World

Australia is removing the British monarchy from its banknotes and will feature an indigenous design rather than an image of King Charles on its new $5 note.

The nation’s central bank said the new note would honour “the culture and history of the First Australians” – replacing the current portrait of the Queen, who died last year.

The $5 note was Australia’s only remaining banknote to still feature an image of the monarch.

Australia’s Reserve Bank said the King is still expected to appear on coins.

The British monarch remains Australia’s head of state, although these days that role is largely symbolic.

The bank said the decision followed consultation with the government, which supported the change.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the change was an opportunity to strike a good balance. He added: “The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 note will say more about our history and our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing.”

However, opponents say the move is politically motivated.

Bank to consult with indigenous groups

Opposition leader Peter Dutton likened the move to changing the date of the national day, Australia Day.

“I know the silent majority don’t agree with a lot of the woke nonsense that goes on but we’ve got to hear more from those people online,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB Radio.

Mr Dutton said Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was central to the decision for the King not to appear on the note, urging him to “own up to it”.

Queen Elizabeth’s portrait has featured on the $5 note since 1992, and is drawn from photographs commissioned by the Reserve Bank in 1984.

The bank plans to consult with indigenous groups in designing the $5 note, a process it expects will take several years before the new note goes public.

Like many former British colonies, Australia is debating to what extent it should retain its constitutional ties to Britain.

The bank added that the other side of the $5 banknote will continue to feature the Australian parliament.

The current $5 will continue to be issued until the new design is introduced and will remain legal tender even after the new note goes into circulation.

The face of King Charles III is expected to be seen on Australian coins later this year.

Much of Australia’s currency already features indigenous figures and artwork.

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