The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) offered the treasurer the choice of featuring King Charles III on the new $5 note, or replacing the Queen’s portrait with a design honouring First Nations people.
Letters released by the RBA under freedom of information reveal RBA governor Philip Lowe wrote to Treasurer Jim Chalmers to seek the government’s view.
“lf 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,” Lowe wrote in a letter dated October 7, 2022.
Also read: Queen to be removed from Aussie $5 note
“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. lt is not our intention to replace the monarch with another individual.”
Chalmers responded to the letter on December 16.
“The Government would be comfortable with a new design that honours the culture and history of First Australians, assuming a proper process for inclusive consultation is undertaken,” he said.
Earlier this month, the RBA announced that King Charles III would not replace Queen Elizabeth II on the $5 note. Instead, the new design will honour First Nations people.
At the time, Chalmers said the government had been consulted over the decision, but that the decision had been made by the central bank.
New $5 note coming
The RBA is now beginning the process of consultation with Indigenous Australians on the new design.
“We anticipate it will be at least a couple of years before the new banknote is ready for circulation,” Lowe told a parliamentary committee on Friday.
“The current $5 banknote will continue to be issued until then and it will still be able to be used once the new banknote enters circulation.”