Federal MP reflects on ‘priceless’ replica

MP Julian Hill has been gifted a mini-me statuette from a grateful local family.

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

It’s said imitation is the highest form of flattery.

A grateful family obviously thought much of Bruce MP Julian Hill in gifting him a ‘mini-me’ statuette of himself on a throne.

As federal MPs are required to do, Hill declared the gift on the Parliamentary register of members’ interests this month, valuing the piece as “priceless”.

“Statue of me received from a constituent Mr Haidary. 56cm high. Seated on a 75cm high throne. Made in Iran,” Hill described it on the register.

Mysteriously, under the throne is a depicted feather duster with a wrapped bundle of white fabric nearby.

Hill told Star Journal that “it was a lovely albeit surprising gesture by a wonderful local family who my office has helped enormously.

“My staff did say ‘what’s wrong with flowers and chocolate’.

“But obviously now if I’m out of the office and they miss me then they can commune with my statue.”

According to the register guidelines, MPs must declare gifts valued at $750 or more from official sources – that is from an Australian or foreign government office or office-holder.

For non-official sources like Mr Haidary, gifts of $300 or more in value must be declared. Close family and personal friends are exempt.

“I checked the rules and I do need to declare it,” Hill told Sky News.

“I concluded it was made by an artist and shipped from overseas, it probably exceeded the $300 value – but how could I value it? So I valued it as priceless.”

It’s not Hill’s first unsolicited gift from a constituent.

Last year he declared two suits, two white shirts and a “few bags of nuts and dried figs” of “unknown” value from “Mr Hussaini”.

“It became impossible to refuse without causing offence,” Hill wrote on the interests register.

“Mr Hussaini has been requested and has agreed to not bring gifts in the future.”