Australia removes the British monarchy from its banknotes

Australia removes the British monarchy from its banknotes
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia is removing the British monarchy from its banknotes.

The country’s central bank said Thursday that the new $5 bill will feature a local design rather than an image of King Charles III. But the king is still expected to appear on the coins, which now bear the image of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The $5 note was the only banknote in Australia that still featured the monarch.

The bank said the decision was made after consultations with the center-left Labor Party government, which supports the change. Opponents say this move is politically motivated.

The British monarch remains Australia’s head of state, although that role is largely symbolic these days. Like many former British coloniesAustralia is debating the extent to which it should retain constitutional ties with Britain.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said the new $5 note will feature a design that replaces the portrait of the Queen, who died last year. The bank said the move would respect “the culture and history of First Australians”.

“The other side of the $5 bill 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 still be on the coins, but the $5 bill will tell more about our history, our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has welcomed the change in the date of the national day, Australia Day.

“I know the silent majority disagree with a lot of the nonsense that goes on, but we need to hear more from these people online,” he told 2GB Radio.

Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese played a key role in the decision not to have the king appear on the note and urged him to “own it”.

After taking office last year, Albanese began laying the groundwork for an Australian republic by creating a new assistant minister for the republic, but holding a referendum on serious constitutional ties with Britain has not been a top priority for his government.

The bank plans to consult with local groups on the design of the $5 bill, a process it expects to take several years before the new bill is introduced to the public.

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

King Charles III’s face is expected to appear on Australian coins later this year.

One Australian dollar is worth about 71 cents in US currency.

With the release of the 50 pence coin in December, the British currency began the transition to the new monarch. The coin features Charles on the obverse and his mother on the reverse.

There were 208 million $5 notes in circulation this week, worth AU$1.04 billion ($734 million), according to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Australia’s smallest denomination is 10% of the more than 2 billion Australian banknotes in circulation.

Albania’s centre-left Labor Party seeks to turn Australia into a republic with an Australian citizen as head of state instead of a British monarch.

After Labor won last May’s election, Albany appointed Matt Titlewaite as assistant minister for the republic. Thistlethwaite said in June that there would be no change in the Queen’s life.

Australians voted in a referendum proposed by the Labor government in 1999 to keep the British monarch as Australia’s head of state.

When the Queen died, the government had already committed to holding a referendum this year to recognize indigenous peoples in the constitution. The government rejected the addition of the republican question to this referendum as a distraction from local priorities.

At one time, Queen Elizabeth II appeared on at least 33 different currencies, an achievement recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.


Perry contributed from Wellington, New Zealand.

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