The Australian Party rolls out
Free-talking MP Bob Katter has captured Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s attention and attracted a couple of rebel Queensland MPs in his efforts to set up a new Australian political party.
Federal independent MP Bob Katter is calling for candidates, volunteers and donations to get Katter’s Australian Party off the ground. But as yet, his new party has failed to garner any real support from major political players.
Opposition LeaderTony Abbott called on the maverick member for the north Queensland seat of Kennedy to ditch Katter’s Australian Party and join the Liberals.
“I think Bob would be very well-advised, rather than start a new political party, to have a look at the LNP (Liberal National Party),” Mr Abbott told Macquarie Radio.
“The LNP is a better party than the old National party that he left.”
Rebel independent Queensland MP Rob Messenger said he’d consider joining, on condition, but Mr Katter’s pledge to buy back state assets brought no love from Queensland’s Electrical Trades Union (ETU).
Mr Katter’s policies include dismantling the Coles-Woolworths monopoly, stopping the carbon tax, buying back state assets sold by the Bligh government, giving indigenous Australians formal deeds to land, and re-regulating industries such as dairy.
When Premier Anna Bligh was asked if Mr Katter might appeal to those unhappy about the government’s asset sales program, she ignored the question, saying instead that it would be a “very interesting” election now that Mr Katter had thrown his hat into the ring.
Queensland ETU secretary Peter Simpson, a long-running critic of the asset sales, was expelled from the Labor Party in March, reportedly for threatening to create his own political party.
He said he “categorically” won’t be joining Katter’s Australian Party and it doesn’t have the support of the Queensland ETU.
“Why would we?” he told AAP.
“At the end of the day we’re not into that sort of stuff at the moment, we’ve had enough problems with politics the last two years, so we’ll just sit on the sidelines for a while and let the grass grow and see what goes on.”
Meanwhile Mr Messenger said Katter’s Australian Party would have to turn back asylum seekers, ban Sharia law and boost military numbers before he considered signing on.
Fledgling Queensland Party leader Aidan McLindon said Mr Katter would be better suited coming in under his banner in Queensland and joining forces as they have a lot in common.
“If there is enough common ground that he (Bob Katter) can see, I don’t see a point in duplicating the existing vehicle in the state sense,” Mr McLindon told AAP.
Katter’s Australian Party will contest state and federal elections, based largely on agricultural issues.