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Aussie prime minister hit with seat-belt fine

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BRISBANE, Australia -- Prime Minister Bob Hawke pleaded guilty Wednesday to not wearing a seat belt and will be fined $80, a police spokesman said.

Hawke was being filmed in a live television interview while cruising the streets of Brisbane, capital of Queensland State, at the time of the offense.

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The prime minister, who normally buckles up in the front seat of his official car, moved into the back seat of his car so the cameraman could film him from the front.

Switchboards at the Queensland Police Department, newspaper offices and radio and television stations lit up with calls from viewers who saw that Hawke was not using his seat belt.

It is compulsory to wear a seat belt in both front and back seats of vehicles in Australia. Failure to do so carries a $80 fine.

Following the complaints, Hawke Wednesday called the Queensland Commissioner of Police Noel Newnan and asked that he be treated like any other citizen.

'The prime minister will be fined $80 and will lose one point on his driving license,' a police spokesman said.

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