Australia’s central bank announced on Thursday that it would replace the image on the $5 note with an Aboriginal design instead of a portrait of King Charles III after the currency transition featuring the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The decision will remove the country’s banknote business altogether, as the $5 note was the last remaining note depicting the monarch, although the king will still feature on the coins.
The bank said the decision was made after consultation with the government, which supported the change, according to The Associated Press.
Opponents believe the decision is politically motivated.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia said the new $5 note “will honor the culture and history of early Australians”, while the reverse side of the note will continue to feature Australia’s parliament.
“The Bank will consult with First Australians to design the $5 note. The new note will take several years to design and print. In the meantime, the current $5 note will continue to be issued. It can be used even after issuance of the new note,” the bank said in a statement.
Australia’s Treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Melbourne that the change was an opportunity to strike a good balance between the monarchy and Australian heritage.
“The monarch will always be on the coins, but the $5 bill will say more about our history, our heritage and our country, and I consider that a good thing,” he said.
The Royal Australian Mint, the country’s coin maker, has yet to release the design of the king’s coins.
Although the British monarch remains Australia’s head of state for now, the country has debated the decision to cut its constitutional ties with Britain.
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In comments to 2GB Radio, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton likened the decision to pressure to change the date of Australia Day, a national holiday celebrated annually on January 26.
“There are obviously major attacks on Australia Day, people want to change that. Then there will be an attack on the national anthem, the flag, the name of Australia as we see in other parts of the world,” Dutton said.
He added that the ‘silent majority’ in Australia disagreed with the ‘woke nonsense’ going on and encouraged those people to speak out against the ‘attacks on our systems, on our society and our institutions’.
Dutton also accused Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of playing a role in King Charles III’s decision not to replace Queen Elizabeth II on the banknote, urging him to “own it”.
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FOX Business has contacted the Prime Minister’s team to comment on the charges.
An Australian dollar is worth approximately 71 cents in US currency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.