Australia’s central bank says it will remove the British monarchy from its bank notes

Of note. The easiest change without any constitutional issues, removing the Monarch from bank notes, coins and stamps:

Australia is removing the British monarchy from its bank notes.

The nation’s central bank said Thursday its new $5 bill would feature an Indigenous design rather than an image of King Charles III. But the king is still expected to appear on coins.

The $5 bill was Australia’s only remaining bank note to still feature an image of the monarch.

The bank said the decision followed consultation with the government, which supported the change. Opponents say the move is politically motivated.

The British monarch remains Australia’s head of state, although these days that role is largely symbolic. Like many former British colonies, Australia is debating to what extent it should retain its constitutional ties to Britain.

Australia’s Reserve Bank said the new $5 bill would feature a design to replace a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year. The bank said the move would honor “the culture and history of the First Australians.”

“The other side of the $5 banknote will continue to feature the Australian parliament,” the bank said in a statement.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the change was an opportunity to strike a good balance.

“The monarch will still be on the coins, but the $5 note will say more about our history and our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton likened the move to changing the date of the national day, Australia Day.

“I know the silent majority don’t agree with a lot of the woke nonsense that goes on but we’ve got to hear more from those people online,” he told 2GB Radio.

Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was central to the decision for the king not to appear on the note, urging him to “own up to it.”

The bank plans to consult with Indigenous groups in designing the $5 note, a process it expects will take several years before the new note goes public.

The current $5 will continue to be issued until the new design is introduced and will remain legal tender even after the new bill goes into circulation.

The face of King Charles III is expected to be seen on Australian coins later this year.

One Australian dollar is worth about 71 cents in U.S. currency.

Source: Australia’s central bank says it will remove the British monarchy from its bank notes

Marchi: Moving on from the monarchy, incrementally [change the citizenship Oath]

Coming back to the charge (Australia useful precedent) without the institutional and constitutional issues. Other options include currency and coins:

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II will no doubt herald change – from within and externally. Indeed, the conversation about the future of the monarchy under King Charles has already begun in a number of Commonwealth countries.

Let me say at the outset that I am not a monarchist. Never have been, never will be. It is a concept, I believe, that is no longer relevant to today’s Canada and our diverse citizenry. Nor will it help us forge a more prosperous nation. However, I do salute the 70-year public service record of the late Queen. The dedication and stability that she brought to her reign was truly remarkable. She was deserving of the outpouring of respect that came from all corners of the globe following the announcement of her death Sept. 8.

Notwithstanding her record, I believe that Canada should join the conversation about the future of the monarchy.

Polls consistently have shown it has lost considerable support across Canada. A Pollara survey in September suggests only 35 per cent of respondents want Canada to continue as a constitutional monarchy, while only 24 per cent of them want to feature King Charles III on our currency.

Rightly or wrongly, Charles has always generated indifference among many Canadians. As prince, he consistently was less popular than his mom and his two boys. Now that he has the crown, will he be able to win over hearts? He has giant shoes to fill, and how he manages those expectations will critically impact the success or failure of his tenure.

But Charles is intelligent enough to understand that by the time Prince William takes the throne, the so-called “sovereign realms” around the Commonwealth will mostly be gone.

So, how should our country move forward at this juncture?

I would counsel moderation rather than revolution. After all, Canada’s DNA is gift-wrapped by prudence. Typically, we don’t rush into major decisions. We reflect, we analyze and we stew over options until the timing and strategy is right. Or, until the problem goes away on its own.

In addition, reopening the Constitution would prove most difficult, as it always has. At the end of his mandate, Pierre Trudeau won his constitutional battle, but not without fighting most premiers and having to go to the Supreme Court. Brian Mulroney was not as fortunate. Both his initiatives – the MeechLake and Charlottetown accords – went down in flames.

Moreover, any constitutional initiative would likely overwhelm the government’s agenda, and divert political energies from focusing on the bread-and-butter issues that are weighing heavily on Canadians – the economy, inflation, climate, energy, COVID and health care.

