What’s Behind Queen Elizabeth’s Portrait on the $5 Note Being Replaced by an Indigenous Design

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Australia’s central bank recently proposed an unconventional idea to the federal government of replacing Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait with a unique Indigenous design on the nation’s $5 note.

Mr Lowe said, “If the Government is of the view that the King’s portrait should be on the $5 banknote, then the Bank will proceed on that basis and seek an appropriate image from the Palace.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has been consulting the federal government on what image should replace that of the late monarch Queen Elizabeth II. This portrait had been appearing on the nation’s $5 banknote since 1992 and was recently slated for replacement in favour of a design that would better reflect the country’s Indigenous heritage.

In February, RBA revealed that it would pursue an Indigenous design to replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the nation’s $5 banknote. Following this announcement, Freedom of Information (FOI) documents requested by “H” show that RBA governor Philip Lowe wrote to Treasurer Jim Chalmers a month after the Queen’s death.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) documents showed the treasurer saying the government would be comfortable replacing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the nation’s $5 note with an Indigenous design. He added that it would be a great way for Australia to pay tribute to its First Nations people and acknowledge their contributions to Australian society.

“Alternatively, if the Government’s view is that the monarch should no longer be on Australia’s banknotes, the Bank will explore a new design that honours the culture and history of the First Australians. It is not our intention to replace the monarch with another individual,” said Mr Lowe.

Regardless of what happens next, one thing is sure: replacing Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait with an Indigenous design on Australia’s $5 note would represent a historic moment in our nation’s history – one that honours both Her Majesty’s life and legacy as well as acknowledges past injustices against Aboriginal peoples throughout its pages.

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