Australia is removing British monarchy from its bank notes

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia is removing the British monarchy from its banknotes.

The country’s central bank said Thursday that its new $5 bill would feature an indigenous design rather than an image of King Charles III. But the king is still expected to appear on coins.

The $5 bill was Australia’s only remaining banknote that still featured an image of the monarch.

The bank said the decision followed consultation with the government, which supported the change. Opponents say the move was politically motivated.

The British monarch remains Australia’s head of state, although this role is largely symbolic these days. Like many former British coloniesAustralia is debating the extent to which it should maintain its constitutional ties with the UK.

Australia’s Reserve Bank said the new $5 bill would feature a design that would replace a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year. The bank said the move would honor “the culture and history of the first Australians”.

“The other side of the $5 bill will continue to feature the Australian Parliament,” the bank said in a statement.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the change is an opportunity to strike a good balance.

“The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 bill will say more about our history and heritage and our country and I see that as a good thing,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton likened the move to changing the date of the national holiday, Australia Day.

“I know the silent majority disagrees with a lot of waking nonsense, but we need to hear more from these people online,” he told 2GB radio.

Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was central to the King’s decision not to appear on the note and urged him to “commit to doing so”.

The bank plans to consult with indigenous groups on the design of the $5 bill, a process it expects will take several years before the new note is released.

The current $5 will continue to be issued until the new design is launched and will remain legal tender after the new bill is released.

King Charles III’s face is expected to appear on Australian coins later this year.

One Australian dollar is worth around 71 cents in US currency.

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