Yes, incremental moderation has been our path of choice for almost 60 years when it has come to dealing with our ties to the “motherland.” It was former prime minister Lester Pearson who gave Canadians our own flag on Feb. 15, 1965, and “O Canada” was proclaimed as Canada’s national anthem two years later, almost to the day. Initially, both measures were met with fierce debate and hostility. Today, both are symbols of great national pride.

Much later, Pierre Trudeau built on that record, by repatriating our Constitution from Britain in April of 1982. In the process, he also created the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which moved us closer to his vision of a “just society.”

That brings us to his son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He offered his condolences uponthe death of the Queen, saying she was one of his “favourite people.” Who knows? He may have a soft spot for Charles, as well. Trudeau strikes me as a reluctant reformer as it relates to the monarchy. That is why I would encourage him to take a page from his father’s and Lester Pearson’s playbooks. Move slowly but do move.

I would suggest that he modernize our citizenship oath.

Until her death, the oath of allegiance (part of the citizenship oath) was sworn to “Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors…” (Now it’s to King Charles III.) When I was minister of citizenship and immigration and attended citizenship ceremonies, these words would cause people’s eyes to glaze over. They had no meaning for them and there was no personal connection. Plus, many of our would-be citizens would actually proclaim “her hairs and successors!”

It is high time to transition our oath. Rather than paying homage to a monarch, we should swear allegiance and loyalty to Canada. Period. Full stop.

As the responsible minister back in 1995, I came within one cabinet meeting of doing precisely that. After coming up with several superb, moving renditions, drafted by some of Canada’s most eloquent writers and poets, then-prime minister Jean Chrétien asked me to “park it” at the last minute. The rationale was that he did not want to fight the monarchists and the separatists (during that year’s Quebec referendum) at the same time.

I argued that reforming the oath would help us with the provincial battle because the monarchy did not enjoy much popularity with most Quebecers. In the end, I did not win the day. I always suspected, though, that the real reason was Chrétien’s affection for the Queen. He had a warm relationship with Queen Elizabeth and I believe he was concerned about offending her.

In politics, however, when you park an initiative, you usually end up losing the moment. And that’s what happened. After the referendum, I moved on to a new portfolio and my successor opted for other priorities.

Now, we have an even better window of opportunity. We should take advantage of it and revisit our oath and build on previous accomplishments. For those who believe that this represents not enough ambition in addressing the future of our monarchy, I would say better an additional single, sure step than a giant leap that goes nowhere.

Eventually, in the fullness of time, the right circumstances for altogether severing the umbilical cord to the monarchy will present themselves.

Source: Moving on from the monarchy, incrementally

Paradkar: No, I do not mourn the Queen

Wonder how common this sentiment is among immigrants and their descendants from former colonies or other countries that suffered under British rule or influence. The November 2021 Angus-Reid survey showed relatively minor differences between visible and not visible minorities, but there is likely considerable variation among groups:

No, I don’t mourn the Queen. Like hundreds of millions of people around the world, I see no reason to.

But you’d hardly know from the hagiographical public discourse in Canada that the world is far from unified in grief over the death of a person under whose title a nation unleashed unspeakable violence, the wounds of which remain fresh. There is little room for the views of millions who vociferously reject Britain’s self-proclaimed greatness, and its royal family.

Condolences to those personally near and dear to Elizabeth. Sorry for their loss, human to human. By all accounts, she sounds like a person of dignity who took her duties seriously and untiringly.

The British monarch’s duties have been referred to as a service to the nation. But what were these duties? Were they merely innocuous ribbon-cutting ceremonies and charming royal walkabouts? Were those weekly meetings with the prime minister idle chit chats? What were these formalities servicing? A symbol, perhaps, but of what?

To many, the Crown is a symbol of economic and racial power and its consolidation in one family, in one institution, in one nation — and its offshoots. It’s the power to assent to laws, whatever their intent or consequence. The power to reside above the most powerful. The power to be unaccountable.

