IN THE BOX SEAT

Rob­bie Kat­ter steps out of his fa­ther’s shadow to shake up state pol­i­tics

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - FRONT PAGE - SU­SAN JOHN­SON

Fly­ing across some of the 570,000-odd square kilo­me­tres of Rob­bie Kat­ter’s Mount Isa elec­torate, you can see writ large the great di­vide be­tween coun­try and ur­ban Aus­tralia. It is Queens­land’s largest elec­torate, com­pris­ing al­most a third of the state, only slightly smaller than France but big­ger than Vic­to­ria and Tas­ma­nia com­bined, and in­hab­ited by fewer than 39,000 peo­ple (just un­der 20,000 vot­ers). Kat­ter’s ter­ri­tory stretches from the North­ern Ter­ri­tory bor­der on one side, right up to Morn­ing­ton Is­land in the Gulf of Car­pen­taria and down to Birdsville, near the South Aus­tralian bor­der.

Look­ing down from a plane, there’s kilo­me­tre af­ter kilo­me­tre of red earth and spinifex: very lim­ited mo­bile phone cov­er­age, no Yel­low Cabs and def­i­nitely no Ubers, let alone cafes of­fer­ing a choice be­tween soy, goat or al­mond milk. This is no-bull­shit coun­try where peo­ple are Queens­lan­ders first and Aus­tralians sec­ond, hard yarders, fight­ing drought, money wor­ries and the tyranny of dis­tance.

And it’s Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party Queens­land leader Rob­bie Kat­ter, 39, and his three fel­low north Queens­land cross­benchers who are in the box seat, try­ing to bridge the gap be­tween coun­try and ur­ban Queens­land, more able to in­flu­ence pol­icy than ever be­fore by do­ing deals with a mi­nor­ity La­bor govern­ment, and a Lib­eral Na­tional Party Op­po­si­tion, who need their votes.

Kat­ter, fel­low KAP mem­ber Shane Knuth, 49, from the neigh­bour­ing Dal­rym­ple elec­torate, to­gether with In­de­pen­dents Rob Pyne, 49, ex-La­bor Party mem­ber for Cairns, and Billy Gor­don, 43, ex-La­bor mem­ber for Cook, which cov­ers the vast Cape York Penin­sula north of Cairns, hold the bal­ance of power in Queens­land’s hung par­lia­ment.

Gor­don was ex­pelled from the ALP by Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk less than two months af­ter she as­sumed of­fice for his fail­ure to dis­close a crim­i­nal record of teenage break-ins and driv­ing sus­pen­sions; and Pyne re­signed from La­bor in March.

There was no clearer demon­stra­tion of the group’s power than last week’s sleight-of-hand changes to Queens­land elec­toral laws by the Palaszczuk Govern­ment. As the Op­po­si­tion pushed through a Bill, with the sup­port of Pyne and the two Kat­ter MPs, to in­crease the num­ber of state seats from 89 to 93 – ef­fec­tively pro­tect­ing north Queens­land seats from abo­li­tion un­der the up­com­ing re­dis­tri­bu­tion re­view – the ALP quickly re­turned fire. With sup­port from the same three cross­benchers – and Billy Gor­don – the Palaszczuk Govern­ment am­bushed Par­lia­ment and re­in­stated the com­pul­sory pref­er­en­tial vot­ing sys­tem, which was thrown out af­ter rec­om­men­da­tions in the wake of the Fitzger­ald In­quiry. The change will ar­guably most ben­e­fit the ALP and the In­de­pen­dents.

Ear­lier this year, the Govern­ment was also able to pass its liquor lock­out laws with cross­bench sup­port (mi­nus Gor­don who voted against it) in a deal that in­cluded Palaszczuk promis­ing more money for north Queens­land elec­torates.

In­de­pen­dent Speaker Peter Wellington’s vote only comes into play in the event of a dead­lock in the state’s 89seat par­lia­ment, where La­bor and the Op­po­si­tion hold 42 seats each – as it did last week when Sun­shine Coast-based Wellington joined Pyne and Gor­don to vote with the Govern­ment to break the dead­lock over the con­tro­ver­sial Racing In­tegrity Bill.

