Australia’s central bank has announced that it will remove the image of the British monarch from banknotes and replace it with a design that celebrates indigenous culture.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said on February 2 that it would consult with Indigenous people on the new design to “celebrate Aboriginal culture and history”.
The image of the late Queen Elizabeth II will be removed from the A$5 note and King Charles III will not be printed. This decision means that there will be no more British monarchs on Australian banknotes. However, the portrait of Charles III is still expected to appear on the coins.
Australians mourn after Queen Elizabeth II’s death on September 8, 2022. However, some indigenous ethnic groups insist they oppose the effects of British colonialism, calling for the abolition of the monarchy.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy, with King Charles III currently the head of state. In 1999, Australia held a referendum to convert to a republic but failed.
The RBA said the decision to remove the image of the British monarch was supported by the government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. He was a proponent of the transition to a republic. The new bill will take several years to design and print, while the existing A$5 note will still be usable after the new note is introduced.
This move by the RBA was praised by supporters of the republican country. They emphasize that indigenous people settled in Australia 65,000 years before the British.
“Australia believes in meritocracy. Therefore, the idea that someone deserves to benefit from our money by inheritance is unacceptable, nor is it acceptable to assume that someone deserves to benefit from our money. they should be the head of state by birth,” said Craig Foster, president of the Australian Republican Movement.
“The idea that an unelected king should be on our currency in place of Aboriginal leaders, elders and prominent Australians is no longer logical.”
Meanwhile, the Federation of Australian Monarchs criticized the decision, saying that “before holding a referendum on whether the people want to continue to have the King of England as head of state or replace it with a president, the government arbitrarily removed the King from the 5 dollar bill.
“This is certainly not Australia’s democracy,” the organization said in a statement.
The image of the British monarch appeared on Australian banknotes from 1923 and on all denominations until 1953, when Elizabeth II was crowned. Her face has appeared on the Australian 1 dollar bill since 1966. Since 1984, Australia has replaced the 1 dollar banknote with coins. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth has appeared on the A$5 polymer note since 1992.
Hong Hanh (Theo AFP)