Home / News / World /  No more Queen Elizabeth: Australia to honour its indigenous history on A$5 banknote

The Reserve Bank of Australia said on February 2 that a new design would replace the image of Queen Elizabeth II on its A$5 banknote in order to honour and commemorate the history of its indigenous culture.

The death of Queen Elizabeth in 2022 reopened discussions in Australia regarding the country's future as a constitutional monarchy. In a 1999 referendum, voters narrowly decided to keep the British monarch as the country's head of state.

The federal government, which supports the reform, was consulted before Australia's Central bank made its decision, according to an official statement. The Australian Parliament will still be visible on the note's reverse side, it claimed.

Australia's $5 banknote
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Australia's $5 banknote

Although the position is mostly ceremonial, King Charles III - who succeeded his mother as the monarch of the United Kingdom - serves as the head of state of Australia, New Zealand and 12 other Commonwealth nations outside of the United Kingdom. In September 2022, Australia announced that Queen Elizabeth would not necessarily take the place of King Charles on A$5 notes and might be replaced by Australian figures.

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It has been reported by the authorities that the Queen's personality, rather than her position as the monarch, played a role in the choice to put her image on the A$5 Australian note. The choice to update the note comes as Australia's centre-left Labor administration pushes for a referendum that would be necessary to amend the constitution in order to recognise Indigenous people in the text and require consultation with them when making choices that will affect their life.

In response to calls to acknowledge that its Indigenous people are the world's first civilization, Australia formally changed its national anthem in 2021 to remove the phrase "young and free".

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In order to create the A$5 notes, the Reserve Bank promised to collaborate with indigenous organisations. Designing and printing the new currency will need several years. The note now outstanding shall remain outstanding until paid in full.

(With agency inputs)

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