Australia’s next $5 banknote will not feature King Charles III, following a decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with an Indigenous design.
In a statement, the Reserve Bank said the updated note will feature a design “that honours the culture and history of the First Australians.”
“The other side of the $5 banknote will continue to feature the Australian Parliament.”
It will be the first time the Queen has not featured on Australia’s $5 polymer note since 1992.
However, Queen Elizabeth’s portrait will remain in circulation while the new note is designed and printed, which the RBA says could take a number of years.
The current $5 banknote will remain legal tender even after the new note is issued.
The move comes as the republican debate ramps up, following the death of Australia’s longest serving monarch last year, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is a long-time supporter of Australia becoming a republic, previously saying he won’t rule out holding a referendum on the matter into the future.
Greens senator and Gunnai, Gunditjmara, and Djab Wurrung woman Lidia Thorpe welcomed the change, calling it 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!”, Thorpe said in a tweet.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers also weighed in on the decision, calling it the right move and saying the change was an “opportunity to strike a good balance”.
“The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 note will say more about our history and our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“This is a good opportunity to strike a good balance between the monarch on the coins and a First Nations design on the fiver.”
Speaking to Sydney’s 2GB Radio, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton criticised the Reserve Bank’s decision, accusing the Prime Minister of being central for the King not to appear on the note, urging him to “own up to it”.
“I think it’s another attack on our systems, on our society and our institutions,” he said, likening the move to changing the date of Australia Day.
The Bank said it will consult with First Australians in designing the $5 banknote.