Photo: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock
Britain’s High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell says Britain is “relaxed” at the prospect of not having King Charles III on the $5 note.
The Reserve Bank announced Thursday that it will not replace the image of Queen Elizabeth on the $5 note with King Charles, but with an image that honors the culture and history of early Australians.
Treadell said the UK was “not at all” offended by the move.
“It’s up to Australia to decide what it wants in its coins and its notes,” he told ABC radio on Friday.
“You are a kingdom in your own right.”
The RBA said it had consulted the federal government on the decision and had the government’s support.
Related: Australia’s new $5 note will feature indigenous history instead of King Charles
The bank will consult First Australians on the design of the $5 note, which will take a few years to design and print.
Indigenous Australians and designs have appeared on Australian coins since decimal currency was introduced in 1966, while the Queen has appeared on the nation’s banknotes since 1923.
The first $1 note, designed by Gordon Andrews, featured images of indigenous rock paintings and carvings with a bark painting by artist David Malangi Daymirringu.
After the $1 note was taken out of circulation, it was not until the polymer $10 note was introduced in 1988 that a note featured indigenous designs again.
The queen also appeared on the paper $1 note from decimalization until it was discontinued. The current $5 design, updated in 2016, is the latest Australian banknote design to feature the monarch, with Canberra’s Parliament House on the other side. The $10 features Dame Mary Gilmore and Banjo Paterson, the $20 features Mary Reibey and Reverend John Flynn, the $50 features David Unaipon and Edith Cowan, and the $100 features Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba.
Treadell said Britain was “relaxed” by Australia’s decision to remove the reigning monarch.
“We have our own position and our own relationship with the royal family, and we would not dream of imposing or indeed having views or commenting on what Australia chooses to do in its own right.”
It comes after opposition leader Peter Dutton demanded Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “take charge” of the move, which he said “woke senseless”.
“I think it is another attack on our systems, on our society and on our institutions,” he told 2GB radio on Thursday.
“There is no question about this. It is run by the government… He [Albanese] It would have been essential for decision making.”
Dutton said the “silent majority” of Australians did not agree with the decision.
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy accused the government of a “desperate and futile attempt” to clear the way for republicanism.
It won’t do them any good. Australians will see through this. The Albanian government is behaving as if the people have already decided to turn Australia into a republic of politicians.”
Dean Smith, a Liberal senator and staunch royalist, called the decision disappointing and a “missed opportunity.”
“A design that incorporates both our new king and an appreciation for Australia’s indigenous heritage and culture would be a better and more unifying approach,” he said in a statement.
“This decision misses a unique opportunity for both the RBA and Anthony Albanese to merge these two important aspects of Australian history.”
“Although not totally unexpected, breaking this long tradition will be a disappointment to many Australians, who have never known anything different.”
Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the switch to the $5 note was the right decision.
“This is a good opportunity to strike a good balance between the monarch on the coins and a First Nations design on the fiver,” he said. “It is important to remember that the monarch will continue to be on our coins.”
Voters said in a poll by the Sydney Morning Herald in October that they would prefer the $5 note to feature an Australian, with just 34% saying King Charles was their choice.