By Holly Richards
Local MPs have been inundated with requests a little different from the usual grievances of disgruntled community members.
Yes, rather than responding to concerns about the unsavoury block of apartments going up down the road or the poor state of the local park, MPs have been playing royal merchandisers.
This week, news got out that Aussie citizens are legally entitled to their very own free portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. All a constituent has to do to obtain the monarchy keepsake is send an email to their local MP requesting one.
Well, it looks like people have gone nuts and MPs everywhere have been struggling to meet a sudden influx of demand.
Labor MP for Gellibrand Tim Watts said he had received dozens of “tongue in cheek” requests for a portrait since the news got out.
“I love my constituents. They have responded in that Australian tradition of taking the piss,” Watts said on Sky News.
The "constituents' request program" allows Aussie voters who are eligible to receive "nationhood material", for example, Aussie flags, recordings of the National Anthem, as well as a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
According to Vice, the portrait of the Queen – who is wearing a "wattle spray" brooch given to her during her first royal visit to Australia in 1954 – was taken specifically for Australians.
Gifted to her by then-prime minister Robert Menzies, the 92-year-old has worn the brooch to many Australian and Commonwealth events.
Her Majesty is also wearing her beloved sapphires her father, King George VI, gave her as a wedding present in 1947.
Punters can also request a Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh portrait, however, photos of Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not available.
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However, the government-funded program, introduced in the Parliamentary Entitles Act 1990, is available for Australian citizens only. UK citizens need to purchase a portrait and Canadians can only download one.
Official portraits aren’t available to other Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand, India, and South Africa.
In the past, there has been backlash over the initiative, with former Green leader Bob Brown slamming the portraits in parliament in 2012.
"If there is extra money available, I suggest that it go to ensuring that indigenous people in Australia who are being deprived of their first languages be given an education in their first languages and that we stop some first languages going to extinction in this country," he said.
"I think that might have priority. However, if there are members opposite who cannot find a picture of Her Majesty, I would be happy to provide them with one."