King Charles portrait will not replace Queen on Australias 5 dollar banknote
King Charles’ image will not replace the lateQueen on Australia's new five dollar banknote, it has been announced.
The new design will instead honour "the culture and history" of Indigenous Australians, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said.
The decision, which was made in consultation with the Australian government, comes after thedeath of the Queen last year sparked debates about Australia's future as a constitutional monarchy.
It has been hailed a victory by anti-royalists.
Lidia Thorpe, a Greens senator and DjabWurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman, tweeted: “This is a massive win for the grassroots, First Nations people who have been fighting to decolonise this country.
“First Nations people never ceded our Sovereignty to any King or Queen, ever. Time for a Treaty Republic!”
First Nations people lived in Australia for at least 65,000 years before British colonisation, according to recent estimates.
The RBA said it would consult First Australians when designing the new $5 banknote.
Its statement added: “The new banknote will take a number of years to be designed and printed.
“In the meantime, the current $5 banknote will continue to be issued. It will be able to be used even after the new banknote is issued.”
The Queen’s portrait will continue to be printed on Australia’s coins until the Royal Australian Mint transitions to a portrait of the King later this year.
Queen Elizabeth’s portrait has featured on the five dollar note since 1992, and is drawn from photographs commissioned by the Reserve Bank in 1984.
Much of Australia’s currency already features indigenous Australian figures and artworks.
In a 1999 referendum, Australian voters chose to keep the British monarch as the country's head of state.
Current Labour Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a known republican, ruled out holding another referendum in his first term following the death of the Queen in September.
But Liberal opposition leader Peter Dutton hit out at Mr Albanese over the decision not to use King Charles’ portrait on the new note.
Mr Dutton said: “There's no question about this that it's directed by the government and I think the Prime Minister should own up to it.
“He would have been central to the decision-making. I think it's another attack on our systems, on our society and our institutions.”
The Australian Monarchist League also disapproved of the decision – calling it ”'virtually neo-communism in action”.
It added in a statement: “Before a referendum is held on whether the people want to retain the King as sovereign or opt for a President, this government has arbitrarily moved to discard the King's head from Australia's five dollar note. It is certainly not Australian democracy.”
According to apoll by the Sydney Morning Herald in October, voters preferred the $5 note to feature an Australian, with 43% voting for this, and 34% opting for King Charles.
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