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22.03.2009 Australia

Australia nude photos were fakes

By BBC
Australia nude photos were fakes


Australia's largest newspaper group has apologised to politician Pauline Hanson for printing photos it wrongly claimed showed her in raunchy poses.

Editors from News Limited admitted that they had been conned and that the images were not of Ms Hanson.

The photos were published in the run-up to Saturday's election in the state of Queensland, in which the right-wing politician failed to win a seat.

She said she believed the photographs may have been a factor.

Ms Hanson, a former lawmaker, shot to prominence in the 1990s when she claimed that Australia was "in danger of being swamped by Asians".

But correspondents say her influence has dramatically declined in recent years.

'Ex-boyfriend'
"I have said all week I'd be the first person in Australia to apologise to Pauline Hanson if it were proven the photographs were not of her," Neil Breen, the editor of Sydney's Sunday Telegraph wrote.

"We've proven it ourselves, so Pauline, I'm sorry," he added.

Damon Johnston, the editor of Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun, said: "We acknowledge that Ms Hanson was right all along - and we were wrong."

The photographs were published in newspapers in the News Limited group - a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - on 15 March.

The newspapers said they had been taken by Jack Johnson, a man purporting to have been Ms Hanson's boyfriend in the 1970s.

Ms Hanson denied any knowledge of the images, saying she had never heard of the man claiming to be her former lover.

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