King Charles will not feature on Australian banknotes
King Charles III will not feature on Australia’s new $5 bank note, with the government choosing an Indigenous design instead.
The mauve-coloured note was the only one to bear the image of a British monarch. The King’s face was expected to replace that of Queen Elizabeth II.
But the centre-Left Labor government of Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, has been accused of “woke nonsense” after deciding to give prominence to an Aboriginal design in its place.
"The Reserve Bank has decided to update the $5 bank note to feature a new design that honours the culture and history of the First Australians," the Reserve Bank of Australia said in a statement.
"This new design will replace the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
The face of King Charles will appear on future Australian coins, however.
Peter Dutton, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said it represented “another attack on our systems, on our society and our institutions”.
He added: “I know the silent majority don’t agree with a lot of the woke nonsense that goes on, but we’ve got to hear more from those people.”
Dean Smith, a senator from the Liberal Party and a staunch monarchist, said the new bank note should have included all facets of Australia’s history.
"A design incorporating both our new King and an appreciation for Australia's Indigenous heritage and culture would be a better and more unifying approach," he said.
But Lidia Thorpe, from the Australian Greens party, applauded the decision, saying it was a step towards “decolonising” Australia.
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! pic.twitter.com/J4LjyFXwUe
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) February 2, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II was first featured on the $5 bill in 1992, when the currency was updated in a tribute to her 40th year on the throne. The change is likely to be seen as a further sign of the loosening of constitutional ties between Britain and its former colony.
Meanwhile, James Cleverly has responded to Australian criticism of Britain’s colonial past - saying that as Britain’s first black Foreign Secretary, he is testament to how the UK has changed.
During a speech at King’s College in London on Wednesday, Penny Wong, Australia’s foreign minister, said Britain must confront its “uncomfortable” past in Asia and the Pacific if it wants to engage with the region.
Asked if the UK had engaged with its colonial legacy, Mr Cleverly said: “You’re asking the black Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain? Yeah, I think the answer is yes – you’re looking at it, you’re talking to it.
“The bottom line is, we have a Prime Minister of Asian heritage, you have a Home Secretary of Asian heritage, you have a Foreign Secretary of African heritage.”