CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia is removing the British monarchy from its banknotes.
The country’s central bank said on Thursday its new $5 note would feature an indigenous design rather than an image of King Charles III. But the king is still expected to appear on the coins.
The $5 note was the only remaining banknote in Australia to still feature an image of the monarch.
The bank said the decision followed consultation with the government, which supported the change. Opponents say the move is politically motivated.
The British monarch remains Australia’s head of state, although these days that role is largely symbolic. Like many former British coloniesAustralia wonders to what extent it should retain its constitutional ties with Britain.
The Reserve Bank of Australia said the new $5 note would feature a design to replace a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year. The bank said the move would honor “the culture and history of early Australians”.
“The other side of the $5 note will continue to feature the Australian parliament,” the bank said in a statement.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the change was an opportunity to strike a good balance.
“The monarch will always be on the coins, but the $5 note will say more about our history, our heritage, and our country, and I consider that a good thing,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton compared the move to changing the date of the national holiday, Australia Day.
“I know the silent majority don’t agree with a lot of the woke nonsense that’s going on, but we need to find out more about these people online,” he told 2GB Radio.
Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was at the heart of the King’s decision not to appear on the note, urging him to “admit it”.
The bank plans to consult with Indigenous groups when designing the $5 note, a process it says will take several years before the new note is made public.
The current $5 will continue to be issued until the new design is introduced and will be 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.
One Australian dollar is worth approximately 71 cents in US currency.