“WITH a flurry of policies and more than a few rhetorical flourishes, Katter's Australian Party says it has arrived as Queensland's third political force.” You can hear Bob’s distinctive voice trying to will truth into his words.
Another paragraph on, and we learn that yesterday was the Katter Party’s official campaign launch in Townsville.
Huh? Really? Gee, they kept that quiet! Bob Katter’s distinctive voice fades…
That’s not to say that Katter and his motley crew of conservative politicians were absent from the news yesterday. After all, James Packer donated a quarter of a million to the KAP! Still, even that factoid was almost lost in all the hullaballoo about their now-infamous homophobic television ad. Aside from a pretty impressive twitter-storm last night and again this morning, the advertisement has managed to isolate Katter’s position on civil unions and gay rights. Unsurprisingly, he's agin' it.
But let’s look at the thinking behind the ad. What was it trying to achieve?
3. It was trying to appeal to conservative values voters who may otherwise have supported Newman (in Ashgrove, where Katter’s Mob has no candidate).
In summary, the ad was trying to convince us that if we are really and truly against legalising any kind of same-sex union, the only party to go to is Katter’s Australian Party.
4. It was trying to appeal to conservative values voters in National Party heartland who would usually support the LNP.
But what’s that, I hear you say?
You’re right! Wouldn’t that be splitting the conservative vote? As reported in every newspaper in Queensland during the past six months, Katter’s Australian Party has the ability to split the conservative vote on values issues, and while the LNP policy on civil unions lines up with Katter’s policy, their leader’s personal view doesn’t. Campbell Newman continues to battle the ALP over issues of trust and credibility, and the KAP advertisement couldn’t have come at a worse time for the him and the LNP.
So here comes the fight. This morning, the Katter party came to town – to Ashgrove, to be precise – and joined forces with the Greens. *Gasp*
Surprisingly, they do have one policy in common, and it’s around Coal Seam Gas. The ALP and the LNP seem to favour digging the resources out of the ground at almost any cost. The Greens and the KAP want them left well enough alone. Their reasons are very different, but they want the same result – an immediate halt to CSG exploration. It’s worth noting that a Newspoll published in February found that CSG support in Queensland was split: one third supported it, one third opposed it, and one third were undecided. Campbell Newman blamed Anna Bligh’s government for the low support.
The LNP supports the Coal Seam Gas industry. According to the LNP website, "An LNP Government will continue to support the expansion of a sustainable CSG industry in Queensland. We recognise and welcome the huge contribution that a CSG industry will make to the State's economy, including the injection of $60 billion in capital investment, and creation of 18,000 new jobs for Queenslanders in developing an export LNG industry."
In contrast, the KAP’s website has a comprehensive statement on their CSG policy, which starts with Implement a 12 month moratorium on all proposed and new Coal Seam Gas projects and ensuring mining companies put up a “make good” bond at the beginning of the project.
I doubt it. It would take a miscalculation of biblical proportions, but you never know. On recent form, Bob Katter might just be the man to win this election for Labor.
Or I could be nuts.