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From the Archives, 1983: Little enthusiasm for Keating’s currency changes

Melbourne’s two-up king, “Nappy” Ollington, said last night $1 coins would “just mean heavier work for me. But punters will welcome a $100 note; it will make things easier for them. Yeah, it will be easier to lose it, too.”

“Since the days of the pound money has lost all value,” he said. “They should be thinking of bringing in a $500 note and getting rid of one and two cent coins. What are they worth?”

Someone who did welcome the news was Mr Malcolm Steinberg, managing director of Leisure and Allied Industries, makers of amusement machines. He said $1 coins would mean price flexibility and perhaps the introduction of games offering several plays for $1.

At the South Sydney Leagues Club last night a spokesman said the club’s 80 poker machines would stay on 10 and 20 cent plays. “One-dollar pokies might work in Las Vegas, but not here,” he said.

And at Wrest Point Casino the acting manager said the new currency would make no difference. “We use English pennies in the two-up anyway.” But he thought big spenders around the roulette wheel might welcome $100 notes.

The junior vice-president of the Combined Pensioners’ Association of Victoria, Mrs Irene Ellis, and the State president of the Housewives Association of Victoria, Mrs Margaret Morrison, both said they saw no need for a $100 note.

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They said stores already found it difficult to change even a $20 note, and as elderly people often brought only small quantities this could be a problem. They also expressed concern about the extra weight $1 coins could mean in purses and pockets, the danger of small coins being lost easily, and confusion for elderly people who still felt happiest thinking in pounds and pennies.

The replacement of $1 notes with coins will mean conductors in older-style trams and buses carrying more weight around their necks. Asked about this yesterday, the secretary of the Tramways and Motor Omnibus Employees’ Association, Mr Jim Harper, said: “My word, we will certainly be looking at this.”

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