You won’t see a British ruler or a parliamentary leader hauled up before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity — neither in Kenya, nor in the Middle East neither India nor Argentina neither Ireland nor in the Caribbean or, heaven forbid, Canada. 

Through all this pillaging and bloodshed, leaders marauded under the royal banner while the monarch was positioned as an apolitical figurehead, made mystical by remoteness. It’s an ingenious sleight of hand. 

Still, if one accepts that the queen was merely a figurehead, free from any responsibility for what she symbolized, then exactly what are we mourning? That this figureheaded-ness was handled with grace? 

A range of justifications for the monarchy — divine ordination, tradition, continuity — have been used to keep the plebs from questioning the grandiosity of royalty too closely, with royals entitled to the thousands of gaudy, glittering baubles. Perhaps it still serves to keep us from questioning why Charles, the new King, can legally avoid paying estate tax, something even other obscenely rich people cannot, on inheriting parts of estate estimated at $500 million US from his mother.

The position of Queen afforded Elizabeth significant immunity from criticism. But when the title was criticized, the person was protected. 

She is eulogized as a paragon of progressive ideals. She was anti-apartheid! Nelson Mandela was her buddy! This, even though hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, Iraqis, Yemenis, Koreans, Malayans were displaced and massacred during her reign.

It appears we must endlessly laud royals of great power and wealth, particularly this family, who took and took but contributed nothing to humanity. At least celebrities — actors, musicians, singers, artists, athletes, heck, even TikTok and Insta influencers — possess skills that entertain us, move us and enrich our understanding of the mysteries of life.

But hush. This is not the right time to criticize the Queen, we’re told. It’s insensitive. It’s impolite.

Polite, is it, to ask those who lost life and limb, land and wealth, ancestors and children, and even their own histories to mourn the very symbol of their suffering?

Sensitive, is it, to live in Canada and suggest the tyranny of British colonialism is a thing of the past, even while the Indian Act of 1876 in its various iterations and colonial philosophies continues to tragically upend Indigenous lives, an example of which played out as the James Smith Cree Nation torn apart just this month? I wonder how many of these mourners will show up as “allies” in orange shirts on National Truth and Reconciliation Day without recognizing their inconsistency.

How can British colonialism be a thing of the past when there never has been reconciliation with it? When the paternalistic attitudes (quite apart from greed and extraction in the name of exploration) that drove it still thrive? When, as the author John Newsinger wrote, the blood never dried?

If Tucker Carlson, that depthless denialist with a megaphone on Fox TV, is to be believed, we — the people of colonized lands — ought to be grateful to the colonizers.

“When the British pulled out of India they left behind an entire civilization, a language, a legal system, schools, churches and public buildings, all of which are still in use today,” he said this week, extolling British benignity. As if all of those things did not exist before the British set foot on the land. Yes, churches, too. Christianity has existed in India since 52 AD, as a one-second Google search shows. 

Carlson’s disinformation is low-hanging fruit for the bashing, but it is worth noting because many so-called centrists, the supposed not-crazies, believe colonialism at least modernized, if not civilized already ancient and sophisticated civilizations. Indeed, many among the colonized themselves affect a fondness for what was essentially an era of looting. After all, colonization could not have been carried out without the help of insiders. The colonizer-colonized relationship is neither linear nor a love/hate binary.

But there seems little space for nuance or critique around the death of this symbol of coloniality. Not only is it impolite to criticize the revisionist propaganda around the Queen, it’s now apparently dangerous to question the automatic ascension of Charles as king.

In recent days, U.K. police arrested at least four people for protesting the monarchy. One woman was charged for “breach of the peace” because she held a sign saying: “Abolish monarchy.” One was led away by police for holding a sign saying, “Not My King.”

Meanwhile, Charles himself appears set on defying the blatant efforts to rehabilitate his terrible image. Deliciously insightful videos of him with distinct “let them eat cake” vibes are circulating online. In one, he’s displaying his foul temper with an outburst at a leaky ink pen. In another, he appears to peremptorily and dismissively wave at stationary to be taken off his desk, rather than, you know, moving it himself. 

