Australia’s central bank announced on Thursday that it will replace the image on the $5 note with an indigenous design instead of a portrait of King Charles III after switching currency with the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The decision will completely remove the company from the nation’s banknotes, as the $5 bill was the last remaining note featuring the monarch, although the king will still be on coins.
The bank said the move was made after discussions 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 the first Australians”, while the reverse of the note will continue to feature the Australian Parliament.
“The Bank will consult with First Australians when designing the $5 banknote. It will take several years for the new banknote to be designed and printed. In the meantime, the current $5 banknote will be issued. It will be able to be used even after the new banknote is issued,” the bank said in a statement.
Treasurer of Australia Jim Chalmers told reporters in Melbourne that the change is an opportunity to strike a good balance between Australia’s monarchy and heritage.
“The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 bill will say more about our history and our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he said.
The Royal Australian Mint, the country’s coin maker, has not yet released the design for the king’s portrait coins.
While the British monarch remains Australia’s head of state for the time being, the country has been in debate over the decision to sever constitutional ties with Britain.
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Commenting on 2GB Radio, opposition leader Peter Dutton compared the decision to pressure to change the date of Australia Day, a national holiday celebrated annually on January 26.
“Obviously there are major attacks on Australia Day, people want to change that. There will then be an attack on the national anthem, the flag, the name of Australia as we see it in other parts of the world,” Dutton said.
He added that the “silent majority” in Australia disagree with the “awake 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 note, urging him to “admit it”.
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FOX Business has reached out to the Prime Minister’s team for comment on the allegations.
An Australian dollar is worth about 71 cents in US currency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.