British monarch’s image to be removed from Australian banknotes
Australia’s central bank has announced that it will replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on its A$5 banknote with a new design that pays homage to the country’s Indigenous history.
This decision was made after consulting with the federal government, which supports the change. The other side of the banknote will still feature the Australian Parliament.
The move follows the death of Queen Elizabeth, which reignited the debate in Australia over its future as a constitutional monarchy.
A 1999 referendum saw voters opt to keep the British monarch as head of state.
The current center-left government is pushing for a referendum to recognize Indigenous people in the constitution and require consultation with them on matters affecting their lives.
The Prime Minister has stated that this is not the time for a debate on the monarchy’s role in Australia.
The main opposition party leader has criticized the bank’s decision as politically motivated.
The Reserve Bank plans to consult Indigenous groups in designing the new banknote, which will take several years to design and print.
The current note will remain in circulation until the new one is ready.
The move has been seen as a victory for Indigenous people fighting to decolonize the country.
In 2021, Australia officially changed its national anthem to recognize the Indigenous people as the oldest civilization in the world.
The A$5 banknote is the only Australian banknote to feature the image of the Queen, while Australian coins must carry the image of the British monarch, with King Charles set to appear on new coins.
King Charles is the ceremonial head of state in Australia and several other Commonwealth realms.