De­pend­ing on which way you look at it, these blokes in the big hats and a “black­fella from the wrong side of the tracks” – as Abo­rig­i­nal-Chi­nese Billy Gor­don de­scribes him­self – are ei­ther hold­ing all the cards or else they are pro­vid­ing an ef­fec­tive check on the two-party sys­tem.

And it’s more of­ten than not young Kat­ter – af­fa­ble, less flam­boy­ant than his dad, Bob Kat­ter Ju­nior, and so good­look­ing that last year smit­ten Twit­ter fans started hash­tag #catchakatter, aimed at find­ing him a wife af­ter he com­plained his elec­torate was so big he didn’t have time to look – who stumps up as un­of­fi­cial cross­bench spokesman.

He’s the one usu­ally fronting the cam­eras, speak­ing on be­half of Knuth and Pyne. Those three – dubbed The Three Ami­gos by this news­pa­per – tend to be on the same page on many is­sues, but Gor­don plays the wild­card. Gor­don didn’t sign a let­ter threat­en­ing to sup­port an LNP govern­ment should the Premier go to an early elec­tion, nor did he sign an­other threat­en­ing to block sup­ply and the bud­get un­less the Govern­ment changed its State In­fra­struc­ture Plan. KAT­TER’S THE ONE WITH THE CHARM – THE BLOKE OTHER blokes like (“you’re too nice to go into pol­i­tics, mate”, was the most com­mon thing any­one said to him for a while), the Kat­ter who doesn’t do The Mad Kat­ter act like his dad.

“He’s got the pas­sion of his fa­ther but the com­po­sure of his grand­fa­ther (Bob Kat­ter’s fa­ther, known as Bob Kat­ter Se­nior – a fed­eral Na­tional Party min­is­ter who died in 1990),” says Knuth. Rob­bie Kat­ter’s def­i­nitely the “golden child” he says jok­ingly – the only boy in a fam­ily of four sis­ters, but you get the sense it might be true. Or, as his dad mem­o­rably put it in a 2012 in­ter­view with Qweek­end, “we’re the only bulls in the pad­dock”.

These days ev­ery­one wants a piece of Robert Carl Ignatius Kat­ter III. He knows he’ll prob­a­bly never have so much power again and some days it seems the whole world smiles upon him: “I like An­nasta­cia,” he says. “She’s pretty am­i­ca­ble, but it’s re­ally hard to put a mea­sure on our re­la­tion­ship be­cause, of course, she’s go­ing to be nice to me, so how much is gen­uine and how much is prag­matic I don’t know.”

SMIT­TEN TWIT­TER FANS STARTED HASH­TAG #CATCHAKATTER, AIMED AT FIND­ING HIM A WIFE AF­TER HE COM­PLAINED HIS ELEC­TORATE WAS SO BIG HE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO LOOK

There’s never been a bet­ter time for the voices of Queens­land’s coun­try bat­tlers liv­ing on that bare red earth to be heard and Kat­ter’s us­ing his un­ex­pected power to shout as loud as he can on their be­half. IF EVERY SON HAS TO METAPHOR­I­CALLY KILL HIS FA­THER in or­der to step out of his shade, lit­tle Rob­bie has had more mur­der­ing to do than most. There’s Bob Kat­ter Ju­nior, big­ger than the Queens­land sun, with his hat and his big weird voice and his larger-than-life per­son­al­ity. He takes up a lot of space, does Bob, the kind of man who sucks all the oxy­gen from a room.

Bob Kat­ter, how­ever, is shrewder than his mad­cap per­for­mance might sug­gest, and cer­tainly brighter than his more bonkers pro­nounce­ments might in­di­cate: telling the ABC’s Q&A in 2011 that cli­mate change was just a the­ory, “like grav­ity”, is the sort of statement that does not in­spire con­fi­dence.

Yet the elder Kat­ter is a canny me­dia player and has taught the younger Kat­ter a trick or two: un­like Gor­don, who de­clined to be in our photo shoot, Kat­ter III al­ways stumps up for the me­dia.

All sons of pow­er­ful fathers take one of two di­rec­tions: ei­ther run­ning for the hills to forge a new self as dif­fer­ent from the fa­ther as pos­si­ble, or else be­com­ing a sort of min­ime, some­times go­ing on to be­come an even more suc­cess­ful ver­sion of the fa­ther.

