Tuesday 6 September 2011

Katter set to ride the fence....this time the State parliament

Katter could hang Parliament

KATTER MATTERS: Bob Katter in Tully earlier this year. His new party could control the balance of power in Queensland. Source: The Courier-Mail

QUEENSLAND could be heading towards its own hung parliament with Bob Katter's new party poised to snare significant support at the looming state election.

A new Galaxy Poll has revealed one in four Queenslanders are prepared to vote for candidates from maverick Federal MP's Australian Party.The extraordinary result for the fledgling movement is a severe blow to the Liberal Nationals which looked likely to cruise to victory on the back of voters determined to oust the Bligh Government.

The pain for the LNP from the surging support for Mr Katter has only been compounded by leader Campbell Newman's "just vote one" declaration.Such a strategy could help the Bligh Government retain seats in some areas by splitting the conservative vote, or win seats with Labor preferences.
It comes as the first batch of supporters putting their hands up to run for the Australian Party has been unveiled.The candidates come from an array of backgrounds, including a grocer, hairdresser, electrician, real estate agent and fish-and-chip shop owner.

Mr Katter described the candidates announcement as an "historic moment" for the party.
"Up to date we have really been just a name," he said."But we are hoping and praying we can now forge ahead."

But the polling, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, shows the Australian Party's prayers may have already been answered with 23 per cent of voters saying they are likely to support it at the election, due in March.

The result was not initially reflected in the survey when voting intentions were asked of the 800 participants from across the state. However, when specifically asked whether they would back a Katter candidate, the poll found seven per cent were very likely to support them while 16 per cent said they were quite likely.

The dichotomy between the two results indicates Mr Katter and his candidates have significant work ahead to convert the flirtation with the party into solid support. However, the combined 23 per cent, which rivals Federal Labor's support in Queensland, is well above the party's own initial expectations.

If replicated at a state election, the Australian Party could achieve a result similar to the 11 seats One Nation gained in 1998 with 22 per cent of the vote. The poll will send shockwaves through the LNP, with many MPs and candidates already concerned about the party's standing in rural areas.

Support for the Australian Party is likely to be concentrated in north Queensland where the Katter brand is near omnipresent in some areas. The Australian Party candidates could not only spoil the LNP's efforts in some seats by not preferencing back to them but win seats if Labor puts them higher on the ballot paper.

Mr Katter said it was clear Queenslanders wanted Labor out but his task was to break the mentality that voters had to support the LNP.

Bob's best quotes

Bob Katter has become known the some of the more quotable quotes in recent times. Here's just a snippet of some of Bob's best.

"From all the people I am talking to they are not saying they want the LNP, they just want the other lot out," he said.

On homosexuality:
"I would walk to Bourke backwards if the gay population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent.''

On boat people:
"Stop them outside our waters, give them diesel, turn them around and send them back.''

On the Bradfield Scheme (turning north Queensland rivers inland to irrigate the interior):
"Those that oppose it are in the camp of pygmies, and that's where they should stay, because they don't know what they're talking about.''

On the return of tariffs to assist rural industry.
"There should be a 15 per cent charge on everything coming into the country.''

On the petty regulation he claims stifles rural and regional Australians:
"Can't go fishing, can't go shooting, can't go hunting, can't, I found out the other day, boil the billy.

On the carbon tax:
"If you want to deal the most terrible body blow to the economy, go down that track.''

On greenhouse emissions:
"(Greens leader Bob Brown) has the hide to say to the Australian people that it's causing massive flooding, when not a year ago .... they've been telling us that it's been causing the drought on the Murray Darling."

On his fledgling Australian Party:
"The people are crying out for something different. There are 20 to 30 per cent who refuse to vote for mainstream parties.''

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