Here’s to Charles then, the crusty king of England, who might yet be our best bet for stirring revolt and revolution.

Source: No, I do not mourn the Queen

Members of some diaspora communities call for Canada to break ties to Crown

Shallow reporting, with very limited number sampled with no understanding of the complications involved, with the exception of Carleton professor Jonathan Malloy.

More thorough reporting needed:

Some Canadians from diaspora communities called for the country’s independence from the Crown on Friday, saying the death of the Queen is a chance to rethink its ties to the monarchy.

More than 50 countries with historical links to Britain are part of the Commonwealth, which Queen Elizabeth II was head of throughout her reign. Her death Thursday came as a growing number of nations debate their relationship with the British Crown amid demands that the country apologize for its colonial-era abuses and award its former colonies slavery reparations.

Parmod Chhabra, the president of the India Canada Association, said he respected the Queen as the sovereign of Canada but thinks it’s time for the country to break ties with the Crown.

“I think it is the time for the monarchy to go away,” said Chhabra, recalling atrocities committed against Indians when the British Empire ruled that country.

“We should start rethinking about it, and think about total freedom, instead of having the Queen as our head whom we don’t elect,“ he added.

That sentiment was shared by Monir Hossain, the president of the National Bangladeshi-Canadian Council, who said Canada should be a fully independent nation like other countries around the world.

“I think we all want independence these days,“ he said. ”The world is moving forward.” 

The Royal Family has faced multiple controversies this year surrounding the Crown’s continuing role in Britain’s former colonies as members travelled to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70 years on the throne.

In March, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were sharply criticized for being “tone deaf” and perpetuating images of Britain’s colonial rule during a tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Though many people welcomed the royals, they were also greeted by protesters demanding an apology for Britain’s role in the enslavement of millions of Africans and reparations for the damage caused by slavery.

The following month, the Earl and Countess of Wessex — Edward, the youngest son of the Queen, and his wife Sophie — postponed the Grenada leg of a Caribbean tour on the eve of the seven-day trip after consultations with the Grenadine government and the governor general, the Queen’s representative on the island.

They had been likely to face similar calls for a British apology during their planned visit to Grenada, where activists had requested an audience with the royal couple.

Barbados cut ties to the monarchy in November and Jamaica has said it will follow suit.

In Canada, the Queen’s death will likely fuel conversations about getting rid of the monarchy, as well as responses that the country’s system works well and would be too hard to change, said Jonathan Malloy, a political science professor at Carleton University.

“The Queen’s longevity has allowed us to perhaps put off some conversations,” and some will see her passing as an opportunity for change, he said Friday.

The monarchy is anachronistic and represents values that no longer align with Canada’s direction, but the system “does actually work fairly well … and it would be extremely hard to change,” he said.

For instance, the Crown is at the heart of our legal and political systems, and cutting ties with it would, among other things, undermine treaties with Indigenous nations, he said.

Provinces probably also like the current system because it allows them to claim their own direct relationship with the Crown, and changing that would require them to overhaul their systems, Malloy said.

There would also be issues related to how to select a new head of state, and the risk that removing the Crown would open the door to other attempts to change the Constitution, he said.

“No government wants to be consumed by constitutional talks and changes,” he said, pointing to the constitutional crises of Meech Lake and Charlottetown several decades ago.

Not everyone in the diaspora community criticized the Queen and the British monarchy on Friday.

Reuben Wong, 73, who grew up in poverty in Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada in the 1970s, said he wouldn’t be where he is today without the Queen and the British system.

Hong Kong has not been a part of the Commonwealth since the 1997 handover to China, but some in its diaspora in Canada continue to embrace the monarchy.

“The Queen’s spirit lives in my blood,” the Richmond, B.C., retiree said Friday.

Wong said he grew up in a village with no water or electricity, and paid tribute to the free education provided by colonial British authorities that allowed him to immigrate and forge a career as a public servant. 

