Australia, historic breakthrough: Charles III wiped from new banknotes, an Aboriginal design in his place

Elizabeth Smith

Historic decision by the Central Bank of Australia: the image of King Charles III will not appear on Australia’s new $5 banknotes.

The reason? “The time has come to adopt a new design that honors the culture and history of early Australians,” reads a note.

The new design will thus be intended to replace the figure of the late Queen Elizabeth II that still appears on the bills in circulation. However, the central bank added that the coin with the new effigy will not be ready for a number of years.

Charles III won’t figure on new Australian $5 banknotes

Australia, therefore, is removing the image of the British monarch from its banknotes: instead of the late Elizabeth, a design honoring indigenous culture.

That decision not to depict King Charles III on the $5 bill, made after a consultation with the center-left Labor Party government that supported the change, means that no U.K.-based monarch will remain on Australia’s paper currency.

Instead, the face of the British king will remain on metal coins for a while longer.

The nation’s republican movement, in welcoming the decision, pointed out that indigenous people predated British settlement by 65,000 years.

Opponents say the move is political. Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was instrumental in the decision not to have the king appear on the bill, urging him to “admit it.”

Australia taking the direction to becoming a Republic

After taking office last year, Albanese began laying the groundwork for an Australian republic by creating a new post of deputy minister for the republic, but holding a referendum to sever constitutional ties with Britain has not been a priority for his government.

The bank plans to consult with indigenous groups in the design of the $5 bill, a process that will take several years.

“The other side of the $5 bill will continue to represent the Australian parliament,” the central bank said in a note. Its 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, our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he commented to reporters in Melbourne.

An Australian dollar is worth about 71 cents in U.S. currency. The transition to the new British currency began with the 50 pence coin release. The coin figures Charles on the front, while the back commemorates his mother.

Read also: Prince Harry puts the British monarchy at risk: 15 revelations in his bombshell book Spare

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