For years Rob­bie chose the first path: no, Dad, I don’t want to go into pol­i­tics; no, Dad, I don’t want to stand; no Dad, no. He knew what it was like hav­ing a dad who was rarely around, off to Can­berra for Par­lia­ment, busy, busy, busy. If Bob Kat­ter Jr had a pow­er­ful fa­ther in Bob Kat­ter Se­nior (min­is­ter for the army and mem­ber for the fed­eral seat of Kennedy for 23 years) he chose the mini-me path. BUT ROB­BIE KAT­TER, FOR YEARS, WANTED NOTH­ING TO DO with pol­i­tics. What he wanted most of all was to play rugby league for that mighty north Queens­land team, the Cow­boys. He’d played all through school (at Mount Carmel

DE­PEND­ING ON WHICH WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, THESE BLOKES IN THE BIG HATS ARE EI­THER HOLD­ING ALL THE CARDS OR THEY ARE AN EF­FEC­TIVE CHECK ON THE TWO-PARTY SYS­TEM

Col­lege, a Chris­tian Broth­ers’ board­ing school in Charters Tow­ers) and made it to the Cow­boys feeder team, the Young Guns.

“I was chas­ing a ca­reer in footy, sort of as­pir­ing to be a Cow­boys player but I had to move to Townsville to train and I never did that, I stayed work­ing. I had my eye set on uni at the time,” he says.

He was work­ing in the mines – “I was a bit of a run­about” – when the footy didn’t work out. “It prob­a­bly says a lot about my char­ac­ter. I’m pretty easy­go­ing but when I was in about grade 11 or 12 and we were liv­ing on a cat­tle sta­tion, we had a val­uer come out and Dad said, ‘ That fel­low’s here for a day or two, has a look around a nice, pretty sta­tion and then charges you three grand. There must be good money in it, you should do that’. And I said, yeah, righto – so for 15 years I was a prop­erty val­uer. I went down to Bris­bane to uni (Bach­e­lor of Ap­plied Science in Prop­erty Eco­nom­ics from Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy) and then worked in Bris­bane CBD for two years.”

Kat­ter never har­boured any de­sire, se­cret or oth­er­wise, to get into pol­i­tics. “I was happy do­ing my thing out here (he moved his prop­erty val­u­a­tion busi­ness to Mount Isa in 2000). I had a re­ally good busi­ness,” he says.

Kat­ter is also at pains to point out that it wasn’t his fa­ther who got him into pol­i­tics and that he is more of an ac­ci­den­tal politi­cian.

He got in­volved in Mount Isa pol­i­tics when the coun­cil dis­placed the lo­cal shot­gun club and the Cam­p­draft As­so­ci­a­tion (“cam­p­draft­ing’s a big sport out here”) from the rodeo grounds, want­ing to build a speedway and new rodeo ground “when the old one was fine” be­cause it had its eye on some mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar grants be­ing handed out.

“I started go­ing to meet­ings about it and there were some spots go­ing on the coun­cil be­cause a few peo­ple pulled out. The mayor at the time rang me and said he wasn’t run­ning again and if I didn’t run they’d get back in again and send the coun­cil broke. It played on my con­science and I thought, all right, I’ll do this one term of coun­cil.” He ended up serv­ing four years.

YOU MEET SOME­ONE IN BRIS­BANE AND SAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO MOVE TO MOUNT ISA, AND THEN YOU SAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO MOVE TO MOUNT ISA BUT I’LL NEVER BE HOME?

He got in­volved in KAP in an equally ac­ci­den­tal fash­ion: ini­tially he at­tended meet­ings only to be an­other body af­ter his fa­ther formed the party in 2011. His fa­ther wanted him to stand but he ini­tially knocked him back.

“I was happy to be in­volved from the back­ground. I didn’t re­ally want to be a front­man or any­thing but we couldn’t find a can­di­date for Mount Isa and the elec­tion was com­ing and we hardly had any can­di­dates on the ground and I thought, bloomin’ hell, some­one’s got to put their hand up. And I’d just gone through a di­vorce not long be­fore so I was look­ing for a bit of a change ... I kind of thought, bug­ger it, I’ll just close my eyes and jump in. And here I am.”

KAT­TER WAS MAR­RIED TO JOUR­NAL­IST STACEY MIL­NER FOR

four years be­fore their sep­a­ra­tion in 2009. Mil­ner has since re-part­nered with ABC po­lit­i­cal re­porter Matt Wordsworth and Kat­ter’s new love, 26-year-old jour­nal­ist Daisy Hat­field, has re­cently moved in to share his Mount Isa home.

