My office in Shellharbour has received a spike in requests for portraits of Queen Elizabeth.

Other MP offices have had the same requests following an online article about the “Commonwealth Constituent Request Program” that was almost correct.

It is true that constituents and organisations can request nationhood material which includes flags, copies of the constitution, recordings of the national anthem and, of course, portraits of the Queen.

The program was designed to assist schools and service organisations gain access to these materials. 

There is not an unlimited supply and they do come at a cost – to the taxpayer.

If every household in the Whitlam electorate was to request a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the cost to the taxpayer would exceed $250,000.

I’m pretty confident that most members of the Royal family would think that this quarter of a million dollars on portraits would be better spent in the region.

And just for the record – yes I am a republican and I’d take the same view of spending taxpayer money on a portrait of a president – particularly when a reasonably good copy can be downloaded and printed at home.

Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones MP (Illawarra Mercury, 15 August 2018)