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$5 note change ‘none of our business’, British high commissioner says

The royals were not warned that King Charles III would not appear on the $5 note. But a British representative said it was not their business anyway.

Australian $5 note with Queen Elizabeth.
King Charles III will not feature on Australia’s $5 note. But the high commissioner said it's not Britain's concern. (Source: Getty)

Australia’s decision to not feature King Charles III on the $5 note is none of Britain’s business, the British high commissioner to Australia has said.

Last month, it emerged that the Governor-General’s office was not told the King wouldn’t be on the banknote before the decision was announced to the public.

The King’s late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, currently adorns the $5 note and it was widely believed her son - Australia’s new head of state - would follow suit.

Paul Singer, the Governor-General’s official secretary, said he found out about the decision through a press release and was forced to pen a last-minute letter to Buckingham Palace to alert the royals before the news spread.

When asked whether this could have been handled better, British high commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell said the decision was Australia’s choice.

“Why should Australia tell Britain what it wants to do with its own currency when you are a realm in your own right?” Treadell said at a National Press Club address last week.

“It’s none of our business.”

When pressed by a journalist further, Treadell said the situation showed the relationship between Australia and the British monarchy had “grown up”.

New $5 note is coming

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) confirmed last month the banknote’s new design would honour First Nations people.

The RBA said it consulted with the federal government about the decision and that it supported the change. The central bank is now beginning the process of consulting Indigenous Australians on the new design.

The new banknote will take a number of years to be designed and printed, the RBA has said. However, Aussies could soon see new coins with the portrait of King Charles III, with the Royal Australian Mint set to start producing the coins this year.

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