Australia’s New $5 Banknote Will Feature Indigenous History Instead of King Charles
Story Code : 1039130
With the Australian government backing the decision, the move to balk at the presumed tradition of having Australia’s head of state on the note has already generated fierce debate.
Australia’s opposition leader, Peter Dutton, weighed in shortly after the announcement on Thursday on Sydney radio station 2GB, saying the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, would “have been central” to not placing King Charles on the note and should “own” the decision.
The Australian Monarchist League also disapproved, accusing Albanese – who is a longtime supporter of Australia becoming a republic – of “trouncing Australian democracy.”
However, Australian Greens party senator and Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman Lidia Thorpe called the change a “massive win for the grassroots, First Nations people who have been fighting to decolonize this country.”
The Australian treasurer, Jim Chalmers, told reporters on Thursday the change to the $5 note was the right decision.
The Australian Republic Movement chairman, Craig Foster, said Australians should only see themselves in national symbols.
According to polling in October by the Sydney Morning Herald, voters preferred the $5 note to feature an Australian, with 43% voting as such and 34% saying King Charles was their choice.
In September when the debate on the $5 note initially flared, Albanese, refused to be drawn on his view. But he said advocates for Australia becoming a republic were urging that an Australian feature on the $5 note, which is the most widely used note in Australia.
After the Queen’s death, the long-term debate on whether Australia should become a republic was reignited, with the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, using his condolence message upon the Queen’s death to push the cause. This was in contrast with the Australian Republican Movement, which temporarily suspended campaigning after her death.
Australia held a referendum that ultimately voted no on whether Australia should become a republic in 1999. The change to the $5 note comes as Australia is expected to vote in another referendum by the end of the year – to recognize First Nations Australians in the constitution and enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament on policy matters that affect them.