Katter's Australian Party
|Katter's Australian Party|
|Leader||Bob Katter (federal)
Robbie Katter (state; Queensland)
|House of Representatives||
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|Politics of Australia
Katter's Australian Party (KAP, AUS, also Australian) is a political party in Australia. It was formed by the Independent Federal Member of Parliament, Bob Katter, with a registration application lodged to the Australian Electoral Commission in 2011, and has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since that time, while his son Robbie is the leader in Queensland. It is only in representation of both state and federal level in Queensland. The party's current main competition is the Palmer United Party, both on a state and federal level.
The party's policies closely mirror those of Katter, including support for industry (both agricultural and manufacturing) and opposition to privatisation and deregulation.
The party's first policies announced by Katter include:
- Opposition to the carbon tax and emission trading schemes.
- Support for alternative energy such as ethanol and solar energy. This is to "Reduce carbon emissions well beyond any current carbon reducing initiatives planned by the State and Federal Government."
- Legislate to limit Woolworths and Coles duopoly to 22.5 per cent market share each.
- Marriage to remain as a union between a man and a woman in the Marriage Act 1961.
- Halt any privatisation and renationalise privatised assets. This is to prevent the situation of "...overseas companies owning basic services will need big profits for their shareholders. You would pay for the profits with price hikes to basic services"
- All government spending on goods to be on Australian products where possible.
- Ensure that any construction contracts undertaken using Australian government funds will use Australian steel.
- Prevent the extraction of coal seam gas within three kilometers of an aquifer.
- Every motor vehicle purchased under a government contract (arguably over 20% of Australia's motor vehicles) will be Australian made.
- All clothing for Armed Forces, Police, Prisons to be manufactured in Australia.
- Maintain government support for Australia's domestic ethanol industry and mandate the use of ethanol in petrol; in order to curb Australia's carbon footprint and to support native grain and sugar industries.
- Restore vital irrigation water to agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin.
- No exploration or mining activity will be permitted on landholders' property without the landholder's consent.
- Implement "orderly" marketing where industry structures undermine reasonable market power to producers (as perceived currently in dairy, egg and sugar industries).
- Significantly increase customs duty on products coming into Australia.
- Restore individual rights, such as "fishing freely and boiling a billy without a permit".
- Government must ensure that all workers, especially farmers, are able to collectively bargain for their own economic interests.
- Government must stop the use of 457 visas by big business as a means to replace or undermine Australian workers and Australian award pay and conditions.
- Mandate premium shelf space on Australian supermarkets for Australian manufactured goods.
- Promote the construction of new dams for irrigation and hydro electricity generation.
- Deliver better road and rail infrastructure to facilitate regional investment.
- Deliver more effective and efficient power transmission networks.
- Establish a government-owned development bank to facilitate investment into productive industries.
- Increase bio-security and quarantine laws, in order to maintain Australia's disease free status.
- Prevent the sale of essential assets, public or private, including agricultural land and resource assets, to foreign companies and/or sovereign entities without caveats to protect the national interest.
- Government must ensure and limit against corporate monopolisation.
- Essential services such as air travel, water, electricity, gas, health services, road networks, public transport and communications should be provided by government.
- Personal home ownership must be made easier by government implemented policies.
- It is the duty of government to ensure bank lending creates real wealth in terms of improvements of the quality of life for the average Australian.
- It the responsibility of the government encourage and protect whistle blowers as an important method of discovery of the real health and performance of the public sector; and implement regular, random, independent and external professional audits of the public service sector.
Although Katter himself is known to be a staunch social conservative, the party (mostly) does not actively pursue socially conservative policies, focusing mainly on economic issues. Although social conservatism is usually associated with issues such as abortion, the party doesn't have a position on this (or most solely social policy issues) – as it is considered a matter of social conscience for individual party members.
Many of the party's economic stances echo 1950s Labor policy, reflecting the roots of Katter's father, Bob, Sr. in Labor.
On 17 August 2011 the party's application for registration was denied by the Australian Electoral Commission, on the grounds that the intended abbreviated party name ("The Australian Party") was too generic and likely to cause confusion. On 27 September 2011, Katter's Australian Party was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission. Although, unsuccessful in registering the "The Australian Party" abbreviated party name nationally, the party's simultaneous application to register in Queensland succeed with the abbreviated name despite a few public objections. Under Queensland electoral law it is only the abbreviated party name which appears on the state election ballots. To avoid ballot-box party names varying, depending on Australian State, the KAP unsuccessfully appealed to the courts to have ballots reprinted so that the full party name and not the abbreviated party name would appear on ballots for the 2012 Queensland state election.
Queensland state politics
The party fielded candidates at the 2012 Queensland state election. Queensland Independent MP Rob Messenger had expressed interest in joining the party, however following the merger with the Queensland Party, Messenger declared he would not join the new party as it intended to run against sitting independents at the election.
On 9 August 2011, Katter's Australian Party announced plans to merge with state Beaudesert MP Aidan McLindon's Queensland Party, with Katter's Australian Party as the surviving entity. As part of the deal, McLindon became the merged party's leader in Queensland.
On 30 October 2011 McLindon was joined by Shane Knuth, the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) member for Dalrymple, who said the LNP had not been beneficial for rural and the LNP merger had been a Liberal takeover that had been "disastrous" for regional representation, with rural MPs having no say. Knuth also stated that stand-over tactics and secret LNP files on Labor MPs, that included information such as sexual behaviour, as having influenced his decision.
In the 2012 Queensland state election, the party contested 76 of the 89 seats in the state legislature, with Knuth holding Dalrymple and Rob Katter winning Mount Isa. McLindon was defeated in Beaudesert. Katter claimed that the Electoral Commission's decision not to print his name on the ballot cost the party 8.5% of the vote.
On 25 November 2012 the party was joined by Condamine LNP MP Ray Hopper, claiming that the LNP had been a takeover by the old Liberal Party at the expense of the National Party. Hopper claimed to have spoken to eight other government MPs who were considering defection. On 29 November Hopper was elected as the party's Queensland state leader.
In the 2015 Queensland state election, the party contested 11 of the 89 seats, with Knuth and Katter retaining their seats, but Hopper failed in a bid for the seat of Nanango. Due to the election's close-run result (44 Labor to 42 LNP with either needing 45), KAP was potentially in a situation to choose the government, and met with both parties and published a list of 28 demands. However, as independent MP Peter Wellington elected to support Labor on confidence and supply, this did not proceed further.
2013 federal election
In the 2013 federal election, Katter's Australian Party received 1.04% of the nationwide vote in first preferences in the lower house, and 0.89% nationwide in the Senate. Its best performing state was Queensland with 3.75% of the lower-house vote and 2.94% of the Senate vote.
Ann Bressington, an independent (and formerly No Pokies) member of the South Australian Legislative Council, announced in October 2013 that she would sponsor registration for the party at the 2014 state election, although she did not join the party herself.
In February 2014, the Country Alliance announced that it would merge with the Victorian Branch of Katter's Australian Party for the upcoming 2014 state election, following confirmation at an extraordinary general meeting of the party. The merged parties plan to contest the election as the "Australian Country Alliance".
|1||Bob Katter||2011–present||Kennedy||Party founder; Inaugural leader|
|*||Aidan McLindon||2011–2012||Beaudesert||Leader of the Queensland Party; merged with KAP in 2012|
|1||Robbie Katter||2012||Mount Isa||Inaugural leader|
|2||Raymond Hopper||2012–2015||Condamine||Failed in contesting Nanango in the 2015 state election|
|(1)||Robbie Katter||2015–present||Mount Isa|
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