s Sheralee Taylor with a 30-vote lead over the CLP’s Bill Yan, 1480-1450. Outstanding issued votes: 408 postals, 121 mobiles and 48 pre-polls.

Election night commentary

9.54pm. I didn’t make note earlier of Malarndirri McCarthy’s claim earlier that Labor was still in the hunt in Barkly, but events have borne it out: Labor won the Tennant Creek pre-poll booth 701-525, and now leads 1109 votes to 1047.

9.39pm. Braitling and Namatjira remain up in the air, with so much riding on the yet-to-report Alice Springs pre-poll booth.

9.36pm. In Katherine, Territory Alliance wins if it finishes second, and the CLP wins otherwise. Currently it’s Labor 32.8%, CLP 32.1% and Territory Alliance 30.3%, leaving the Territory Alliance heavily reliant on preferences from an independent who polled 4.8%, and a better performance on late counting that is typical of minor party candidates.

9.29pm. Antony Green discussing Araluen, which I had lot sight of: Robyn Lambley is now in trouble there, holding on to a lead by a handful of votes.

9.22pm. Labor appear to have firmed in Port Darwin, where the Darwin pre-poll booth has behaved fairly typically for the electorate. The ABC computer isn’t quite giving it to Labor though. I was including it when I credited Labor with 13 seats just now.

9.11pm. The second mobile booth from Arafura that Antony Green was being cautious about was indeed a lot better for the CLP than the first, but not by enough to put Labor in serious danger. I believe that puts to rest any doubt they will have a majority.

9.09pm. My earlier notion that the Palmerston pre-poll might save Terry Mills has proved a bust — he actually lost particularly badly there. The NTEC has now pulled its Mills-versus-Labor preference count. I believe the ABC computer is splitting Mills’ preferences 75-25 to the CLP — they will win if it’s better than 64-36.

8.46pm. Some numbers at last from Gwoja (formerly Stuart), where Labor has gone untroubled.

8.44pm. However, Antony Green says he thinks there is an anomaly in the count, suggesting the CLP is actually ahead.

8.41pm. A development in the count for Daly, which the ABC site is now recorded as a Labor gain.

8.39pm. There are non-trivial numbers now in Arnhem, with 10.3% counted, and there are no surprises: a big swing against Labor, but not enough to cost them the seat.

8.36pm. There’s been a big advance in the count in Araluen, and it seems clear Robyn Lambley will win, being well clear of Labor and solidly ahead of the CLP on the two-party count.

8.14pm. Funeral rites being read for Terry Mills on the ABC, but I still wonder if the Palmerston pre-poll booth might pull a rabbit out of the hat for him. Party spokesperson Delia Lawrie clearly doesn’t think so though.

7.52pm. We’re in the now customary lull between the election day booths having been wrapped up and waiting for the pre-polls, now more important than ever. One aside to note is that the Greens are second in Nightcliff, which I don’t think they’ve done in the NT before, although the seat is a clear win for Labor.

7.42pm. Katherine had been looking good for the Territory Alliance, but their candidate has now fallen to third in a close three-way race on the primary vote. If she stays there, the seat should revert to CLP type. They count is well advanced, at 59.1% counted.

7.38pm. Substantial numbers of votes in from Arafura, and the ABC computer says it’s lineball, but the raw figures look okay for Labor, who lead 578-384.

7.35pm. The ABC computer is giving the CLP six seats, but I can only see three that are bolted down — the two seats they hold already, Spillett and Daly, and Nelson.

7.33pm. I can see nine seats Labor look like winning, together with another three bush seats which you’d think they would win but where the count is too early or not started (Arafura, Arnhem and Gwoja). On top of that are another five seats which they could win. So a lot would have to go wrong for them to fall short of a majority.

7.23pm. Robyn Lambley now leads the CLP in Araluen, but the two booths in are both from election day. This will likely be decided by the Alice Springs pre-poll booth.

7.22pm. Labor-turned-Territory Alliance member Jeff Collins clearly won’t win Fong Lim, which looks like going back to Labor.

7.19pm. Some good news for the CLP from the Tennant Creek seat of Barkly, which they look like gaining after Labor won big in 2016.

7.14pm. Namatjira looks interesting, and a potential bright spot for the Territory Alliance; Labor, Territory Alliance and the CLP are about even on the primary vote. If the Territory Alliance can stay ahead of Labor, they probably win on their preferences. Slow count in Katherine, but their candidate their leads on the primary vote. So that’s two seats for them; Robyn Lambley is at least in the hunt in Araluen. But Terry Mills will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat in Blain. The ABC computer is giving Blain to Labor, but that’s based on a preference estimate that may be flattering them — a strong flow of Mills’ preferences to the CLP could give them the seat.

7.13pm. Independent Kezia Purick has retained Goyder, but the CLP looks like gaining Nelson with the retirement of independent Gerry Wood.

7.10pm. Labor are looking good though in the normally decisive Darwin suburbs seats: Casuarina, Johnston, Sanderson, Wanguri. But the CLP at least looks like picking up Port Darwin, a usually safe safe for them. The Territory Alliance are consistently running third in these places.

