Royal Family to Be Ditched From Australia’s Five-Dollar Note
(Bloomberg) – Australia plans to ditch the head of the British royal family from its five-dollar bill in favor of a design that honors the country’s Indigenous culture.
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The new note will replace the portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II with a tribute to the First Australians rather than an image of King Charles III, the Reserve Bank said in a statement Thursday. The decision was preceded by a consultation with the federal government.
“The five dollar bill will say more about our history, our heritage and our country,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday. “I see that as a good thing.”
The government had already indicated last September, shortly after the Queen’s death, that it would not use her son’s picture on the new banknote. The design and printing of the note will take a number of years and will be done in consultation with First Nations people.
Along with Canada, New Zealand and other former British Empire colonies, Australia still counts the monarch as its head of state. A 1999 referendum to become a republic was narrowly defeated, but debate has simmered as Australia’s stature as a regional power and globally important economy has grown. Previous polls suggest that the population is broadly divided when it comes to breaking away from Britain.
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has previously suggested that during his tenure he would like to see a national referendum on Australia becoming a republic, making an Australian head of state.
Britain’s Royal Mint said last year it would begin the slow process of converting the late Queen to British currency and stamps with the King. The government has already announced that the king’s profile will appear on Australian coins sometime in 2023.
(Updates with Treasurer’s comment in third paragraph)
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