Bob Katter, the member for Kennedy in north-west Queensland launched his new Australian Party on Friday and promises to keep Canberra's bastards honest. So is it just another publicity stunt under the guise of politics or is there enough dissatisfaction in the Queensland electorate for him to give the major parties a headache?
His main concerns are more support for farmers, legalising to limit the monopoly of Coles and Woolworths to 22.5 per cent market share each, repealing the carbon tax if it gets up, deregulating the dairy industry and others, making ethanol mandatory to reduce petrol prices, increasing customs duty on goods coming into Australia and softening the grip of Greenies on recreational fishing rules. But probably one of his most controversial aims is to give indigenous Australians formal deeds to land they hold under native title. "At present, they can't own a home, they can't open up a business - banks want a mortgage but you can't get a mortgage if you haven't got a title deed." he said.
Pauline Hanson hopes his party will succeed and said "He will come up against brick walls as I did and no doubt I think if Bob shows any promise to do well with the party, they will preference against him as they did with me." She said the major parties adopted One Nation politicies but "couldn't afford to let me go any further" and sabotaged her career.
Bob won't speculate on his chances of success but said "If you'd told me when One Nation kicked off that they would get 11 seats at the 1998 Queensland election, I would have thought you were mad" he said.
Katter admits he's short on funds and will try to recruit sitting and former MPs to build a regional support base. His first prority is to win seats in the Queensland election and depending on how that goes, to then concentrate on the next federal election in 2013.