The (other) third force steps up in shaky era

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

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.

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