The Australian has admitted to plagiarising news stories from Fairfax rival The Age. 

Journalists at The Age became convinced The Oz was ripping off their stories when they noticed brief items in the paper’s Victorian edition had an eerie resemblance to their own work.

“We know The Australian is obsessed with The Age, but we didn’t realise it extended to actually plagiarising our work,” The Age’s editor-in-chief Andrew Holden told Crikey. “They are clearly going online and copying and pasting our work … We’re happy to provide them with a direct news service if they’d prefer. For a small fee.”

Holden accuses The Oz of filching his paper’s stories twice in the past fortnight for its page two “Your state” section — on Tuesday of this week and on October 8.

The Australian‘s editor Clive Mathieson said: “It does appear that on these occasions our briefs ripped off information from The Age website. The reporters who compiled the briefs have been told in no uncertain terms that it is unacceptable. Apologies to The Age. It won’t happen again.”

The first identified instance occurred last week. Here’s The Age‘s Deborah Gough on October 7 (republished October 8):

“Protesters and police are again facing off in Melbourne’s inner north after violent scuffles at the scene of an east-west tunnel work site. About 50 protesters and 20 police are at the corner of Station and Princes streets, North Carlton, where clashes occurred on Monday as workers tried to enter the site of test drilling for the tunnel project.

“Protester Mel Gregson said picketers were ‘thrown to the ground’ as the police moved them on from the drill site at the corner of Princes and Station streets about 9.30am. Collingwood resident Keith Fitzgerald, 70, whose Bendigo Street house is to be acquired as part of the road project, fell or was knocked as police moved protesters on, however police said there were no reported injuries. About 30 protesters were moved on by a large contingent of police and have returned to a caravan base at the corner of Brunswick and Westgarth streets in Fitzroy.”

And The Oz on October 8:

“Police yesterday morning broke up a group of East West Link protesters who had gathered at a North Carlton site to disrupt drilling work. It was the third time in recent days that police had moved picketers from tunnel drilling sites to allow workers to get to the rig.

“Protester Mel Gregson said picketers were ‘thrown to the ground” as the police moved them from the drill site at the corner of Princes and Station streets at about 9.30am. Collingwood resident Keith Fitzgerald, 70, whose Bendigo Street house is to be acquired as part of the road project, fell or was knocked as police moved protesters on. About 30 protesters returned to a caravan base at the corner of Brunswick and Westgarth streets in Fitzroy.”

And here’s The Age‘s transport reporter Adam Carey on Monday

“Overcrowding on Melbourne’s trains has increased under the Coalition government, contradicting official passenger counts that show the peak-hour squeeze has eased, an analysis by Greens leader Greg Barber has found.

“Public Transport Victoria’s most recent passenger load survey, in May, found peak-hour overcrowding had dropped off sharply in the past year, from 15.3 per cent of services in May 2012 to 11 per cent, and that the percentage of peak-hour passengers travelling on an overcrowded train had dropped from 23 per cent to 17 per cent. But documents obtained by the Greens through freedom of information reveal that the positive results did not include many trains that were affected by the knock-on effect of a cancelled or delayed service. Of the 437 trains surveyed, 113 were excluded.”

And The Oz on Tuesday:

“Melbourne’s trains have become more crowded under the Coalition government, despite official passenger counts showing a decrease in peak-hour overcrowding, according to analysis by state Greens leader Greg Barber.

“The Public Transport Victoria survey, released in May, found peak-hour overcrowding had dropped from 15.3 per cent of services in May last year to 11 per cent this year. But after obtaining the documents under Freedom of Information laws, the Greens say many trains affected by the knock-on effect of a cancelled or delayed service have been excluded from the results. Of 437 trains surveyed, 113 were excluded.”

Earlier this year, The Australian‘s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell called The Age “the most one-dimensionally left-wing paper in our nation’s history” and blasted the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association for naming it newspaper of the year.

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