Hat­field, a for­mer boarder at pres­ti­gious Stu­ar­tholme School in Toowong and Univer­sity of The Sun­shine Coast grad­u­ate, met Kat­ter on as­sign­ment in early 2015 while work­ing at WIN Townsville and ad­mits she didn’t know much about north Queens­land pol­i­tics. When Hat­field was sent out to in­ter­view Kat­ter about as­set sales, he fol­lowed up the in­ter­view with a phone call: she was un­der the im­pres­sion “it was just busi­ness”.

“I had no idea who he was,” she says, laugh­ing. When she even­tu­ally got it, and they started go­ing out, she told her par­ents “that this boy might be a bit keen on me”.

Kat­ter laughs and says he gets on well with the po­ten­tial in-laws. “Her dad didn’t chase me with a shot­gun, put it that way,” he says.

She took up a role with the ABC as a ru­ral re­porter at Mount Isa in March this year. Hat­field, whose home town is Kin­garoy, where her fa­ther is an agron­o­mist and her mother a mas­sage ther­a­pist, says Mount Isa has been re­ally wel­com­ing; she’s en­joy­ing it so far, pre­fer­ring small towns to larger ones. Rob­bie is “so happy” she likes it: “I swear this city knows if you don’t like it.”

Hat­field says “it was a bit of a sur­prise” when the #catchakatter cam­paign started on Twit­ter. “I didn’t quite mean how it came out,” says Kat­ter, a tad sheep­ishly. Per­haps some­one can now start a new hash­tag #kat­ter­caught.

The cou­ple shares the house on the hill – along with two English point­ers, Jon-Bon and Ruby, and horse Buf­fett – which Kat­ter bought when he was 30. Set on 1.2 hectares, he likes noth­ing bet­ter than rid­ing out on his land and into the end­less be­yond of the red and green Mount Isa land­scape.

Ear­lier, dur­ing lunch at the Rodeo Bar and Grill at the Isa Ho­tel, Kat­ter men­tions it had been re­ally hard find­ing a part­ner. “You meet some­one in Bris­bane and say, how would you like to move to Mount Isa, and then you say, how would you like to move to Mount Isa but I’ll never be home? I ei­ther spent most of my life in the car, or in Bris­bane.”

A cou­ple of times he’s had to sleep in his car be­cause of the huge dis­tances he has to travel in his elec­torate and he hasn’t made it home in time be­fore dark. Cows, horses and ’roos on the road make night driv­ing haz­ardous.

But now Hat­field has taken the plunge and moved in with him – “she’s a good girl” – Rob­bie Kat­ter is about to qual­ify for his pi­lot’s li­cence be­cause he knows that if he ever wants a wife and a fam­ily he’ll need to be home more.

I ask if mar­riage to Hat­field is on the agenda. “Wow. Mar­ried ... hope so.”

THE ONLY TIME KAT­TER’S AF­FA­BLE FRONT AP­PEARS THE

slight­est bit rat­tled is when I ask out­right about the long shadow of his fa­ther. “I ac­tu­ally hate it … well, hate’s prob­a­bly too strong a word, but I re­ally don’t like hang­ing around Dad in this job. You know, he’ll say, oh, wear your hat and I do wear my hat, as a mat­ter of prac­ti­cal­ity, I don’t like get­ting sun­burnt, but I don’t like wear­ing it around him, I re­ally hate it. It’s like an un­scratch­able itch in my skin, you know, like when he’s talk­ing to peo­ple at a meet­ing and he’ll say, well, Rob, are you go­ing to say some­thing?

“And I just say no, you’ve talked ev­ery­one to death and that’s good, I agree with what you’ve said but they’ve had enough pol­i­tics now.

“I have that real strong aver­sion to be­ing in his shadow, or just be­ing there with him. I find I’m a lot more as­sertive when I’m not … I can go a cou­ple of months with­out talk­ing pol­i­tics with him be­cause I’m so busy and I’m a lot more as­sertive then. He’s re­ally un­der­stand­ing of that; he’ll have a go every now and then and try and push his agenda but I think he re­spects my space.”

