The debate over which famous faces should appear on the country’s currency has resurfaced, with two devoted supporters campaigning to get one Aussie icon into our wallets.
Principal petitioners Vincent Wu and Kirby Miles have launched two separate petitions to have “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin featured on the $5 bill.
Their goal is to have the portrait of the Australian conservationist, wildlife expert, and TV personality appear on the lowest value note rather than King Charles III’s.
There are two separate petitions in a bid to feature “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin on the $5 note. James D. Morgan/Shutterstock
And their hopes may become a reality after Assistant Treasury Minister Andrew Leigh revealed that the new king may not necessarily replace his mother on the $5 note in the way new coins will feature him.
Mr. Leigh informed reporters in Canberra earlier last month that the monarch would feature on Australian coins “as a matter of tradition”. However this is not the case for the country’s pink and purple note.
“The decision to include the Queen’s face on the $5 note was about her personally rather than about her status as the monarch so that transition [to Charles on the note] isn’t automatic,” he said.
This potentially means the door is wide open for suggestions on who should make the next appearance on the $5 note.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the $5 paper bank note was first issued in 1967, featuring Sir Joseph Banks and Caroline Chisholm.
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was then introduced in 1992 on the country’s first $5 polymer note. This was then upgraded in 2016, featuring the same image however was updated for security purposes.
A fourth edition of the $5 note was the Federation banknotes which were circulated to commemorate Australia’s Centenary of Federation in 2001, featuring Sir Henry Parkes and Catherine Helen Spence.
So far, Mr. Wu and Mr. Miles’ petitions, which are listed on Australian Parliament House website, have gained a collective 42 signatures.
“The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the proclamation of King Charles III raises an important question about the future of Australian currency,” Mr. Miles stated under the petition reason subheading.
“We propose keeping all existing $5 notes featuring Queen Elizabeth II in circulation and introducing a new $5 note honouring Australian zookeeper Steve Irwin.”
Mr. Wu added there was no one “more vital to Australian culture” than Steve Irwin.
“Steve is beloved by all and has become synonymous with the Australian values we hold so dearly,” Mr. Wu said.
“He epitomised the spirit of mateship; he deeply loved the Australian wildlife, working hard towards conservation and education but perhaps most importantly he’s just a good bloke.”
Irwin died in September 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in the Great Barrier Reef.
This isn’t the first time the late wildlife activist has been nominated to feature on Australia’s currency.
Six years ago, another fan took to change.org to support the idea of having Irwin feature on the $100 note.
That petition attracted more than 31,000 signatures however it wasn’t enough to replace Sir John Monash or Dame Nellie Melba who currently appear on the $100 note.
Irwin isn’t the only Australian icon up for consideration, with many taking to Twitter to share their aspirations for the $5 contender.
Among the Aussie legends being discussed for the top spot are Kylie Minogue, Dame Edna, Anne Edmonds, Olivia Newton-John, Bert Newton, Shane Warne, Kathy Freeman and even Luke Hemmings from band 5 Seconds of Summer.
The endless possibilities of who could replace the Queen on the note has amassed discussion online, even attracting international attention.
“Hi I’m American, can we replace Andrew Jackson on our money with Steve Irwin? We love him too,” one international fan tweeted.
“My day would be better and I’d have a good day seeing Steve smiling back at me,” commented another.
Meanwhile if a Sydneysider could have his way, he suggests updating the country’s coins to include The Wiggles on 50 cent pieces, AC/DC on 20 cent pieces and “Bunnings snags” on 5 cent pieces.
For those eager to show their support for Steve Irwin on the $5 note, Mr. Wu and Mr. Miles’ petitions are open for another 25 days and close at 12.59am on October 27.