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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1288

Senator MCAULIFFE (QUEENSLAND) - Has the AttorneyGeneral's attention been drawn to the front page banner headline in last Friday's issue of the Brisbane 'Telegraph' which stated: 'Rates of Interest to Rise"? I hold up a copy of the headline. Was the support for this statement a prediction by a leading Liberal Party crystal ball gazer in Queensland, Mr J. C. Moore? As many people would have been misled by this headline into believing that the Australian Government had made a decision along those lines, will the AttorneyGeneral investigate the matter to see whether newspaper readers can be protected in some way from misleading and deceptive headlines such as this?

Senator MURPHY -I have seen the newspaper headline referred to by the honourable senator. It is quite clear that the headline was misleading. There is no basis for it at all. It is regrettable that newspapers print in this way a prediction made by somebody in politics as if that prediction were a statement of fact. A headline 'Rates of Interest to Rise' would convey to the ordinary reader that some decision had been made that interest rates would rise, instead of conveying the impression that this was a mere prediction by some party official who said that he thought they were going to rise. I regret that nothing can be done by the Government to stop excesses of this kind. I suppose that some selfdiscipline is required on the part of those who print this kind of thing or people inevitably either will cease to buy the newspapers or they will cease to be influenced by this kind of misleading headline.

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