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CRAZY LIKE A FOX: Bob Katter’s “epic scam on Australia’s political and media elite” revealed

CraftykatterFree speech means that it’s perfectly legitimate for a debate about same-sex marriage or marriage equality to occur in the community.

We have written before that 1) we have no problem with amendments being made to the Marriage Act to reflect the reality of changes that have gone on in the community 2) that this is not the biggest issue to face the nation but that 3) it is incumbent on the advocates of change to make the case for it and persuade the community.

Persuade does not mean vilify opponents.

And we don’t accept that running an ad with semi-clothed blokes is vilification. It’s confronting in its way but it’s not inherently vilifying. It was clearly designed to gain attention and it did.

But what has gone on since the ad was run has been an attempt to smear those who oppose their point of view as homophobic. We can’t agree with that.

It’s clear enough that Bob Katter – crazy like a fox – chose images and Campbell Newman’s statements carefully to put himself at the centre of an important community debate. One that ought probably not be central to a state election campaign but that has been made so by the fact that Newman is oddly pledged to be a supporter of gay marriage while curiously opposing the one measure practically all Australians would accept, civil unions. It is Campbell Newman who has made himself vulnerable on this issue by adopting such confusing positioning.

Newman’s position on the issue is not much short of ridiculous.

Voters crave authenticity. This is why early Tony Abbott played so well. And why the frequently written-off John Howard presided for ten years in a political era not conducive to long Bradman-style innings of the kind he achieved.

It’s why early PM Gillard kinda grated, even jarringly so when there were discussions from her office about the “Real Julia” and why she’s never looked better when the feisty, proud, confident, tough street-fighter whose skills and guile took her to the nation’s top-job emerged in recent times. Hopefully she’ll keep it up, for her own sake. If she doesn’t, as the polls show, she’s in all sorts of trouble, reflected in the fact that we’ve recently seen the Opposition Leader campaigning in the the federal seat of Bendigo, in perhaps Labor’s strongest state of Victoria, where a 9.5% swing is required.

Bob Katter is about as authentic as it gets. Love him or hate him, he doesn’t change his message for different markets, he doesn’t focus group his policies or ask sleazy “strategists” what his view should be on the issues of the day. What you see is what you get, under a big Akubra hat.

And that means he will cut through the more sanitised parties – especially the occasionally ideologically confused Coalition – like the sharpest of wool shears, when he chooses to do so.

The view in the inner-city will be that all this negative inner-city media attention is proof Katter’s ad backfired.

It is a clueless view that understands little of regional and even outer-suburban Australia.

We cringed when he heard a marriage-equality advocate say on AM that Katter’s ad was “typical North Queensland country hick” material. This is likely to persuade anyone, anywhere, but especially not in North Queensland.

No doubt there will be some candidates made uncomfortable by small-l liberal journos attacking them as gay-haters but we hear that most Katter candidates have been buoyed by an overwhelming positive response from the conservative heartland they are tapping into. But it’s true no-one likes to be called a homophobe.

Although it’s also true that many – we suspect the vast majority of regional and rural – Australians are not at all comfortable with gay marriage and are troubled by conservative leaders who support it. It’s not immoral or indecent to tap into or to attempt to reflect this view.

To be honest, we’ve found it hilarious that those who scream the loudest about free speech when it comes to media regulation seem to have gone in the hardest about Katter’s exercise of it.

The ad should be banned, they say. The voice-over person should be sacked from her part-time ABC gig, they say. Bob Katter is a bigot and a homophobe, they say.

All this from supposed champions of free speech.

The most amusing aspect of all this is that the Katter party has been able to rely on the intolerance and predictable over-reaction of inner-city latte-sippers to what was, at the end of the day, their party expressing a view about same-sex marriage that was not the same as the majority inner-city view. Add in a couple of shirtless semi-nude dude pics and, hey presto, the issue explodes in a puff of outrage.

Deeming those in favour of policies that are opposed to their own as “racist” or “homophobe” or even “Hitler” is perhaps the most odious aspect of small-l liberalism in Australia today.

If Bob Katter, demonstrably as crazy as a fox, ably assisted by his hardcore campaign director Luke Shaw, could have reasonably anticipated this reaction, as he very well could have, then it appears that he – to quote one experienced senior political observer speaking to VEXNEWS today – has “pulled off one of the most epic scams on Australia’s political and media elite in living memory. They have given him a prominence in the campaign way out of proportion to the 4% statewide vote his party enjoys, they have turned what appears to be a very modest Brisbane media spend into a multi-million dollar nationwide publicity extravaganza that could well convert many of the most conservative LNP voters in the regions into Katter Australian party voters.”

This might not be a popular view inside the Beltway but it rings true to us.

Katter’s perfectly entitled to quote his political opponent’s own words. He’s also perfectly entitled to make his ad as controversial and edgy as possible to gain the most attention. We don’t support his view but we don’t denounce him as a bigot for holding it. The ad has clearly been as highly effective at raising the issue and promoting Katter’s view as it has appalled the 99% of political commentators who live inside an inner-city beltway that is just as intolerant of difference as those they condemn.

