By Biodun Busari
Australia’s apex bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced on Thursday that it will remove the British monarch from its banknotes.
The RBA will replace the late Queen Elizabeth II’s image who died last year on its $5 note with a design honouring Indigenous culture, the Financial Time said.
The decision to leave her successor King Charles III off the $5 note means no monarch would remain on Australia’s paper currency.
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The RBA said it would consult Indigenous people on a new design that “honours the culture and history of the First Australians”.
Queen Elizabeth’s death on September 8 last year was marked by public mourning in Australia, but some Indigenous groups also protested against the disparaging effect of colonial Britain, calling for the abolition of the monarchy.
And this protest might have warranted the decision of the country to remove the Queen’s portrait on the paper currency.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy, a democracy with King Charles III as its head of state. A referendum proposing a switch to a republic was narrowly defeated in 1999.
The central bank said its decision was supported by the center-left Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who favours an eventual move to an Australian republic.
The new banknote would take “a number of years” to be designed and printed, it said, with the existing $5 note remaining legal tender even after the new design is in people’s hands.
“Australia believes in meritocracy so the idea that someone should be on our currency by birthright is irreconcilable, as is the notion that they should be our head of state by birthright,” said Australian Republic Movement chair Craig Foster.
“To think that an unelected king should be on our currency in place of First Nations leaders and elders and eminent Australians is no longer justifiable at a time of truth-telling, reconciliation and ultimately formal, cultural and intellectual independence.”
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