AS THE campaign journey winds to a close in the rest of the election-fatigued nation, the battle for the hearts and minds of North Queensland continues as the big men of NQ go head-to-head on Katter's Australian Party preference deals.
Barry O’Sullivan Snr. - Senator-elect to replace the retiring Barnaby Joyce in the Senate - says "the preference deal between Bob and Kevin Rudd is rooted more in political expediency and friendship".
Bob Katter - leader of KAP and Member for Kennedy - says there is no preference deal between KAP and Kevin Rudd. "That is a false claim is subject to legal action by the KAP; and LNP advertising to that effect was withdrawn from North Qld newspapers this week."
Read on for full statements from B1 and B2:
The recent Katter/Labor coalition should come as no surprise to people in regional and rural Queensland who have watched the evolution of Bob Katter and the Katter Australia Party over the past couple of years.
The preference deal between Bob and Kevin Rudd is rooted more in political expediency and friendship than it is in philosophical ideology.
The net result of this preference deal for both the Senate and the House Representatives is that a vote for Bob and his Katter Australia Party (KAP) is a vote for Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
It is as simple as that.
The allocation of voting preferences is complex. Bob Katter has used these complexities to achieve the private objective of gaining personal power in the Australian Senate. He is particularly able to muddy the waters because there are about 46 parties vying for the votes of electors.
For example, a Senate vote for the Fishing and Recreation Party could end up with the Sex Party, or a vote for Family First could end up supporting a candidate who is in favour of gay marriage and so on.
In short, there is a great risk the value of an individual’s vote could very easily provide support to a cause that was never intended by the voter.
In this election, where the KAP/Labor deal exists, the Katter preferences either for the Senate or the House of Representatives will always end up being the equivalent of a primary vote to the ALP.
Bob Katter knows this is unpopular for many in his loyal support base.
And so it begs the question: why make the deal?
Luckily for voters, the answer is simple: Bob’s preference decision is about attaining power in the Senate.
Bob is supporting Labor with his Katter Party preferences in the lower house in exchange for the ALP preferences supporting him to try and win a seat in the upper house. This is further supported by the fact that not one poll or one credible political commentator has Bob Katter’s candidates winning a seat in the lower house anywhere. Not one.
It can be argued that Bob has convinced his lower house candidates that his granting them KAP candidacy has made them a talisman. In fact, these candidates are mere conduits of a primary vote from loyal Katter supporters that will instantly convert to being a vote for Labor.
This presents a very high risk to KAP.
Bob’s support base is arguably those good, hardworking people in the rural and regional areas of our state. These people are traditionally to the right of centre in their political views. This is where the danger presents for Katter. They are people who operate on trust and they will see this manoeuvre as a breach.
By seizing the primary votes of these essentially conservative people and transporting their votes to the ALP, Bob has shattered that trust. The question that Bob has failed to ask and answer is - what is the thread that unites KAP supporters?
The answer has three parts:
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