Australian MPs are flooded with requests for pictures of the Queen after an obscure law revealed all citizens are legally entitled to a portrait
- Australians are taking advantage of their right to a portrait of The Queen
- MPs have been swamped by requests by voters for the free royal memorabilia
- Many only discovered the constituents’ request program existed this week
- Program is unique to Australia as UK citizens have to purchase official portrait
Australian MPs have been inundated with ‘tongue-in-cheek’ requests for portraits of The Queen after an obscure law revealed voters had the right to request one at taxpayers’ expense.
Under the Constituents’ Request Program, Australians can ask their MPs for nationalistic memorabilia.
The items included a photo of her majesty wearing a wattle brooch -a gift from former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies – and a pin featuring the country’s coat of arms.
Andrew Hastie, a Western Australian local MP representing the Liberal Party, shared his excitement at hanging portrait of the Queen (pictured)
The Queen is Australia’s head of state as it remained a British dominion after gaining independence in 1901.
Other material on offer includes the national, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, ‘nationhood documents’ such as booklets on Australian flags and national symbols, and a portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh.
MPs said they had not received any requests for Queen Elizabeth portraits until Vice’s Nicholas Lord pointed out the archaic provision in an article on Wednesday.
Fancy seeing this face every day? That is possible if you are an Australian as you are legally entitled to receive free nationalistic memorabilia
More than 25 requests for a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II had flooded into Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie’s office within 12 hours.
MP Craig Laudy shared on social media that he has had to order more pictures to keep up with demand.
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Melbourne MP Tim Watts had never received a request for a portrait. He has had about four dozen requests since the recent revelation, the Labor MP told ABC Radio.
Mr Watts told his twitter followers he found it the ‘dumbest’ part of his job. He has threatened that he might include additional material when he sends the portrait.
‘Some portraits of [retired Western Bulldogs captain] Bob Murphy and [former prime minister] Julia Gillard, some Australian Republican Movement membership forms and an invite to our Wattle Day barbeque at Williamstown beach.’
MP Terri Butler had also had a few requests. She shared on social media that she had been talked out of providing a photo of singer Beyonce to those who had not specified their request for a picture of the Queen.
The ‘Constituents’ Request Program’ entitles Australian voters to receive nationalistic memorabilia including flags, the National Anthem and portraits of the Royal Family.
MPs took to twitter (pictured above) to express their views on the law and warn voters what might be included in their mail make they make the request
The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is tailored for Australians as she is wearing her ‘wattle spray’ brooch and a lapel pin with the Australian coat of arms
All Australian citizens – as members of the Commonwealth – can email their local MP to request a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that’s then sent for free.
The program is unique to Australians because UK citizens have to buy the Queen’s portrait while Canadians need to download one themselves.
New Zealand is looking to introduce downloadable portraits while other Commonwealth countries like South Africa and India don’t offer official portraits.
The government-funded program is likely traced back to the Parliamentary Entitles Act 1990.
In 1999, a referendum found that Australians wanted to remain a constitutional monarchy with 54.87 per cent voting in favour.
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