“When I look back, I feel thankful to the British system in Hong Kong and the Queen,“ he added.

Source: Members of some diaspora communities call for Canada to break ties to Crown

Buckingham Palace feared increasing ‘non-British’ immigrants would doom the monarchy in Australia

Wonder whether they had similar fears for Canada (but Canada never had referendums on the monarchy):

Buckingham Palace feared the monarchy would collapse in Australia because of an influx of postwar ‘non-British’ immigrants, newly released correspondence reveals.

Letters exchanged between Governor-General Sir John Kerr and the Queen’s private secretary Sir Martin Charteris were finally released today after four decades.

Along with providing bombshell revelations on Sir John’s decision to dismiss Gough Whitlam’s government in 1975, they reveal how the Palace saw Australia.

Sir Martin believed that without more frequent visits from The Queen and other royals, a more multicultural country would ditch the monarchy.

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin – by then his frequent pen pal – to voice his concerns about the monarchy’s future in Australia.

‘I have been musing about the monarchy as an institution in our part of the world’, he wrote on December 19, 1976.

‘In 1947, 98 per cent [of Australians] were of British stock. By the 1971 census only 88 per cent were so derived.’

Sir John noted that most of these non-British immigrants were Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs and Germans – but there were many other nationalities.

‘Our immigrants come from over one hundred countries including, for example, Egypt and Turkey, Lebanon and other Arab countries.

‘Increasingly, but not yet significantly, we have Asians. Most of these, and most who have come from Europe are from republics and are not directly acquainted with monarchy.’

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin - by now his frequent penpal - with concerns about the monarchy's future in Australia

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin – by now his frequent penpal – with concerns about the monarchy’s future in Australia

Sir Martin replied that the 'increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up' had 'significant ramifications for the monarchy

Sir Martin replied that the ‘increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up’ had ‘significant ramifications for the monarchy

Sir Martin replied that the ‘increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up’ had ‘significant’ ramifications for the monarchy.

‘It is one of the reasons why the monarchy in Australia could not, I believe, long remain a reality without more frequent visits by the Sovereign than was customary in the first half of this century,’ he wrote.

‘The days when The Sovereign of Australia could remain in London, and still remain acceptable are, I think, long past; new immigrants, changing values… would all make this impossible, as well, of course as being wholly undesirable.’

In other letters, the pair discussed movements campaigning for an Australian republic but believed they were formed by a small number of ‘left-wing’ rabble rousers.

Australia held a referendum in November 1999 on whether the country should become a republic, but it was comfortably defeated.

The 211 letters, thousands of pages in all, contain many revelations about the lead-up to and aftermath of the dismissal as Sir John wrestled with what to do.

Also revealed is Mr Whitlam’s ‘rage’ at being ousted and the extent of the backlash against Sir John.

The letters finally showed that the Queen did not order Sir John to dismiss Mr Whitlam.

It has long been speculated that Her Majesty may have undermined Australia’s independence by trying to influence Sir John’s decision.

The letters appear to indicate that the Queen and Sir John did not communicate, at least not directly, and Kerr’s correspondence was only with Sir Martin.

Palace allies battled for decades to keep the documents – which also include correspondence from Her Majesty’s then-private secretary, Martin Charteris – secret, with the National Archives of Australia refusing to release them to the public.

The letters had been deemed personal communication by both the National Archives of Australia and the Federal Court, which meant the earliest they could be released was 2027, and only then with the Queen’s permission.

But the High Court bench earlier this year ruled the letters were property of the Commonwealth and part of the public record, and so must be released.

Source: Buckingham Palace feared increasing ‘non-British’ immigrants would doom the monarchy in Australia

Retour discret des toiles de Pellan aux Affaires étrangères | Le Devoir


Alfred Pellan est de retour au ministère des Affaires étrangères. Les deux toiles du peintre québécois, qui avaient été écartées du hall d’entrée du ministère au profit d’un portrait de la reine Elizabeth II, sont de retour… timidement, sur un mur adjacent.

