Australian lawmakers have been bombarded with requests for free portraits of the Queen after loyal Australians discovered they are legally entitled to the gift.
Under the “constituents’ request program,” Aussie voters are eligible to receive “nationhood material”, which can mean national flags, along with recordings of the National Anthem, but it also means voters are entitled to their very own portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
All Australians have to do is email their local MP, with some reporting no shortage of requests:
We’ve received more than 25 requests for a portrait of Queen in the last 12 hours.
— Rebekha Sharkie MP (@MakeMayoMatter) August 9, 2018
Others are happy to show they are one step ahead of their constituents:
I’m very pleased to be hanging a portrait of Her Majesty in my office this morning. #thecrown
The scheme was revealed in a Vice article published on August 8 that told readers they could email their MP to request a picture. The programme is government-funded and was introduced in the Parliamentary Entitles Act 1990, although it was little-known until Vice reminded its readers.
The scheme preceded a 1999 national referendum held to decide if Australia should become a republic. That outcome saw a clear majority of Australians say “no” by 54.87% to 45.13% in the final count.
The most recent research, released in 2013, shows definite support for an Australian republic has fallen further to 26% and probable support had declined to 27%, a total of 53%.
Over the same period, total support for retaining the Queen increased from 34% to 47%, an Australian Election Study showed.
For those interested in following their Australian cousins, it should be noted only Aussies can receive free portraits of the Queen. UK citizens have to buy them and Canadians can only download them.
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