The (other) third force steps up in shaky era
BOB Katter is this country’s longest serving politician after Billy Hughes, and he can never remember a time like this.
“There is a dark mood out there like I’ve never seen in my lifetime,” said the Katter’s Australia Party founder who has sat in Parliament for 43 years (still considerably shy of Billy Hughes’ record span of more than half a century).
“The people are unhappy. When they’re unhappy they take it out on whoever’s in government.
“They hate politicians, they hate government, and they know they’re going broke. And they see a part of their nation being sold off to foreigners, and they can’t get jobs. “That’s all they know.” It’s a mood the KAP intend to capitalise on.
They have closed their Brisbane HQ and are moving it to the Far North.
“Every poll now says we, the third force, are getting 27 per cent of the vote.
“The big parties are around 25 per cent — the next election is shaping up to be one of the biggest watersheds in Queensland’s history.
“It’s sitting there, waiting for us.”
Mr Katter said his party would target around 20 seats at the next State election, “seriously in about 15 of them”.
With Julatten’s Gordon Rasmussen, the endorsed KAP candidate for the state seat of Cook, Mr Katter dropped in to the Men’s Shed at Gerahty Park this week to announce a funding grant.
He reiterated his position, when asked, about a separate state for FNQ.
“It won’t happen,” he said. “But we should have home rule.”
He gets around, of course, and is aghast at the spending on infrastructure in the southeast compared with FNQ.
“They’ve got lots more tunnels than Sydney has!
“When’s the last time we had a new dam or anything up here?”
He sees the headlands of the Mitchell River — “the biggest river in Australia” — around Maryfarms as sheer agricultural potential going unfulfilled.
Residents with longstanding local knowledge put him through his paces at the Men’s Shed.
Roads, local bridges — Gordon Rasmussen’s got them on his list. He’s doing a great job, said the party boss.