7.08pm. I wouldn’t be writing off Terry Mills either. The raw NTEC count has four booths in

7.05pm. The NTEC site is ahead of the ABC in Araluen, and it doesn’t look so bad for Robyn Lambley there — she’s a clear second ahead of Labor, and at least a prospect to win the seat on their preferences. The ABC computer is calling it for the CLP, but that’s based on Lambley coming third.

7.02pm. Another Territory Alliance incumbent, Robyn Lambley, is running third in her Alice Springs seat of Araluen — still early in the count, but if Lambley’s position doesn’t improve the seat looks like reverting to CLP type.

7.01pm. But again: what we may be seeing is Labor outperforming in election day booths, and the pre-poll booths may wind it back for them.

7.00pm. To the extent that a picture is emerging, it’s looking encouraging for Labor: they seem to be holding up in Darwin and are competitive in the Alice Springs seat of Braitling, which they were probably expecting to lose.

6.59pm. Though as Antony just points out, Mills is running third. The NTEC’s count is Mills versus Labor, but it may be that the final result will be Labor versus CLP.

6.56pm. The ABC computer is calling Terry Mills’ seat of Blain for Labor, but under the circumstances I’d want to see more votes. Most of the call is down to the election day Rosebery booth, and that could easily get washed away if it turns out his supporters were mostly going pre-poll.

6.49pm. The betting markets were expected new independent Beverley Ratahi to win Nelson, being vacated by independent veteran Gerry Wood, but the CLP have an early lead.

6.43pm. The ABC computer has Labor retaining the Darwin seats of Wanguri and Sanderson with slight swings in their favour. This is obviously encouraging for them, but a great deal of caution should be added given the near impossible task of effective booth-matching at this election. As just noted on ABC TV, Labor will clearly not repeat its coup of winning Katherine in 2016, where the Territory Alliance candidate is off to a good start.

6.33pm. The first booth in Michael Gunner’s seat of Fannie Bay has, by Antony Green’s reckoning, a swing to the CLP of 3.9%. His margin is 12.5%.

6.30pm. The first booth in is Tindal in Arnhem, which is the RAAF base near Katherine that has been newly added to the electorate in the redistribution. Only 76 votes, but the result is basically unchanged on 2016, when it was in the Katherine electorate.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Northern Territory election. I’m still scrambling to get some sort of live results reporting system in operation, but anything I’ll be able to manage will be experimental at best, and may not happen at all until the end of the night. You can naturally find the results at the ABC and the Northern Territory Electoral Commission.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

211 comments on “Northern Territory election live”

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  1. The NT election by the numbers

    We’re set for a flood of figures throughout the evening – with the final vote count all that really matters.
    But as we await the official count, let’s check out some other (mostly) relevant figures.
    NT population: 244,000 (approx.)
    Eligible voters: 141,225
    Early voters: 75,547
    Postal votes: 3,953 (received by yesterday)
    Seats in NT Parliament: 25
    Number of seats for majority: 13
    Overall candidates: 111
    Labor candidates: 25
    CLP candidates: 24
    TA candidates: 21
    Greens candidates: 10
    Independent candidates: 25
    Other candidates: 6
    Crocodiles: 100,000 (approx.)
    Reporting by Jano Gibson

  2. Wow. Early ones in Blain are not good for Mills at all! Looks like I might be eating my hat if that trend continues! Katherine a split early and Kezia ruling Goyder… no surprise there.

  3. Wanguri Spillett, Sanderson and Namatjira seem to be going to the predictions I had, as is Daly.

    But Nelson, wow! That early start for CLP is strong.

    I wonder if as the election went by, Lia performed better and that increased the CLP vote on actual election day. Will be interesting to see once pre-polls in mix.

  4. Ok seems the Territory Alliance bubble really did burst. Mills coming last in Blain and Robyn in trouble in Araluen. Green preferences normally favour ALP, so then she’d be eliminated either electing ALP or CLP. Wow. Guess the TA vote was softer than I realised. Still early but not looking good. [EDIT: The ‘Fireman’ aka Jeff Collins in serious trouble in Fong Lim too]

  5. Goyder getting tighter! But Mulka… wow! Those early numbers have it firmly in the IND camp. Braitling still open with CLP in a good lead, Brennan open with Labor slightly ahead.

    (EDIT: Casaurina staying Labor. Kevin Bonham reports that the Mulka vote is slightly down for IND in comparison… so a wait and see for the moment.)

  6. Kim Hopper (independent) coming third in Braitling. Scott McConnell getting pounded.

    Peter Chandler coming last in Brennan.

    Pretty much a three-way tie for second in Casuarina (CLP/TA/Grn), with Labor way out in front.

    Guyula cleaning up in Mulka with about 80% of the vote. The NTEC haven’t done a 2cp count there yet, so I guess we’ll have to wait for that. 😛

  7. Actually scratch the last one… that must’ve been Guyula’s home turf. Now back to even stevens with whatever other booth that was – Lynne Walker cleaned up just as hard there.

