1. Fire units outside Melbourne's American Chamber of Commerce
2. Close-up 'Decontamination Unit' sign
3. Various firemen
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Robyn Larson, General Manager American Chamber of Commerce in Australian
"Well, we got our mail as usual, bought in by the mail lady, handed to our receptionist, she took it and started to open it. She came across a letter with plain writing on one side, and no identifiable markings with no return address and a regular stamp. She opened it up, there was a Christmas card with white powder inside - kind of granulated not kind of a cosmetic type of powder. It was on the outside and on the inside and she immediately put it into a plastic bag and washed her hands and we called the fire brigade and the police department."
5. Firemen setting up chemical shower
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Robyn Larson, General Manager American Chamber of Commerce in Australian
"Oh yeah. She's been showered, she's been sent home in a taxi with paper clothes on. They washed down all the areas, turned off the air conditioning, and closed the building."
7. Police writing report and pans out to emergency service staff
8. SOUNDBITE (English) John Howard, Australian Prime Minister
"And I would say to people don't be alarmed, don't get too concerned about it, on the other hand you have to be vigilant."
9. Evacuated staff looking on and pans to building
10. Follows firemen in chemical suits removing the letter in sealed drum
11. Close-up washing down the drum
12. Mid of firemen washing each other with water
13. Various wides of the decontaminating procedure
14. Close-up of chemical shower on fireman
15. Follows the drum being put in a plastic bag
16. Cutaway to city traffic interrupted and fire unit leaving
Australian officials, including the Prime Minister, sought to calm a jittery public on Tuesday after a rash of anthrax hoaxes forced the evacuation of dozens of offices across the country.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne was among several centres that reported potential scares on Tuesday amid fears of an anthrax attack sparked by outbreaks of the disease in the United States.
The Melbourne Chamber of Commerce staff were isolated and workers from other businesses evacuated after a suspicious package was delivered to the office.
Chamber general manager Robyn Larson said the envelope addressed in handwriting to the office had a blank Christmas card with white powder inside.
The receptionist who opened the mail got the powder on her hands, she said.
"The police and fire brigade came in, immediately showered her, put her in paper clothes and sent her home in a cab," Larson told The Associated Press.
Another woman was taken to hospital in the northeastern city of Cairns after opening a letter from a federal government agency and reporting that she felt itchy.
She was later discharged from hospital unharmed.
Both letters are undergoing tests.
Prime Minister John Howard said there were 57 suspected anthrax cases recorded on Monday but all of them had been proven false.
"A very large percentage of them have been reported because either the mail article was addressed from a suspicious place such as Florida, or somewhere else that immediately triggers a connection with some kind of anthrax threat," Howard said.
He said there had been seven cases where a powder substance was found, but each had been cleared after tests.
Howard assured the public that authorities were doing all they could to keep any anthrax threat under control.
"People should be assured of that, but they also should understand that we have to be very vigilant and can't afford any degree of complacency," he said. "We have to be very cautious, but we shouldn't panic."
On Monday, the Prime Minister said he would introduce to Parliament tougher laws for people sending hoax mail with the intent of spreading fear if he was returned to office at national elections on November 10.
The proposed laws would provide for a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, double the term for normal mail hoaxes.
Australians are jittery about the possibility of terror attacks because of their government's staunch support of U.S.retaliation aimed at destroying terrorist networks in Afghanistan.
Howard has offered troops, aircraft and navy ships.