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Bob Katter

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Preceded by  Party created
Name  Bob Katter
Preceded by  Rob Hulls
Nationality  Australian

Premier  Russell Cooper
Party  Katter's Australian Party
Preceded by  Martin Tenni
Parents  Bob Katter, Sr.
Bob Katter Bob Katter and The World

Deputy  Aidan McLindon (2011-2012) Robbie Katter (2012-present) Shane Knuth (2012-present)
Succeeded by  Thomas Gilmore (Mines) Tony McGrady (Energy)
Role  Member of the Australian House of Representatives
Spouse  Susan Mary O'Rourke (m. 1970)
Children  Rob Katter, Mary Jane Katter, Caroline Katter, Eliza Katter, Olivia Katter
Similar People  Rob Katter, Carl Katter, Shane Knuth, Aidan McLindon, Ray Hopper

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Robert Carl Katter (born 22 May 1945) is an Australian federal politician, a member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1993 for the Division of Kennedy, and the leader of Katter's Australian Party. He began his federal parliamentary career as a member of the National Party of Australia but left the party in 2001, holding the seat as an independent for ten years, when he formed his own party, which was registered in September 2011.


Bob Katter Bob Katter and Tim Costello ready to deliver The Verdict

Prior to his election to federal politics, Katter was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, from 1974-92, representing the seat of Flinders for the National Party. Katter was a minister in the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen-led National Party government, holding various portfolios between 1983-89.

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Early career and family background

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Katter was born in Cloncurry, Queensland, the son of Robert Carl Katter, the member for Kennedy from 1966-90, and his wife, Mabel. He was raised Catholic. Katter Jr. is 4th, possibly 5th generation Australian.

His father, Bob Katter Sr., ran a clothing store and a picture theatre in Cloncurry in 1942 and was a pioneer for the rights of the Indigenous community – taking down a barrier separating the whites from the blacks and giving Aboriginal station hands store credit for boots and clothes for station hand work. Bob Katter Jr. was an investor in cattle and mining interests before entering politics via the Queensland state parliament in 1974.

Katter attended the University of Queensland, where he studied law, but later dropped out without graduating. Whilst at university, Katter ran for the student union and was President of the University Law Society. He later said of his tertiary education that it was probably a good thing he didn't "intellectually prostitute" himself. He served in the Citizens Military Forces, reaching the rank of second lieutenant.

During their 1964 Australian tour, The Beatles were pelted by eggs from some unknown assailants. Katter, then a university student, later came forward and admitted his involvement, in what he explained was an "intellectual reaction against Beatlemania".

His son Robert III ("Robbie") won the seat of Mount Isa in the 2012 Queensland state election.

Political career

Katter's father was a member of the Australian Labor Party until 1957, when he left during the Labor split of that year and joined the Liberal Party. He later joined the Country Party, the forerunner of the National Party. The younger Katter was a Country Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 1974-92, representing Flinders in central Queensland. He was Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs from 1983-87, Minister for Northern Development, Community Services and Ethnic Affairs from 1987-89, 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.

While in the Queensland Parliament, Katter junior was a strong supporter of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, though he remained in cabinet under Mike Ahern and Russell Cooper after Bjelke-Petersen was ousted in a 1987 party room revolt.

Katter did not run for re-election to state Parliament in 1992 as Flinders was abolished at that election and he had decided to run for his father's former federal electorate. He faced Labor's Rob Hulls, who had succeeded his father upon retirement. 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. He would not face another contest nearly that close for two decades.

Katter was re-elected with a large swing in 1996, and was re-elected almost as easily in 1998. 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. 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 almost 70 percent of the vote after preferences were distributed.

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

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 direct Senate preferences to Labor, he suffered a primary-vote swing of over 17 points. In the end, Katter was re-elected on Labor preferences, suffering a two-party swing of 16 points to the Liberal National Party.

In the 2016 election, however, Katter retained his seat of Kennedy, with a increased swing of 8.93% towards him.

In April 2017, Triple J brought their One Night Stand to Mount Isa where Bob Katter met and had a photo taken with Lee Hartney from The Smith Street Band.

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

Political views

Katter is known as an unabashed social conservative. On economic issues, like his father, Katter retains elements of 1950s Labor policy, including opposition to privatisation and economic deregulation.

Katter is firmly in support of indigenous labour being used to build indigenous housing. In 2010 during discussion of the Native Title Amendment Bill, he stated: "Your former Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, in my presence and in the presence of the Mayor of Cairns and the Mayor of Yarrabah, made a commitment that the houses would be built by local Indigenous labour. So we had a commitment that they would be built by local Indigenous workers to a level of 30 per cent. I will tell you what the 20 per cent means—it means that we will be carrying the bricks and carrying the water and carrying lunch and doing the sweeping up afterwards, on $40,000 a year, and the whitefella fly-ins will come in on $80,000 a year and build the houses for us, because we are incompetent Murris; we are not capable of building our own houses. The problem for the government is that we built over 2,500 houses—again, do not quote me on the figures as I would have to check on them—with exclusively Indigenous local labour. If you think it was easy, it was not—it was pretty scary, as the minister, to take that decision. I took that decision on a number of houses, and they worked out well, so we took the same decision on a lot more, and then we did the whole program. So why does the government have to go back to 20 per cent? Why? Why can’t you create jobs for the people there?"

In 1996, Katter supported his National Party colleague Bob Burgess against critics after Burgess made controversial comments including a characterisation of Australian citizenship ceremonies as "dewogging". Katter described critics of Burgess as "little slanty-eyed ideologues who persecute ordinary average Australians."

Two weeks later, Katter complained that it was "nigh on impossible" to send children from his area to boarding schools "unless you're rich or unless you happen to be of Aboriginal descent". Pauline Hanson later said that Katter would be welcome to join her One Nation party if he wanted to leave the Coalition.

In 1997, Katter advocated changing the Child Support Scheme to lessen the financial maintenance obligations for non-custodial parents. He claimed there was an "anti-male bias" in the scheme, and that "in 90 per cent of cases the bloke has done nothing wrong [and] the woman was at fault".

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 a complicated approach to climate change. He has opposed enacting legislation to control emissions: "I mean, if you could imagine 20 or 30 crocodiles up there on the roof, and if all that roof was illumination, and saying that we wouldn't see anything in this room because of a few croco-roaches up there", he continued, "are you telling me seriously that the world is going to warm because there's 400 parts per million of CO2 up there?" However he advocates for measures that reduce carbon footprints. These include measures he claims "reduce carbon emissions well beyond any current carbon reducing initiatives planned by the State and Federal Government".

Katter has supported ethanol fuel subsidies, is against the importation of bananas into Australia, and wants to smash the supermarket duopoly of Coles and Woolworths.

In the aftermath of the 2010 federal election, Katter offered a range of views on the way forward for a minority government with the support of three former members of the National Party, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and himself, who were all re-elected as independent members of parliament from rural electorates. Katter stated his vote would go to "whoever gives us the right to survive". He presented a document titled 20 points and asked the major parties to respond before deciding which party he would support. The sobriquet 'Mad Katter' was coined by the media to describe Katter and his ideas.

On 7 September 2010, Katter announced his support for a Liberal/National Party coalition minority government.

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. Katter voted against the Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act, 1994/ {{{4}}} (Cth), which decriminalised homosexuality in Tasmania.

In August 2011, Katter said the prospect of same-sex marriage "deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed". The following week, his half-brother Carl, who is openly gay, spoke to the Ten Network, saying of Katter's comments, "It's hurtful, it's dangerous, it's damaging, and it's really inappropriate".


Bob Katter Wikipedia