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Mystery Queen portrait hung in Tony Abbott's HQ

Date

Noel Towell, Judith Ireland

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Public service bosses in Tony Abbott's department are not keen to talk about royal portraits that have appeared at their Canberra headquarters in the wake of Mr Abbott's election victory.

Workers at the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet were surprised to find a portrait of Queen Elizabeth hanging in the staff briefing room when they filed in on Wednesday for Mr Abbott's first meet and greet with his new department.

PM&C insiders say the portrait of the Queen was not there before the election victory of the staunchly monarchist Prime Minister who was a key player in the "No" campaign against the republican referendum in 1999.

Surprise! A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has made its way into the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Surprise! A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has made its way into the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Photo: AFP/Philip Toscano

The departmental rank and file is also buzzing with unconfirmed talk that another royal image has appeared in the executive suites in the upper reaches of the National Circuit building.

"Next they'll be making us curtsey when he comes into the building," one departmental staffer grumbled.

The department's media unit made it quite clear it was not amused when approached by Fairfax Media about PM&C's new royal décor.

When asked if the portraits were installed at the behest of the Prime Minister or his office, "No" was the testy response.

Responding to a series of follow-up questions, the department's spinners said they did not want to talk about it any more.

"We responded saying no, as the Prime Minister has not ordered the installation of portraits of the Queen at the Department's building," the PM&C statement said.

"We have no further comment on the subject."

Mr Abbott, in his address to the troops, did not mention the portrait, steered clear of potentially vexed constitutional issues and instead re-iterated his message of respect for the commitment, dedication and professionalism of the Australian Public Service.

94 comments

  • Wonder how long before pics of Abbott's other master, George Pell, get nailed up ........

    Commenter
    bushwacker
    Location
    Gippsland
    Date and time
    September 30, 2013, 12:56PM
    • Or a picture of his hero B.A. Santamaria!

      Commenter
      Canberra Boy
      Date and time
      September 30, 2013, 1:22PM
    • Where are the portraits of Sir Rupert? ;^)

      Commenter
      arb
      Date and time
      September 30, 2013, 1:24PM
    • I'm tipping John Howard's image will appear - along with Lieberal elders Bronnie Bishop and Phillip Ruddock

      Commenter
      MST
      Date and time
      September 30, 2013, 1:27PM
    • What did they do with all Labor and the Green's Lenin portraits?
      Scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit aren't they. I'm also a republic.

      Commenter
      So What
      Date and time
      September 30, 2013, 4:53PM
    • Well see that's the funny thing @So What. There WERE no portraits of Lenin under Labor. But there ARE actually portraits of the freakin Queen under the Coalition. Wake up to yourself! This is beyond a joke. Australian people do not salute the Queen! I've worked in the public service before for over 10 years and I never saw a hint of the Queen! If there was a picture like that in my office I would've taken it down! Go back to the homeland Abbott, we don't want you here.

      Commenter
      Kdubs
      Date and time
      October 01, 2013, 9:13AM
    • Of all the nonsense one reads in the news sometimes, this beat up almost beats (or beats up) all. The fact that a protrait of the Queen- a "mystery" portrait no less- is hanging in a public building is being used as some sort of feather to hit the new Government. And it took two people to write this short bit of nonsense.

      Good grief, stone the crows and starve the coffers. This takes the cake.

      Commenter
      David Morrison
      Location
      Blue Mountains
      Date and time
      October 01, 2013, 10:36AM
    • I need a bucket - I have to puke.

      Shame, shame shame... those poor public servants......

      Commenter
      Thaddeus
      Date and time
      October 01, 2013, 10:48AM
    • I'm a republic, and so can you!

      Commenter
      Max Power
      Date and time
      October 01, 2013, 11:27AM
    • David Morrison 10:36AM

      Awww David, not liking the return serve?

      Commenter
      Boomerang
      Location
      heading for the back of your head
      Date and time
      October 01, 2013, 12:17PM

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