On Sep. 5, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that the country’s new $50 note would go into general circulation on Oct. 18.
Details of the new note were announced back in February. As with Australia’s existing $50 (P-54, -60), the new note features portraits of Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon and the first female member of any Australian parliament, Edith Cowan.
The polymer bank note also includes new security features similar to those on the $5 and $10 bank notes issued over the past two years.
Readers may be aware that considerable political upheaval has occurred Down Under in recent months. Unusual for the governor of any central bank, Lowe chose to use the $50 launch to highlight the deteriorating relationship between men and women in Australia’s Federal Parliament. Allegations of bullying and gender-based intimidation have forced one MP to resign and others to question their future.
Lowe did so by reading aloud the microtext on the bank note that quotes from Edith Cowan’s first parliamentary speech: “I stand here today in the unique position of being the first woman in an Australian Parliament. If men and women can work for the same state side by side and represent all the different sections of the community” ... “I cannot doubt that we should do very much better work in the community than was ever done before.”
Lowe added that he was “proud to have this text on the new note” … “nearly 100 years on, this sentiment is just as relevant as it was back in 1921.”
The $50 is Australia’s most widely circulated bank note. It is the denomination primarily used in ATMs. However, as with any new bank notes, it takes time for the new notes to become widely available. To shorten this interval, the $50 notes were shipped nationwide in late September and early October in time for the Oct. 18 release.
Readers wanting full details of the design and security features on the new $50 can find these on the RBA’s website: https://banknotes.rba.gov.au/.
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