Australian MPs inundated with requests for free portraits of the Queen

Australian MPs inundated with requests for free portraits of the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II views a painting of herself Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty

Australian MPs have been inundated with requests for portraits of the Queen thanks to a quirk which means those down under are entitled to request free "nationhood material" from their local politician.

Under the little-known “constituents’ request program” voters can receive images of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as well as national flags and recordings of the national anthem, just by asking their federal member.

This week, online magazine Vice published a tongue-in-cheek article on the programme in which author, Nicholas Lord got his very own portrait of the monarch.

The article has since sparked a seeming rush of royalism across the Commonwealth country, with hundreds having contacted their local MP for the pictures.

Melbourne MP Tim Watts said his office has received dozens of requests for portraits of Queen Elizabeth, of which "99 per cent were tongue firmly in cheek.”

Sharing the joke, in response Mr Watts said he was perfectly entitled to use his freedom of speech to send extra materials back to his constituents.

Tim Watts MPExcellent trolling @VICEAU, I do find this to be comfortably the dumbest part of my job. But be warned youth of Gellibrand: if you request a portrait of Liz, there’s nothing stopping me sending you some other ‘material’ in the same parcel..

Royal portraits have therefore been accompanied by a variety of items including promotional material for the Australian Republic Movement, portraits of Bob Muprhy - a retired captain of Australian football team the Western Bulldogs, and even an invite to the office's upcoming Wattle Day barbecue.

Rebekha Sharkie MPWe've received more than 25 requests for a portrait of Queen in the last 12 hours.

Official portraits aren’t available to other Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand, India, and South Africa, while in Canada, patriotic citizens must made do with a free download.

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