Capitals

Minimise the number of capitals in news and feature stories, but be aware that some capitals cannot be avoided.

Bill and Act: Capitalised when they refer to a specific Bill or Act, as in “Appropriation Bill”.

Budget: Only capitalise when referring to the “State Budget” or “Federal Budget”, not when you mean any old budget, such as a private, personal or departmental budget etc..

Government: Only capitalised if referring to a specific government, as in the “Bligh Government” or “Rudd Government”. Do not capitalise if referring to government in general or governments (plural). The “Federal Opposition” and “State Opposition” takes a capital, as does the political “Left”, “Centre”, “Right”, “Wets”, “Dries” and the “Coalition”.

Heads of State: Capitalised, as are ultimate religious leaders. “The Queen”, “the Pope”, “the President” (as head of State), “the Speaker” (of a legislature), “the Premier”, “the Prime Minister” and “the Chief Justice”.

Minister: Only capitalise if referring to a full, formal title, as in “Queensland Health Minister Michael James”. Leave in lower case in subsequent or non formal mentions “the minister’s spokesperson said …”

Organisations: Take capitals for their proper (and any shortened) names, but titles of their officers are lower case, as in “managing director”, “general manager”, “administrative assistant”, etc., but “CEO” keeps its capitals.

Racial groups: Capitalise them, as in “Caucasian”, “Melanesian” and “Aboriginal”.

Ranks: Capitalise them when using with names, as in “Inspector Smith”, but use lower case when subsequently referring to “the inspector”. Use the full rank title in the first reference, as in “Lieutenant Colonel Smith” but subsequent references can be “Colonel Smith”.

State: Capitalised when referring to a specific state, as in “There was flooding across Queensland” and “There was flooding across three states”.

Titles: For books, films, songs, programs, etc., use capitals only for principal words and written in italics, as in “The 1930s classic movie Gone with the Wind”, “the Oscar winning One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “he told Britain’s News of the World newspaper he was quitting …”.

Lower case: Use for “royal family”, “royal yacht”, “royal tour”, “caucus”, “coalition”, “communism”, “communist” (policy not member), “socialism”, “socialist”, “liberalism”, “liberal” (except where referring to a member of the Liberal Party); seasons “spring”, “summer”, “autumn” and “winter”; “earth”, “moon”, “sun”; points of compass as in “south of Brisbane”, “north west of Sydney” and “eastern Australia”; sport names as in “soccer”, “rugby union” and “Australian rules”; breeds of animals as in “wolf hound”. Remember the “Australian Labor Party” is without the “u” in “Labour”.

Upper case: Use for the “Australian Communist Party”, the “Socialist Left”, a “Communist” (member of party), accepted geographical districts such as “South East Asia”, “North Queensland”, “Far North Queensland”, “the Kimberley” and “Alexandra Headland”; country names contained in animal breeds as in “Australian terrier”, “German shepherd” and “Irish setter”.

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