Kat­ter copped a lot of flak in his first months in Par­lia­ment be­cause of his fa­ther, par­tic­u­larly from then premier Camp­bell New­man and the Lib­er­als who “sav­aged” him. “Every time I stood up I got roasted. My first ques­tion was on ura­nium min­ing – which I thought was a le­git­i­mate ques­tion – but Camp­bell New­man spent three min­utes say­ing ‘Your dad wears a big hat, he’s got to keep his brains in, and you’re ex­actly the same.’ That’s all I got, for months, and I thought, bloody hell.”

Yet Rob Kat­ter is enor­mously proud of his fa­ther and has great re­spect and love for him, cred­it­ing his dad with be­ing one of his life’s ma­jor in­flu­ences.

“Dad’s faults are bleed­ingly ob­vi­ous and up there for ev­ery­one to see. He’s an easy tar­get, you know, he gets judged harshly … but he’s ar­guably one of the big­gest cham­pi­ons ru­ral Queens­lan­ders and first Aus­tralians have in govern­ment. I’m very slow to anger but that’s where I might get a bit worked up in Par­lia­ment – there’s just real heartache, men­tal an­guish, loss and de­spair out there that makes a burn­ing flame in­side me. Dad al­ways says that you’re not there to rep­re­sent any­one else but the peo­ple out here so just re­mem­ber that. If you get scared of speak­ing up down there (in Par­lia­ment) just re­mem­ber who you’re there for.”

Po­lit­i­cally, Kat­ter’s KAP is closer to tra­di­tional old-style La­bor values than might be ex­pected. The Kat­ters de­scend from Ma­ronite Chris­tians from Le­banon (the fam­ily name was orig­i­nally Kay­rooz) and Carl Robert Kat­ter, Rob­bie’s great-grand­fa­ther, was the first Kat­ter to be in­volved in pol­i­tics. He owned and ran a Clon­curry drap­ery shop, as well as the lo­cal pic­ture house, and was a long-stand­ing lo­cal coun­cil­lor.

AR­GUABLY, TOO, THE KAT­TERS’ TOUCH OF THE TAR BRUSH

(a joke made by both Bob and Rob­bie, who quips “we’re not ex­actly pure­bred meri­nos”) caused them to be par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive to race re­la­tions. “Our fam­ily are half­dark them­selves and I guess they didn’t care who they em­ployed. They gave a lot of credit to the Abo­rig­i­nal stock­men who came in off the sta­tions,” says Rob­bie. Both Kat­ters cham­pion in­dige­nous rights and Bob Kat­ter Se­nior is fondly re­mem­bered lo­cally for hav­ing abol­ished seg­re­gated seat­ing be­tween blacks and whites at the fam­ily owned cinema.

As well as its sup­port for in­dige­nous Aus­tralians, some KAP poli­cies show an affin­ity with the tra­di­tional La­bor Party worker and coun­try values that grew out of the 1891 shear­ers’ strike. Bob Kat­ter Se­nior was a mem­ber of the ALP be­fore join­ing what was then the Coun­try Party. KAP’s 20-point char­ter in­cludes sup­port for col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing for all work­ers (in­clud­ing farm­ers), the rights of all Aus­tralians (in­clud­ing in­dige­nous Aus­tralians) to 23 years un­til his 2012 win. “I take up the La­bor votes, re­ally,” he says. “The old Na­tional Party doesn’t ex­ist any­more in Queens­land, quite lit­er­ally, and the La­bor Party’s not what it used to be ei­ther – on as­set sales alone there’s a lot of things that demon­strate they’re not what they used to be. I’ve got some re­ally hard­core peo­ple who voted La­bor all their lives help­ing me with How To Vote cards. I didn’t chase that vote, that’s just the way it’s panned out I guess.”

He knows it’s the bat­tling pas­toral­ists as well as the work­ers who are do­ing it tough. “We ex­ist as an in­dus­try town. We’ll never be a Bris­bane or a Townsville or have mass tourism ap­peal. Peo­ple don’t want wa­ter slides or streets paved with gold, they just want a job. We do most of the stuff out here by our­selves, you know. The aged care home was paid for by min­ers put­tin’ a dol­lar out of their weekly wage – lock, stock and bar­rel paid for by the com­mu­nity.

“We hear about Queens­land Nickel in Townsville and when jobs go, you don’t like hear­ing it. But we had Cen­tury Mine with 700 jobs close down here last year and a lot of those were first Aus­tralians – a lot of them were in­dige­nous jobs. That’s a big so­cial prob­lem for us – 10 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion lose their jobs and you don’t hear a boo. How do we beat this? I don’t know. Are we manag­ing our re­sources well in Queens­land? I don’t think so. Mount Isa’s not ev­ery­thing to the econ­omy but the av­er­age GDP per per­son is about $186,000 per per­son here and about $63,000 for a per­son in south­east Queens­land. I don’t mean to de­value peo­ple in Bris­bane, I’m just say­ing you need to ac­knowl­edge we do pro­duce some­thing here, and you need to look af­ter it.”

It’s here that Kat­ter and KAP veer off to­wards more dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory: the no­tion of split­ting off far north Queens­land into a sep­a­rate state. Cairn’s MP Rob Pyne was once part of the north Queens­land sep­a­rate state move­ment and when you spend the day with Kat­ter in his elec­torate – see­ing with your own eyes some of the is­sues lo­cals face – the idea doesn’t seem quite so bark­ing.

“Ev­ery­one goes, oh, this is too big (an idea). In Par­lia­ment we can’t even do some­thing bloomin’ medium let alone some­thing that big. But then I ask, do you se­ri­ously be­lieve the found­ing fathers of 115 years ago said, here’s some ar­bi­trary lines on this pa­per, that’s how it must stay for­ever, that’s the best way to run the coun­try. That’s a ridicu­lous propo­si­tion. Surely at some stage in our his­tory we’ve got to ask, is this work­ing? I’d say it’s not. If you want to stop us whinge­ing, we’ll look af­ter our­selves, and with more au­ton­omy we can make sure we’ve got a bet­ter chance of al­lo­cat­ing our re­sources eq­ui­tably.”

At this point Gor­don runs a mile. When I catch up later with him in Par­lia­ment House, he ex­presses concern that the con­cept feeds into a “very parochial ide­al­ism about north Queens­land iden­tity”. He says there has to be “ma­ture and in­tel­li­gent de­bate” and that Queens­lan­ders don’t ex­pect their par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to “go around and wave the flag and do their huf­fin’ and puf­fin’ and beatin’ their chests ... with any­thing emo­tive you’ve re­ally got to look at the de­tail and that should gov­ern your think­ing about it.”

While we’re talk­ing, no, he doesn’t see Kat­ter as the cross­benchers’ un­of­fi­cial spokesman ei­ther. “I think Rob­bie does a re­ally good job of ar­tic­u­lat­ing the in­ter­ests and the views of the Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party, but as an In­de­pen­dent in this Par­lia­ment I’m com­mit­ted to form­ing my own views and opin­ions about par­tic­u­lar is­sues I have.”

Pyne also doesn’t see Kat­ter as the cross­bench leader: “It’s a dan­ger for me, by virtue of the num­bers, that if Shane and Rob­bie and I do a me­dia con­fer­ence, it’ll be sug­gested I’m be­com­ing one of the Kat­ters. It won’t be sug­gested the Kat­ters are be­com­ing the Rob Pyne Party.”

Pyne says he has got more say as a cross­bencher than he ever had as a mem­ber of the La­bor Party. “I cer­tainly feel less re­stricted in terms of speak­ing out for my elec­torate and my area – the Govern­ment wants leg­is­la­tion passed, and we want a fairer go for our lit­tle part of Queens­land.”

Knuth, too, thinks be­ing a cross­bencher is a mighty fine thing: “There’s real, true ro­bust de­bate within the Par­lia­ment for the first time in 30 years. We’re now see­ing the views of the whole Par­lia­ment need to be taken into ac­count.”

‘YOUR DAD WEARS A BIG HAT, HE’S GOT TO KEEP HIS BRAINS IN, AND YOU’RE EX­ACTLY THE SAME.’ THAT’S ALL I GOT, FOR MONTHS, AND I THOUGHT, BLOODY HELL.

‘Three Ami­gos’ (from left) Rob­bie Kat­ter, Rob Pyne and Shane Knuth tend to be on the same page on many is­sues, but Billy Gor­don (be­low) plays the wild­card. Main pic­ture: Rus­sell Shake­speare

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