Kingmaker: What LNP needs to give to get Katter alliance

Introducing Queensland's new Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development: Come on down Robbie Carl Ignatius Katter!

The ascension of Katter as kingmaker would come about if no party achieved a majority at the state poll.

It is one of the more interesting scenarios doing the rounds in George Street in the lead-up to the election.

The 43-year-old former North Queensland Cowboys Young Gun player, former miner, ex tent boxer, property valuer, pilot and maverick politician would emerge with a senior role in a LNP-KAP alliance.

HIGH FLYER: Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter. Picture: Cameron Laird
HIGH FLYER: Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter. Picture: Cameron Laird

The idea may not be as outlandish as it sounds because Katter's Australia Party may very well have the balance of power in a hung parliament.

Can he confirm there is an offer on the table?

Katter chooses his words carefully.

"I have heard that. I had someone mention it to me. I couldn't be any more specific than that. It would be unfair to them.

"We are open to any scenarios (that) deliver what we are after.''

While a role in a new conservative alliance was possible, the idea that he would demand the deputy premier's job was just gossip, he said.

"We're not interested in titles or positions; the primary motivation for us is the outcomes.

"We're very interested in developing Queensland. We won't back anyone unless they give some commitment to turning things around."

TOWNS ARE DYING: Robbie Katter says country towns are fighting for survival. Picture: Cameron Laird
TOWNS ARE DYING: Robbie Katter says country towns are fighting for survival. Picture: Cameron Laird

Katter represents Traeger, by far Queensland's largest electorate (406,430 sqkm) with historic towns like Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Hughenden, Mt Isa, Karumba and Normanton.

"Almost every town in my electorate is suffering a population decline. We are dying, our towns are disappearing. Pubs are closing, people are moving out.

"We are fighting for survival, and when you are fighting for survival you'll do just about anything."

A link with the LNP would benefit both parties.

"I'd have to weigh up whether that took us any closer to getting (an increase in) the ethanol mandate, to getting the Galilee Basin railway built, or overturning veg management laws.

"We are very interested in developing Queensland, and that's going to offend a lot of progressives in Brisbane and a lot of the light Greens.''

 

Adani Protest at the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.
Adani Protest at the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

 

The LNP would "have to make a choice between us and them" and deliver Galilee line for a nexus to work.

A $200m hospital at Mt Isa would also be nice.

"That's what we want. And they better suck it up and be ready to do it if they want our support. Otherwise they can shove it.

"Like I said, it's survival time for us. We're playing for keeps and we will be brutal in the way we operate with them.''

That said he would like to help stop an ALP-Greens alliance seizing power.

"If I go to a good negotiating position in government I'll (demand) a good bargain for rural and regional Queensland.

George Ah Wong and Tim Magoffin from Techserve hold up Go Galilee Basin signs.
George Ah Wong and Tim Magoffin from Techserve hold up Go Galilee Basin signs.

"And I can't do that if I am going to signal where I am going to land before I even get to the negotiating table - unless of course an offer was given beforehand.

"It's vitally important to me to keep my options open until I get to that negotiating table."

Katter's Australia Party has three active members in the Legislative Assembly, and believes it can pick up two or three more seats, possibly Cook, Townsville and Burdekin.

He sees LNP leader Deb Frecklington stuck in an awkward space.

Robbie Katter says Deb Frecklington is stuck in an akward space. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Robbie Katter says Deb Frecklington is stuck in an akward space. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

While clinging to the remnants of the conservative National Party, she was also attempting to be a "light green" Liberal to win seats in Brisbane.

He added: "So it has a schizophrenic type of approach for the LNP.''

"The scariest thing is having the Greens having any more say." That would be "diabolical" for rural and regional Queensland.

KAP had a big win this week when state and federal governments backed the CopperString project a 1028 km, high-voltage transmission line to deliver cheap electricity across the north.

"We forced them kicking and dragging and screaming to the finish line," Katter said.

"I see myself as a counterpoint to the Greens.

"We see ourselves as custodians of old country party policy in Queensland. We've got an agenda to push and we'll do it anyway we know how.''

"We don't exist as a party to push a brand. We exist as a party to promote the best policies."

 

Originally published as Kingmaker: What LNP needs to give to get Katter alliance



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