    Massive swing to CLP in Barkly.

  8. Arafura finally has some votes reporting. Labor Retain it looks like there.
    Drysdale also reporting, although this is close on early votes with TA+CLP just below ALP total. Preferences from other might be key, but let’s see how rest of booths go 🙂
    Fannie Bay updated and looks like that upset won’t materialise. Hayes perhaps a future CLP Senator or candidate in House of Reps come 2022?
    Karama looking like ALP Retain, but those TA preferences might decide it, depending on split.

    [EDIT: Missed Nightcliff. Looks easy Labor Retain]

  9. I don’t get this, and maybe the Territorians could explain it to me, but aren’t the people who are in and who support the TA the mortal enemies of the CLP? So why would they preference them?

  10. Based off what I heard on the brief news reports on the election, I wonder if the early-voting and postal voting bias towards the Coalition will be as significant given Labor has made much of being cautious because of Covid-19 and the CLP and Territory Alliance seemed to be campaigning on opening the economy – sending different signals to their voters about how to vote.

  11. Greens second in Nightcliff, both on primaries and 2cp. If that sticks, it’ll be the first time they’ve gotten into a 2cp count in the NT. Nice piece of history for them.

    Namatjira is a win for Labor, according to the ABC? On primaries, the CLP has 28.7% and everyone else less than that. Big mess.

  12. I’m sorry LvT but that man does not sound like he would be an asset to the Northern Territory parliament. Plus, if you want to sensoriously point the finger at people for drinking too much, then he’s a great place to start. Honestly, with your oft-professed condemnation of people who imbibe too much I’m surprised you can so fulsomely support Jeff Collins. However, I have found you conveniently hypocritical before today, so no news there I suppose.

  13. @B.S.Fairman – Labor NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy

    @Bird of Paradox – I noticed that little piece of Green tidbit too. Shall be interesting if that holds through the rest of counting.

  14. From the ABC live blog:

    “We won’t be at Territory Alliance’s event because we have been told we aren’t welcome.”

    Pre-emptive sore losers, eh?

    Labor winning in Drysdale, by the look of it. That’ll be the first time they’ve ever managed to retain a Palmerston seat.

  15. The Greens should do well on Animal Justice Party preferences in Nightcliff. On current percentages of vote (which will change, however in which direction I don`t know), they would keep second place after preferences (with an ALP victory).

  16. Larry Anthony talking about NT debt, in the middle of COVID-19!?! No mention of the Commonwealth debt though. What a hypocrite!

  17. Larry Anthony also sending out covert messages that he wants to see Terry Mills and TA merge back into the CLP. Wouldn’t that make for instability in all caps?

  18. Tom: yeah, the CLP would need pretty much all of TA’s prefs to get into second, and they’re likely to go all over the place. They’re 4.6% behind the Greens, with 5.2% for TA and 2% for AJP. ABC computer has flipped back to ALP/CLP preference count for some reason, but before it had a 2cp margin about 10% vs Greens.

  19. Historyintime,
    I happen to have a personal family connection to the Labor Party and government of Clare Martin, so I have as much right as anyone to be here.

  20. I bet Delia Lawrie’s glad she didn’t run in Karama for her new party.

    Gwoja’s finally on the board – easy ALP win.

  21. Ok back from a break. It’s like Eurovision… just had the jury votes and we have a rough idea of where things are, but come the televote (prepolls) anything can happen or change!

    After a reflective drink, I have to say I’m seeing more likely TA going the way of the Conservatives and winding up, with Lambley going back to being an independent. If Melanie Usher (Katherine – TA) actually does get up, I don’t think she’ll wait on the cross-benches and might join the CLP as she did try to get pre-selected for them first.

    But I shouldn’t be reading the last rites yet… still more votes to come. So let’s keep the popcorn going and enjoy!

    [EDIT: This is a bit like QLD 2017 – One Nation promised big but only got one seat. Or from a comment by Daniel on Tallyroom – it’s like Xenophon in SA 2018 – big vote no seats.]

    [SECOND EDIT: ok even Araluen looks rough now for Lambley]

  22. Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills has lost his seat of Blain, according to the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green.

    Oops. To lose leadership once might be regarded as misfortune. But to lose it twice… Might be time to retire from the game, Terry.

    Didn’t help his case with flip-flopping on fracking.

  23. Johnston: much closer to the 2016 result than the by-election, just with TA and the Lib candidate from the by-election eating half the Lib vote. The Greens got 17% for the third time in a row.

    Araluen: CLP 40%, TA 30%, others 30% (roughly). That means Lambley needs about two-thirds of preferences to win (mostly Labor and Green). Doable, I guess? ABC projection seems to think so.

  24. Daly, huh? Betcha it’s the Wadeye booth. (Peterjk23 from yesterday’s thread, come on down.)

    Whatever Mobile team Daly 1 is, Labor won it 789-505.

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