RBA dumps King Charles on redesign of $5 banknote

Feb 02, 2023
King Charles will not be on the new $5 banknote. Source: Getty

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has made the shocking decision to dump King Charles as the replacement for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the upcoming redesign of the $5 banknote.

Instead of following tradition and keeping the face of a royal on the note, the RBA has announced that after consulting with the Australian Government, the new design will pay tribute to Australia’s First Nations people.

“The Reserve Bank has decided to update the $5 banknote to feature a new design that honours the culture and history of the First Australians,” the RBA said in a statement.

“This new design will replace the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The other side of the $5 banknote will continue to feature the Australian Parliament.

“This decision by the Reserve Bank Board follows consultation with the Australian Government, which supports this change.

“The Bank will consult with First Australians in designing the $5 banknote. 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.”

RBA boss Philip Lowe had hinted at this change in November 2022, alluding that the design may not default to King Charles, and following Her Majesty’s death, the nation saw calls for beloved Australian icons to be considered instead with the likes of former Olympian Cathy Freeman, Indigenous actor David Gulpili and entertainers Dani Minogue and Olivia Newton-John as popular suggestions.

“We are currently considering the design of the $5 banknote following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. We recognise that this is an issue that is of national interest and there is a long tradition of the monarch being on Australia’s banknotes,” he said at the time.

“Indeed, the monarch has been on at least one of Australia’s banknotes since 1923 and was on all our notes until 1953. Given this tradition and the national significance of the issue, the Bank is consulting with the Australian Government regarding whether or not the new $5 banknote should include a portrait of King Charles III.

“We will make a decision after this consultation with the government is complete.”

The RBA’s consideration to stray from tradition is likely linked to the ongoing debate around whether Australia should remain a Monarchy or become a Republic, which kicked off almost immediately following the death of the Queen, and has since been spurred on by the latest round of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s drama.

A recent poll taken by the Sydney Morning Herald, found that 40 per cent of poll participants were in favour of leaving the Monarchy, with 22 per cent saying they strongly agree Australia should become a republic and 18 per cent were somewhat in favour.

Of the 1,606 voters, 21 per cent said their opinion was swayed by the controversial Prince’s memoir.

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