Asia

Australia's state-of-the-art $50 note misspells responsibility

Millions of banknotes have typographical error that was overlooked by central bank before printing and circulation.

    It is the most widely circulated note in Australia, accounting for nearly half of the total value of other banknotes in use and has been hailed for its multiple security features, including a microprint of a speech by the country’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan.

    But it also comes with a rather embarrassing typographical error.

    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has spelled “responsibility” as “responsibilty” on millions of new Australian $50 ($35) banknotes which came into circulation on October 18 last year.

    The typo, which first became known on Thursday when an eagle-eyed listener of radio station Triple M sent the station a magnified photo, appears in an excerpt of Cowan’s maiden speech to Western Australia’s parliament.

    The quote, which is barely legible to the naked eye and is repeated several times on the note, reads: “It is a great responsibilty (sic) to be the only woman here and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here.”

    Still, the RBA does not plan to pull the notes from circulation.

    “The Reserve Bank of Australia is aware of it and the spelling will be corrected at the next print run,” said a bank spokesperson.

    The note’s security features were designed to deter counterfeiting and include tactile elements for the visually impaired. It sports a head-shot of Cowan, who served as the first woman elected to an Australian legislature from 1921 to 1924.

    The bank said in its latest annual report its note printing subsidiary delivered 227 million Australian banknotes in 2017-18, including around 184 million new series Australian $50 banknotes.

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