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Australians swamp MPs trying to snag the last of the free portraits of the Queen

It’s a little-known quirk enshrined in law. A few years ago, it caused mayhem for some federal MPs.
All Australian citizens are entitled to ask their federal MP for select ‘nationhood material’. This includes a portrait of the reigning monarch, which for the past 70 years was Queen Elizabeth II.
The Department of Finance has told The Feed that portraits of the new monarch, King Charles III, will become available as soon as they’re sent to the Australian government.
“Updates to the items available as Nationhood material are considered each time Royal portraits are updated,” a spokesperson from the Department of Finance said in a statement.
“The Australian Government is awaiting the release of an official Portrait of His Majesty King Charles III.”
But until then, the department said citizens could still ask for a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, adding it is subject to availability and the budget assigned for nationhood material in the parliamentarian’s budget.

All you need to do is call or email your local MP. And it seems some Australians are well aware.

The Feed contacted a number of MPs offices, with many indicating they had seen an uptick in requests for the Queen’s portrait since her death on Friday. Some had been “inundated”.

‘My office is currently out of stock’

The offices of Liberal MPs Karen Andrews and Bridget Archer and Greens MP Stephen Bates are among those who confirmed an influx in requests. Ms Archer told The Feed she has since run out.
Mr Bates’ and Ms Archer’s offices had both received at least 50 requests in the past few days. Labor MP Tony Burke’s office said it had received five requests for Queen portraits, which for them, is still unusual.
Some MPs are debating whether or not to talk about the surge, hoping not to bring further attention to the free portrait.
Mr Bates, who is the member for Brisbane, told The Feed in a statement: “We’ve noticed a huge uptick in requests for portraits since the media has been circulating articles about some MPs providing the service.
“My office is currently out of stock. We would encourage all community members to contact other Queensland Senators or MPs to check their availability.”
For those wishing to spare their local MP some trouble, the Department of Finance also pointed to a downloadable .

Wait, I can get a portrait of the Queen?

The Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, which governs the spending, expenses and entitlements for Australian members of parliament and Senators, states that MPs are required to provide “Australian flags and printed material related to national symbols, for presentation to constituents”.
The Department of Finance’s website clarifies that constituents can request booklets on the flags of Australia, booklets on Australia’s national symbols, CD and DVD recordings of the Australian national anthem, and of course, portraits of Her Majesty the Queen.
In 2018, a widely circulated article from VICE noting the then little-known fact .

Some MPs were critical of the publicising of the quirk, with Labor MP Tim Watts calling it “excellent trolling” at the time, and former Labor MP Terri Butler joking in a tweet that she was considering sending out pictures of Beyoncé instead.

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