New Australian Paper Money Won’t Display Monarchy

February 2, 2023

Australia is removing the image of the British monarch from its 5-dollar bill—the only Australian paper money still featuring it.

Instead of replacing the late Queen Elizabeth II’s image with that of King Charles III, the $5 bill will feature an indigenous design to honor “the culture and history of the First Australians.” The other side of the bill will feature Australia’s parliament.

Australia’s Reserve Bank announced the change on Thursday, saying the decision was made following consultation with the center-left Labor Party government. 

“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,” Australia’s Treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Melbourne.

Opponents say the decision is politically motivated—yet more evidence of a stealth government effort to impose republicanism on Australia. Opposition leader Peter Dutton called it “woke nonsense.” 

Soon after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September, national polling found that 60% of Australians wanted to stay in the monarchy, with Generation Z—those age 18 to 24 years old—being most reticent to break off and form an independent republic.

The last time Australia held a referendum on transitioning to a republic was in 1999. The measure failed with 55% of voters opposing the move. 

Australia’s $5 bill is worth about $3.57 in U.S. currency.

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