Money & Banking

Hiding in plain sight: Bizarre $10 note conspiracy theory

Hiding in plain sight: Bizarre $10 note conspiracy theory

A cohort of Australian conspiracy theorists has claimed they found “proof” of an organised coronavirus conspiracy on the $10 note.

Some “COVID-19 truthers” said the sign of a global conspiracy is featured on the Australian $10 banknote in the form of a gold reflective illustration.

“The new $10 Australian note complete with corona virus symbols. You can’t make this up!” one Facebook post read.

The coronavirus conspiracy movement, which has led to small protests in Sydney and Melbourne in recent weeks, reportedly believe the pandemic is an orchestrated effort by billionaires and governments to force vaccinations on the general population.

The Reserve Bank said the $10 note feature is an illustrated version of Bramble Wattle.

“Tilt the banknote to see a rolling colour effect, which is visible on both sides of the banknote,” the Reserve Bank said on its website.

“The feature appears on each denomination of the Next Generation Banknotes series, with a different type of wattle depicted in the design on each banknote. In this instance, the design framing the feature is a designer’s interpretation of Bramble Wattle.”

Katie Attwell from the University of Western Australia said conspiracies receive “worrying” level of traction because of the uncertainty the general public is facing.

“The general public is uncertain, afraid, and experiencing cognitive impairment from the strain of it all,” Attwell wrote on The Conversation.

“Governments overseas, most notably the US government, have failed dismally in responding efficiently to COVID-19. This has the potential to devastate citizens’ trust.

“In this volatile cocktail, the distinction between what is ‘bats**t crazy’ and what is worryingly plausible starts to break down.”

In a recent survey of 1,073 Australians, one in eight said they believe Microsoft founder Bill Gates is somehow responsible for the coronavirus and the 5G wireless network is spreading the disease.

“For those who reject these premises, it’s hard to understand how conspiracists sustain this alternative reality. But for those with long histories of rejecting government and expert authority, it’s completely conceivable,” Attwell said.

“Many of those who reject vaccines, or strenuously object to COVID-19 health measures, are influenced by interconnected social groups with clear identities.”

Attwell said it might be best to “quietly ignore” lockdown protesters to stop the spread of misinformation, “like a parent walking away from their child’s supermarket tantrum”.

“When we walk away from a child having a tantrum in a supermarket, we are also saving them from themselves – even if they can’t appreciate it.”