The Reserve Bank of Australia Thursday announced that a redesign of the $5 banknote will honour First Nations Australians and remove the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The decision was made in consultation with the Australian Government. The new banknote is set to be designed in collaboration with First Nations people.
The decision was welcomed by Indigenous Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, who described the move as “a massive win for the grassroots, First Nations people who have been fighting to decolonise this country.”
Meanwhile, opposition leader Peter Dutton condemned the decision, claiming in an interview with 2GB radio that the decision was “directed by the Government.” Dutton also termed the move as an ”attack on our systems, on our society, and our institutions.”
The decision has demonstrated a continued divide between the constitutional monarchy and republican movements in Australia. In a tweet, the Chair of the Australian Republican Movement, Craig Foster, supported the decision stating “[w]e are developing new understandings & a truthful contemporary identity based on 65,235 years of shared cultural existence.” In contrast, the Australian Monarchist Movement has condemned the move, citing concerns that the Australian Government is promoting a republic, describing the move as “neo-communism in action.”
While Queen Elizabeth II is set to be removed from one side of the banknote, the other side of the banknote will still display the Australian Parliament. The new design will not come into circulation for a number of years.