Les deux tableaux avaient été remplacés à la veille de la visite du prince William et de sa femme Kate, à l’été 2011. Plutôt que les peintures colorées du peintre québécois, les diplomates et visiteurs du ministère sont désormais accueillis par une grande reproduction d’un portrait de la reine, jonché au-dessus du comptoir de la réception — où se trouvaient les Pellan depuis l’inauguration de l’édifice par la reine en 1973.

I suspect that any change of government would result in a quick reversal of the current government’s fetish for all things related to the Monarchy, including in our missions abroad.

Retour discret des toiles de Pellan aux Affaires étrangères | Le Devoir.

The monarchy hurts Canada’s standing in the world. It’s time to let go – Heinbecker

Paul Heinbecker on the monarchy. His vignette about their role in promoting British interests, not those of Commonwealth countries, is priceless – and all too accurate:

The royal family themselves are under no illusion about who they are – British; where they live – Britain; and what they represent – the United Kingdom. When I was posted to Bonn in the nineties, Queen Elizabeth paid an official visit to Berlin largely to promote British industry. Ambassadors from Commonwealth countries were convened to Berlin, at their countries’ expense, to greet the Queen (in reality a photo-op). Because there were Canadian firms in Germany that could have used some high-level support, and because my credentials said that it was in her name and on her behalf that I was accredited as the Ambassador of Canada to Germany, I decided to test what the Monarchists’ assertions – that she is our Queen, too – meant in practice.

Not much, as it turned out. I asked an aide at the photo-op whether while promoting UK business her majesty might put in a good word for Canadian business too. It was evident from his reaction that such an idea was as unwelcome as it was novel. Years later, Kate and William, following their rapturous welcome in Canada, headed to Hollywood where they promoted British artists. Plus ça change…

How do we remove this asterisk when we have manacled ourselves to the Crown by a constitution that requires the agreement of all of the legislatures of the provinces and both houses of the Parliament to change? We can start by again treating the Governor General as the de facto head of state in all ways that the constitution does not actually preclude. The incumbent, like his predecessors, is a successful, distinguished, bilingual Canadian who personifies the values and aspirations of Canadians better than any royal ever could. He should represent Canada on all occasions of state at home and abroad, for example on D-Day anniversaries. All “honours” would be imparted in the GG’s name. Further, we should change the Oath of Citizenship to require new Canadians to swear allegiance not to “to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors…” but just to Canada, and to the Canadian Constitution and rule of law.

When the day comes that Canadians are ready to change the Constitution in order to reform the Senate, we should also de-link from the monarchy and select our own Head of State. We could do so, for example, by empowering the 1050 elected members of the federal parliament and legislative assemblies across the country to elect a Governor-General from the membership of the Order of Canada. All powers vested in the monarch would be transferred to the Governor-General whose title could remain the same in deference to our history. In the meantime, we should prepare for that joyous day by retiring the portraits of the royal family from our foreign ministry and offices abroad and curtailing royal visits to Canada. And we should elect a government willing to make these changes.

The monarchy hurts Canada’s standing in the world. It’s time to let go – The Globe and Mail.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail

Good discussion of some of the issues around the monarchy and suggestions for more written clarity regarding the power of the prime minister in relation to the legislature. Other governments have done so without undermining the role of the monarchy; and the article also lists a number of other options that could go further.

Not likely to happen given any debate would be divisive but good to have a range of options laid out and discussed.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail.

Canada’s misguided monarchists

Andrew Cohen’s take on the monarchy. He makes a valid point about how our general fascination with celebrities, and celebrity culture, overwhelms the substance of the monarchy. But I don’t share the urgency of the ‘natural evolution’ and shedding the monarchy; it is part of our history and heritage, is fully embedded in our institutions, generally works well, and change would be a distraction to more pressing issues. On the other hand, changing the oath ….

Canada’s misguided monarchists.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail

Good overview of the embedded nature of the Crown and Monarchy in Canada.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail.