Bob Katter

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Bob Katter
Bob Katter.jpg
Leader of Katter's Australian Party
In office
5 June 2011 – 3 February 2020
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded byRobbie Katter
Father of the Australian House of Representatives
Assumed office
11 April 2022
Preceded byKevin Andrews
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Kennedy
Assumed office
13 March 1993
Preceded byRob Hulls
Minister for Mines and Energy
of Queensland
In office
25 September 1989 – 7 December 1989
PremierRussell Cooper
Preceded byMartin Tenni
Succeeded byThomas Gilmore (Mines)
Tony McGrady (Energy)
Minister for Development and Community Services of Queensland
In office
7 November 1983 – 25 September 1989
PremierJoh Bjelke-Petersen
Michael Ahern
Russell Cooper
Preceded byThomas Gilmore
Succeeded byMartin Tenni
Member of the Queensland Parliament
for Flinders
In office
7 December 1974 – 25 August 1992
Preceded byBill Longeran
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Personal details
Born
Robert Bellarmine Carl Katter

(1945-05-22) 22 May 1945 (age 77)
Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia
Political partyKatter's Australian (since 2011)
Other political
affiliations
National (until 2001)
Independent (2001–2011)
RelationsCarl Katter (half-brother)
Alex Douglas (nephew)
See Katter family
ChildrenRobbie
Parent(s)Bob Katter Sr.
Mabel Horn
Residence(s)Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia
EducationMount Carmel College
St. Columba Catholic College
Alma materUniversity of Queensland
OccupationUnion delegate[citation needed]
(Australian Workers' Union)
Mining executive
(Self-employed)
ProfessionTrade unionist
businessman
politician
Websitewww.bobkatter.com.au
Military service
Branch/serviceAustralian Army Reserve
Years of service1964–1972[1]
RankSecond Lieutenant
Unit49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment

Robert Bellarmine Carl Katter (born 22 May 1945) is an Australian politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1993.[2][3] He was previously active in Queensland state politics from 1974 to 1992. Katter was a member of the National Party until 2001, when he left to sit as an independent. He formed his own party, Katter's Australian Party, in 2011.

Katter was born in Cloncurry, Queensland. His father, Bob Katter Sr., was also a politician. Katter was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly at the 1974 state election, representing the seat of Flinders. He was elevated to cabinet in 1983, under Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and was a government minister until the National Party's defeat at the 1989 state election.

Katter left state politics in 1992, and the following year was elected to federal parliament standing in the Division of Kennedy (his father's old seat). He resigned from the National Party in the lead-up to the 2001 federal election, and has since been re-elected four more times as an independent and twice for his own party. Katter is known for his social conservatism, and is frequently described as a "maverick" by the media.[4] His son, Robbie Katter, is a state MP in Queensland, the third generation of the family to be a member of parliament.[1]

Early career and family background[edit]

Katter (left) at a Queensland Day ceremony with Mike Reynolds (right) c. 1986.

Katter was born in Cloncurry, Queensland, the son of Robert Cummin Katter, the member for Kennedy from 1966 to 1990, and his wife, Mabel. His paternal grandparents went to Cloncurry in a stage coach around 1900. Katter's paternal grandfather was a Lebanese migrant, who owned clothing stores throughout north Queensland. His father, Bob Katter Sr., was an Australian politician who was in the House of Representatives from 1966 to 1990, representing the National Party (originally named the Country Party).

Growing up in Cloncurry, Katter's family owned a clothing shop and managed a local cinema. He was one of only six at his school who finished year 12.[5]

Katter attended the University of Queensland, where he studied law, but later dropped out without graduating. While at university, Katter was President of the University of Queensland Law Society[6] and St Leo's College.[7] As a sergeant, finishing after seven years as Lieutenant, he served in the Citizens Military Forces.

During their 1964 Australian tour, the Beatles were pelted by eggs from some unknown assailants. Katter, then a university student, came forward more than 40 years later and claimed his involvement, saying that it was "an intellectual reaction against Beatlemania".[8]

Back in Cloncurry, he worked in his family's businesses, and as a "labourer in the Mt Isa Mines".[5][9]

Katter occasionally identifies as being an Aboriginal Australian and has described himself as a blackfella in federal parliament, in interviews, during television appearances and at public events.[10][11][12][13][14] Katter claims that in his youth he was accepted as a member of the Kalkadoon tribe in the Cloncurry area, otherwise known as the "Curry mob", and said he has long since felt a deep connection with Aboriginal people.[11][15]

His son Robbie won the seat of Traeger at the 2020 Queensland state election.[16]

State politics[edit]

Katter's father was a member of the Australian Labor Party until 1957, when he left during the Labor split of that year. He later joined the Country Party, now the Liberal National Party. The younger Katter was a Country Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 1974 to 1992, representing Flinders in north Queensland. He was Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs from 1983 to 1987, Minister for Northern Development, Community Services and Ethnic Affairs from 1987 to 1989, Minister for Community Services and Ethnic Affairs in 1989, Minister for Mines and Energy in 1989, and Minister for Northern and Regional Development for a brief time in 1989 until the Nationals were defeated in that year's election.[1]

While in the Queensland Parliament, Katter junior was a strong supporter of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, though he remained in cabinet under Mike Ahern, ultimately resigning from Cabinet along with Russell Cooper. He was on the backbench. Then appointed again to Cabinet in the traditional number two position of Mines & Energy. This was under the Bjelke-Petersen's factions restoration to power.

Federal politics[edit]

Katter did not run for re-election to state Parliament in 1992. He ran as the National candidate in his father's former seat of Kennedy at the 1993 federal election, facing his father's successor, Labor's Rob Hulls. Despite name recognition, Katter trailed Hulls for most of the night. On the eighth count, a Liberal candidate's preferences flowed overwhelmingly to Katter, allowing him to defeat Hulls by 4,000 votes.[17] He would not face another contest nearly that close for two decades.

In 1994, Katter advocated against federal privacy laws[18] that bypassed Tasmania's anti-gay laws,[19] claiming the government was "helping the spread of AIDS" and legitimizing "homosexual behavior". He also believed the laws jeopardized states' rights in Australia.[20]

Katter was re-elected with a large swing in 1996, and was re-elected almost as easily in 1998.[21] However, when he transferred to federal politics, he found himself increasingly out of sympathy with the federal Liberal and National parties on economic and social issues, with Katter being opposed to neoliberalism and social liberalism.[22] In 2001, he resigned from the National Party and easily retained his seat as an independent at the general elections of 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010, each time ending up with a percentage vote in the high sixties after preferences were distributed.[23][24][25][26]

In the aftermath of the 2010 hung federal election, Katter offered a range of views on the way forward for government. Two other former National Party MPs, both independents from rural electorates, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott[27] decided to support a Labor Government. Katter presented his 20 points document and asked the major parties to respond before deciding which party he would support.[28] As a result, he broke with Windsor and Oakeshott and supported the Liberal/National Coalition for Government. On 7 September 2010, Katter announced his support for a Liberal/National Party coalition minority government.[29]

On 5 June 2011, Katter launched a new political party, Katter's Australian Party, which he said would "unashamedly represent agriculture".[30] He made headlines after singing to his party's candidates during a meeting on 17 October 2011, saying it was his "election jingle".[31]

In the 2013 election, however, Katter faced his first serious contest since his initial run for Kennedy in 1993. He had gone into the election holding the seat with a majority of 18 percent, making it the second-safest seat in Australia. However, reportedly due to anger at his decision to back Kevin Rudd (ALP) for Prime Minister following Julia Gillard's (Prime Minister) live cattle export ban (Rudd, within weeks, reopened the live export market), Katter still suffered a primary-vote swing of over 17 points. His name heavily associated with Rudd. In the end, Katter was re-elected on Labor preferences, suffering a two-party swing of 16 points to the Liberal National party.[32][33]

In the 2016 election, Katter retained his seat of Kennedy, with an increased swing of 8.93 points toward him.[34]

On 15 August 2017 Katter announced that the Turnbull Government could not take his support for granted in the wake of the 2017 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis, which ensued over concerns that several MPs held dual citizenship and thus may be constitutionally ineligible to be in Parliament. Katter added that if one of the affected MPs, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, lost his seat, the Coalition could not count on his support for confidence and supply.[35]

In November 2018, Katter secured funds for three inland dam-irrigation schemes in North Queensland.[36]

In the 2019 election, Katter was returned to his seat of Kennedy with a swing of 2.9 points towards him, in spite of an unfavourable redistribution of his electorate.[37] In the 2022 election, he was re-elected again, and became the Father of the Australian House of Representatives following the retirement of Kevin Andrews.

Political views[edit]

Katter is known as an unabashed social conservative. His views on economic matters echo 1950s Labor policy as he opposes privatisation and economic deregulation and strongly supporting traditional Country Party (collective) statutory marketing.[citation needed] The sobriquet 'Mad Katter' was coined by his opponents to describe his nationalistic developmentalism.[38][39][40] He has a very sporadic attendance record in parliament, and by the end of 2019 had only attended 42% of votes on the floor of parliament, the lowest of any member of parliament.[41]

In 1989, while Community Services Minister in the Queensland state government, Katter opposed installing condom vending machines in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the spread of AIDS, describing the plan instead as an attempt at eugenics, or "racist genocide".[42] He is also an opponent of voter identification laws, denouncing the Coalition's proposed introduction of them in 2021 as a racist system that would disenfranchise Aboriginal communities.[43]

An opponent of the tougher gun control laws introduced in the wake of the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Katter was accused in 2001 of signing a petition promoted by the Citizens Electoral Council (CEC), an organisation that claims the Port Arthur massacre was a conspiracy. He has stated that he always and still believes there was no conspiracy.[44]

Katter has opposed enacting climate change legislation to control emissions.[45] He advocates for measures that reduce carbon footprints.[46]

Katter has championed the mandating of ethanol fuel content. He has pioneered protests against imported bananas, and constantly challenges the supermarket concentration of power with Coles and Woolworths.[47]

In 2006 Bob Katter voted against a bill which would increase the availability of abortion drugs.[48]

In November 1989, Katter claimed there were almost no homosexuals in North Queensland. He promised to walk backwards from Bourke if they represented more than 0.001 percent of the population.[49][50] Katter also said "mind you, if there are more, then I might take to walking backwards everywhere!" Katter voted against the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act, 1994 (Cth), which decriminalised homosexuality in Tasmania.[51] He does not support same-sex marriage.[52] His response to the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey result went viral, as Katter found the issue of crocodiles killing people in North Queensland more pressing than same-sex marriage.[53] In December 2017, Katter was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to oppose the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 legalising same-sex marriage in Australia.[54]

In 2017, Katter called for a "Trump-like travel ban" in Australia after a New South Welshman was arrested on terrorism charges.[55]

In 2017, Katter repeated a pledge used by the far-right organisation "Proud Boys", including that he was "a proud western chauvinist". When asked about the incident when it was publicised in 2019, Katter distanced himself from the group, saying "I don't know who this group is or anything about it".[56][57]

As of 2020, Katter described himself as belonging to the "hard left," citing his continuing membership of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.[58][9]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bob Katter, An Incredible Race of People: A Passionate History of Australia (Millers Point, New South Wales: Murdoch Books Australia, 2012).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Hon. (Bob) Robert Carl Katter". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Round About WITH PENELOPE". Sunday Mail. No. 788. Queensland, Australia. 27 May 1945. p. 7. Archived from the original on 22 December 2020. Retrieved 22 December 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Bob Katter Fact Check: never heard of Gays before 50? Archived 27 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine", QNews, January 2019.
  4. ^ Murray, Duncan (21 April 2022). "Maverick MP Bob Katter blows up over China in Q&A appearance". News.com.au. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b Nowra, Louis, "The Heart and Mind of Bob Katter Archived 28 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine", The Monthly, April 2013.
  6. ^ "Past Presidents — The University of Queensland Law Society Inc". The University of Queensland Law Society. The University of Queensland Law Society Incorporated. Archived from the original on 13 August 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Katter, Hon Robert Carl (Bob)". Former Member Biography. Queensland Parliament. Archived from the original on 13 August 2022. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  8. ^ Townsend, Ian (30 June 2004). "I am the egg man: Katter". The World Today. Australia: ABC Radio. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  9. ^ a b Katter, Bob, "Katter: almost a death a week on a construction site in Australia and you want to crucify the CFMEU? Archived 16 April 2020 at the Wayback Machine", Media Release, 31 Oct 2016.
  10. ^ Baker, Mark (6 April 2013). "Lone ranger". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 28 April 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022. One of Bob Katter's greatest passions is the plight of indigenous Australians. "I identify with them. I'm not white and I come from Cloncurry. I'm not too sure where my racial background has come from but I am not going to argue if someone calls me a blackfella. I'm not going to argue that I am not", he says.
  11. ^ a b "Palm Island Indigenous Leaders' Forum: "Dis mah lan"". Bob Katter. Katter's Australian Party. 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 21 May 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022. “We from Cloncurry call ourselves the Curry mob, we come from the Kalkadoon heritage"
  12. ^ "Ministerial Statements: Closing The Gap". Parliament of Australia. Australian Government. 14 February 2017. Archived from the original on 13 August 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022. All of my life I have been called a blackfella. I take great pride in being identified that way and have identified that way on numerous occasions. We Cloncurry people call ourselves the 'Curry mob', and there is a bit of everything in the family tree. None of us look too black and none of us look too white!
  13. ^ Reynolds, Emma (4 July 2017). "Viewers confused as Bob Katter reveals he 'identifies as a blackfella on occasion"". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2022. Asked about land title, he replied: “I identify as a blackfella on occasion and I’ll identify this time as a blackfella — we are the most land-rich people on Earth, we blackfellas in Australia, and we are not allowed to use it. We are not allowed to have a title deed..."
  14. ^ Butler, Dan (22 April 2022). "Bob Katter again claims Aboriginality on Q&A". NITV News. Archived from the original on 28 April 2022. While discussing the plight of the Murugappan family from Biloela and refugees policy more broadly, Katter referred to himself as a "Blakfulla". "I come from Cloncurry and I'm dark - I'm one of the Curry mob, you know? We made a hell of a bad mistake 150 years ago, letting you whitefellas in. I don't know that we should make the same mistake again."
  15. ^ Calcino, Chris (5 July 2017). "Bob Katter explains 'blackfella' heritage after QANDA confusion". Cairns Post. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2022. “I lived out bush with First Australians in my mining days and many other roles… mustering cattle and those sort of things,” he said. “Under the law, if you lived in an area and were accepted as part of a tribe in that area, you legally would be part of the tribe. I claim the law.” Mr Katter said he had long felt a deep identification with Aboriginal people. “I come from Cloncurry, we always refer to ourselves as ‘Curry mob’,” he said. “In that situation, I identified very strongly with my cousin-brothers.”
  16. ^ "Traeger - QLD Electorate, Candidates, Results". abc.net.au. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Division of Bowman". Federal election, 1993. Adam Carr. 13 March 1993. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994 – Sect 4". Commonwealth Consolidated Acts. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  19. ^ Tasmania at the time had the world's harshest anti-homosexuality laws. Croome, Rodney (12 April 2014). "Gay activists fought a public battle for private rights". The Mercury. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 28 November 2016.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Peake, Ross, "Row ahead: Libs back gay stance Archived 14 September 2021 at the Wayback Machine", The Canberra Times, Fri 23 Sep 1994, page 1.
  21. ^ Carr, Adam. "1998 Qld House of Representatives Results". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  22. ^ Raue, Ben (6 June 2011). "Bob Katter launches new political party". The Tally Room. Archived from the original on 2 January 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  23. ^ Carr, Adam. "2001 Qld House of Representatives Results". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  24. ^ Carr, Adam. "2004 Qld House of Representatives Results". Archived from the original on 26 August 2015.
  25. ^ Carr, Adam. "2007 Qld House of Representatives Results". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  26. ^ Adam, Carr. "2010 Qld House of Representatives Results". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  27. ^ Foley, Meraiah (25 August 2010). "Rural Lawmakers Hold Key in Australian Election". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 20 January 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  28. ^ Rodgers, Emma (3 September 2010). "'Potent' Katter's arm twisted by Rudd". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  29. ^ Saulwick, Jacob; Davis, Mark. "Katter supports Abbott". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 22 December 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  30. ^ Marszalek, Jessica (5 June 2011). "Katter's party to 'unashamedly represent agriculture'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  31. ^ "Katter puts the fun into party briefing". Herald Sun. Australian Associated Press. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  32. ^ ABC.net.au Archived 9 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Katter in clear" Archived 2 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, northweststar.com.au. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  34. ^ "Kennedy". Australian Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  35. ^ Bickers, Claire; Le Messurier, Danielle (15 August 2017). "Katter refuses to guarantee support". The Courier Mail. News Corp Australia Network. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017.
  36. ^ "Morrison spends $200m to nail down Bob Katter's support for minority government". TheGuardian.com. 8 November 2018. Archived from the original on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  37. ^ "Kennedy, QLD - AEC Tally Room". Archived from the original on 9 June 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  38. ^ Chvastek, Nicole (25 August 2010). "The Mad Katter .. and the Frankston Eviction Debacle". ABC Radio. Australia. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  39. ^ Birmingham, John (24 August 2010). "The joys and pains of a well hung parliament". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  40. ^ Lewis, Steven; Ironside, Robyn (25 August 2010). "Mad Katter denies kill threat". The Advertiser. Australia. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  41. ^ "How does Bob Katter vote on issues that matter to you?". They Vote For You. Archived from the original on 2 March 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  42. ^ Condom Decision "Racist Genocide Archived 22 December 2020 at the Wayback Machine", Strait Talking, Torres News (Thursday Island, QLD), Thu 24 Aug 1989.
  43. ^ Barton, Fraser (12 November 2021). "Bob Katter slams 'racist' voter ID laws". The New Daily. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  44. ^ "Katter accused of promoting Port Arthur massacre conspiracy theory". ABC News. Australia. 20 June 2001. Archived from the original on 19 July 2001. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  45. ^ "Katter throws crocs into climate debate". ABC News. Australia. 12 August 2009. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  46. ^ Katter's Australian Party (25 August 2011). "Another milestone for clean energy corridor". Australia. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  47. ^ Harvey, Michael (23 August 2010). "Six men who could hold the key to Australia's government". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  48. ^ "Katter to oppose abortion drug bill". ABC News. 14 February 2006. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  49. ^ Seccombe, Mike (4 March 1994). "Bottom Line For Katter". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 2. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  50. ^ Wright, Tony (24 August 2011). "No gays, Bob? Try closer to home". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  51. ^ Roberts, Greg (1 April 2000). "Katter-brained". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 42.
  52. ^ "Gay marriage ridicule 'damages youths'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 August 2011. Archived from the original on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  53. ^ "Bob Katter's Rant About Same Sex Marriage And Crocodile Attacks Is Going Viral". Triple M. 20 November 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  54. ^ "House of Representatives Hansard THURSDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2017". Archived from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  55. ^ "Bob Katter calls for Trump-like travel ban". Chronicle. 1 March 2017. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  56. ^ "Bob Katter pledges allegiance to far-right group but dismisses it as 'larrikinism'". the Guardian. 9 June 2019. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  57. ^ "Bob Katter has pledged allegiance to the far-right group Proud Boys in a YouTube video". SBS News. Archived from the original on 4 November 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  58. ^ Interview with Bob Katter: "‘Everyone tells me I’m crazy, and I actually am’: Katter" Archived 24 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine, Sky News, Feb 16, 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by Member for Flinders
1974–1992
District abolished
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Island Affairs
1983–1986
Succeeded by
Himself
Vacant
Title next held by
Anne Warner
as Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
Preceded by
Himself
Minister for Northern Development and Community Services
1986–1987
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded byas Minister for Community Services
Preceded by
Himself
Minister for Northern Development, Community Services and Ethnic Affairs
1987–1989
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded byas Minister for Ethnic Affairs Succeeded byas Minister for Northern Development
Preceded by
Himself
Minister for Community Services and Ethnic Affairs
1989
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Mines and Energy
1989
Succeeded byas Minister for Mines
Succeeded byas Minister for Energy
Preceded by Minister for Northern and Regional Development
1989
Succeeded byas Minister for Regional Development
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Kennedy
1993–present
Incumbent
Preceded by Father of the House of Representatives
2022-present
Incumbent
Father of the Parliament
2022-present