Australia rejects the new king

Canberra: Australia's central bank announced on Thursday that the new $5 bill will not bear the image of King Charles III but rather a design honouring "the culture and history of the First Australians." The late Queen Elizabeth II is shown on the banknote at the moment.

According to Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who spoke to reporters in Melbourne, "The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 note will say more about our history, our heritage, and our country, and I see that as a good thing."

The fiver is the smallest denomination banknote in Australia and is equivalent to about $3.55 in American dollars. With the late queen's portrait on one side and Canberra's Australian Parliament on the other, there are currently an estimated 208 million notes in use.

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The right replacement design will be chosen after consulting with indigenous groups; this process could take several years, the bank said. The current version will continue to be used in commerce for the foreseeable future and will even be accepted after that. Later this year, Australia will introduce a new 50-pence coin that will continue to bear Charles III's likeness.

Elizabeth II died in September after ruling for 70 years. Despite having a formal independent government since 1901, Australia views the British monarch as its symbolic head of state.

The decision to remove Charles from the banknote has drawn criticism from the opposition Liberal Party, which claims it was made as part of Labor's plan to make Australia a republic. Australians should reject "the woke nonsense that goes on," according to Liberal leader Peter Dutton, who claimed that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was behind the action.

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While visiting London for meetings with their British counterparts, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles made the bank announcement. Wong reminded her hosts that while the Albanese government is still committed to the "AUKUS" pact with the UK and the US, Australia's identity is no longer primarily British.

In a speech at King's College on Tuesday, Wong said, "Today, as a modern, multicultural country, home to people of more than 300 ancestries and the oldest continuing culture on earth, Australia sees itself as being in the Indo-Pacific, and being of the Indo-Pacific."

The "starting point of our foreign policies," according to Wong, is the "story we tell the world about who we are."

Wong, 54, moved to Australia when she was eight years old despite being a Malaysian native. She mentioned how the Chinese members of her family, who served the British on plantations and as domestic servants, make up half of the family.

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For both the people whose stories they are and the people who hear them, such stories can occasionally be unsettling, according to Wong. But knowing the past makes it easier for us to collaborate on the present and the future.

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