Australia to replace Queen Elizabeth II's image on $5 banknote
Australia announced the move to erase the British monarch from its banknotes on Thursday, replacing the late Queen Elizabeth II's photo on its $5 note with a new design honoring Indigenous culture. This move from the central bank to leave her successor King Charles III off the $5 note means no British-based monarch will be on the Australian notes.
Why does this story matter?
- The passing of Queen Elizabeth last year triggered fresh debates in Australia regarding the country's future as a constitutional monarchy.
- People of the country voted and chose to keep the British monarch as its head of state in its 1999 referendum.
- The move to revise the note comes as Australia's Labor government pushes for a constitutional referendum to include Indigenous people in the document.
Reserve Bank of Australia's statement on new $5 note
The Reserve Bank of Australia will confer with the Indigenous people about a new design that "honors the culture and history of the First Australians." It also said that the new banknote would take several years to be designed and printed, while the current $5 note will continue as legal tender even after the new design gets into circulation.
Move backed by PM Albanese's Labor government
The country's central bank also confirmed that this move is backed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's Labor government, which supports an eventual transition into an Australian republic. This decision has been hailed by the country's republican movement, which cited that aboriginal people predated the British settlement by nearly 65,000 years, reported the news agency AFP.
Australian Republic Movement chairperson's reaction
Chairperson of the Australian Republic Movement, Craig Foster, said: "Australia believes in meritocracy so the idea that someone should be on our currency by birthright is irreconcilable." "To think that an unelected king should be on our currency in place of First Nations leaders and elders and eminent Australians is no longer justifiable," he added.
Australia observed public mourning on Elizabeth's death
On September 8 last year, the death of Queen Elizabeth II was observed by public mourning in the land down under. However, numerous Indigenous groups publicly voiced their disapproval and protested against the destructive effect of colonial Britain at the time on the country. Furthermore, the groups also called for the abolition of the monarchy in Australia.