In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, a nationwide debate regarding which famous faces should be featured on the Australian currency has been reignited, with calls for wildlife conservationist / iconic good bloke – Steve Irwin – to be featured on the $5 note.
Principal petitioners Mr Vincent Wu and Mr Kirby Miles have separately campaigned for the “Crocodile Hunter” to be plastered across the pink snapper. Which might actually be a possibility, given Assistant Treasury Minister Andrew Leigh has revealed King Charles won’t necessarily be the figurehead to replace his late mother on the nation’s smallest denomination 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,” Andrew Leigh informed reporters in Canberra last month.
Leigh did, however, confirm the newly-crowned monarch would appear on the forthcoming coins “as a matter of tradition.”
Parliamentary Petition EN4471 (Vincent Wu) states the following:
The Reserve Bank of Australia writes that the, “Banknotes offer an opportunity to honour Australians who have made important contributions to the nation.” There is no one more vital to the Australian culture and identity than Steve Irwin.
Steve is beloved by all and has become synonymous with the Australian values we hold so dearly. 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.
This should not be seen as a step away from the crown, but as a step towards honouring a beloved Aussie hero. There is so much more that could be said about Steve but it comes down to this: we ought to honour a true Aussie hero.
We therefore ask the House to change the face of the $5 note to Steve Irwin.
Parliamentary Petition EN4472 (Kirby Miles) outlines a similar proposal:
The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the proclamation of King Charles III raises an important question about the future of Australian currency.
Australia achieved full sovereignty from the British on 1 January 1901 and has since developed a rich and diverse culture of its own. We propose keeping all existing $5 notes featuring Queen Elizabeth II in circulation and introducing a new $5 note honouring Australian zookeeper Steve Irwin.
Steve Irwin is an Australian cultural icon, conservationist, wildlife expert and environmentalist. This is not intended to disrespect King Charles III, Queen Elizabeth II, or the royal family. We are grateful for their continuing service to the Commonwealth of Australia.
We therefore ask the House to keep all notes featuring Queen Elizabeth II in circulation and introduce a new $5 note featuring Steve Irwin.
While both petitions have only collectively accrued a total of 1,857 signatures, support has been far more universal, beyond social media chatter.
As alluded to earlier in the article, this is by no means a fresh debate.
Over the last decade, there have been several demands for Steve Irwin to be printed on Australian currency, including a since-closed Change.org petition to the Royal Australian mint with over 31,000 signatures. Established by Kyle Ryan circa 2016, the sentiments behind this effort were near-identical to that of Wu and Miles.
“It’s about time we paid our respects to the all time greatest Australian bloke: Steve Irwin,” wrote Ryan.
“Let’s make a change for something in the history of our country.”
“It’s been ten years without the Aussie icon and although he’s been recognised in many ways, I’d imagine we could all support the idea of going one step further.”
To get behind Vincent Wu and Kirby Miles’ current petitions to feature Steve Irwin on Australia’s $5 note before the October 27th (12:59 AM) deadline, hit the links below.