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A torrid affair?

By David Dawson - posted Thursday, 1 June 2006

Rogue independent Federal MP Bob Katter was reputed to have been courting a new mistress, Family First, while at the same time flirting with his old flame, the Nationals, who are now having an affair with the Liberals, who made overtures towards getting married - despite the steadfast disapproval of their federal parents.

Sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it? The Bold and the - well, Beautiful isn’t quite the word, though Bob Katter’s shiny white hairdo most certainly deserves an honourable mention.

Most commonly labelled a maverick, Katter has probably been on the receiving end of more criticism than half of the Liberal Party combined, and now he’s doing his utmost to round up a party of his own.


(Well, perhaps not as much criticism as half the Liberal Party, so maybe let’s say half the Democrats instead. Nobody seems to pay them much attention at all any more, though in some ways that’s probably a good thing.)

With the Liberals and Nationals having seriously considered a merger, Bob Katter has leapt into action and has openly commented he is doing his best to round up disaffected Nationals, as well as Independents and Family First candidates, to form a new party in reaction to the possible formation of the New Liberals.

The former National MP has also made it clear he is attempting to head hunt one of the Nationals newest and possibly most outspoken recruits, Senator Barnaby Joyce.

Echoes from the past come to mind. Wasn’t Bob Katter once a National just like Barnaby? Aren’t they both country lads - keen on farming, not so keen on Liberal standover tactics?

Joyce and Katter thrashed it out on Lateline in August, with the Federal Government’s proposed sale of Telstra fuelling a great deal of finger pointing.

Amid the aforementioned finger pointing, Katter still managed to point out the sale of state-owned assets had ultimately resulted in a loss of services to the bush - a point conceded by Joyce.


Neither wanted the sale of Telstra, yet Joyce found himself in a position where he was supporting the party line - with a reasonably valid argument that he was hoping to squeeze more money out of the Federal Government for bush services through what he believed was an inevitable sale.

Effectively Joyce’s argument was that the Liberals were forcing Telstra’s sale, it was going to happen, so we had best get what we could out of it.

This argument and Barnaby Joyce’s recent comments regarding the proposed merger point to a less than cosy relationship between Mr Joyce and the National Party’s closest ally.

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About the Author

David Dawson is an independent journalist based in the Darling Downs, who covers issues relating to politics and local government.

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