Australian dollars, AUD or A$, is the official currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including the Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. It is sometimes affectionately called the "Aussie battler"; during a low period (relative to the US dollar) around 2001 and 2002 the currency was sometimes locally called the "Pacific Peso." It is subdivided into 100 cents (symbol c).
Australian dollars are currently the fifth-most-traded currency in world foreign exchange markets (behind the US dollar, yen, euro and British pound) accounting for approximately 4?5% of worldwide foreign exchange transactions. Australian dollars are popular with currency traders due to the relative lack of government intervention in the foreign exchange market, the general stability of the economy and government, and views that it offers diversification benefits in a portfolio containing the major world currencies (for example because of greater exposure to Asian economies and the commodities cycle).
All Australian coins portray Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and are produced by the Royal Australian Mint. The one- and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1990-92 and withdrawn from circulation. Cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents. In recent years, the 20 cent, 50 cent and 1 dollar coins have been issued featuring a variety of commemorative and United Nations "year of" themes. There is also an Australian five dollar coin and many silver and gold bullion coins in higher denominations that, like the US Two dollar note, are not a normal method of payment but are still legal tender.
All Australian banknotes are made of polymer and issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes based on plastic (polymer). These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting. They also last four times as long as conventional paper (fibrous) notes.
The innovative technology by which the notes are produced, developed entirely in Australia, offers artists brilliant scope for the creation of images that reflect the histories and natural environments of their countries. At the same time the polymer notes are cleaner than paper notes and easily recyclable. Australia's currency consists of coins of five, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denomination; and notes of five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar denomination.
Australian dollars ware introduced in 1966, not only replacing the Australian pound (long since distinct from the Pound Sterling) but also introducing a decimal system. The Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies wished to name the currency "the Royal", and other names such as "the Austral" were also proposed.
Due to Menzies' influence, the name "Royal" was settled upon, and trial designs were prepared and printed by the printing works of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The unusual choice of name for the currency proved unpopular, and it was later shelved in favour of "Dollar".