We suspect Bob Katter will be well pleased with events of the past few days, he has managed to do what very few non-major parties ever can, set the agenda in an election campaign. Whatever the results for his party on the weekend after next, in terms of the national political scene, there can be no question Bob Katter has arrived.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. At least Katter has taken away some of the grubby media from Newman.

    Posted by cona | March 13, 2012, 16:03
  2. ***Bob Katter is a bigot and a homophobe, they say***

    So you heard Bolt on 2GB this afternoon, then? If anyone can tell me why Andrew Bolt occasionally goes wobbly and wanders off the reservation into Malcolm Turnbull territory, I’d be grateful.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | March 13, 2012, 17:45
  3. Bob Katter attacks the LIBERALS for being too gay friendly?

    Hmmm…what about the other parties? Did he attack them for being too gay friendly as well? Or are the Greens and Labor somehow not as gay friendly as the LNP in Queensland? Inquiring minds want to know!

    [Bob Katter will be well pleased with events of the past few days]

    I’m sure he will, but do you think that outraged social commentators are really focused on Katter’s (frankly parochial) electoral ambitions rather than on broader issues? He’s using them (to the LNP’s disadvantage, and in an attampt to [literally] cash in on a higher primary vote), but they’re using him too.

    Posted by Zaf | March 13, 2012, 17:45
  4. ***at least Katter has taken away some of the grubby media from Newman***

    Katter’s real value is in dragging all political debate to the Right, in the same way Pauline did. The Latte Mafia denigrating him will only increase his popularity.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | March 13, 2012, 18:02
  5. Bob Katter has made sympathetic statements about the rights of workers and of unions, not just about increasing manufacturing and protection. In my book he qualifies as an old style Labor man and has my support.

    The best move Katter ever made was to get divorced from the National Party and those former colleagues of his in that Party who seems to be more like the Libs than like the Nats.

    Posted by Michael Webb | March 13, 2012, 19:47
  6. Cunning as a fox he certainly is ,and remember he is playing to the Queensland North . It is a different country up there.

    Posted by Mother | March 13, 2012, 21:26
  7. While I support Gay marriage I think that Katter’s ad is primitive but to be fair he was also pointing out that Campbell Newman support for Gay marriage is out of step with the anti Gay marriage policy of the Queensland NLP.

    I think the taking off air by the ABC of a casual radio presenter in WA (not Qld) for doing the voice over for the ad was overbearing and ridiculous. Working two jobs is not a crime and the voice over work is a professional activity for Ms S McGill.

    Who was the wanker at the ABC who took her off air and why does the ABC have to know what their employees are doing in their own time to earn extra money? This is bull shit.

    Incidentally I don’t remember Peter Couchman being talked off air when he was supporting the Save Albert Park (anti F1-GP) group in the 1990’s

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | March 14, 2012, 0:02
  8. I fully support gay marriage and any other male-male sexual relations.

    Posted by Cr.Craig | March 14, 2012, 1:33
  9. So Are we still supporting Katter Dean? Given his anti gay and all..

    Posted by Troy | March 14, 2012, 8:26
  10. Bob Katter will get my vote…he is there for the people and Australia….not the money,like the rest of the Pollies…

    Posted by An Aussie | March 14, 2012, 11:16
  11. Bob Katter will get my vote…he is there for the people and AUSTRALIA….not the money like other Pollies……….

    Posted by An Aussie | March 14, 2012, 11:20
  12. What does Bob have against me? He could have asked me to appear in the advertisement with that pretty young man.

    Posted by Princess | March 14, 2012, 13:05
  13. Rule 1: No [deleted] but don’t worry my FNQ friends I will not stop your fond pastime of sleeping with farm animals Bar Bar Bar Neigh!!

    Posted by B Katter | March 14, 2012, 22:10
  14. I agree with Vexnews that this was a vintage savvy political move.

    As a bonus for the KAP’s, it may well have cost the LNP its leader.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | March 16, 2012, 2:16
  15. Katter is much like tony windsor by his actions and will do what he can to damage to the LNP. His anti-gay marriage ad ignoring labor & greens position on this matter speaks voulmes about his personal antagonism at the LNP. Smart as fox, nope. More like a dunny rat as that’s where he belongs.

    Posted by cynic | March 16, 2012, 11:01
  16. Did not care about this issue until the gay marriage lobby began to say they had a right. A right is an obligation on everybody else to do or not to do something. Marriage is a social construct used throughout the ages to regulate sexuality, child rearing & inheritance. Not a basic human right.

    Until they began to say everybody who opposed them was some sort of evil modern day Nazi stealing their non-existent right, I did not care. I am not obliged to support their wish to be married.

    Now I am opposed.

    Posted by Mark Smith | March 16, 2012, 12:46
  17. When I was young, we used to call them poofs and lesbos and it was a dirty word, now they want to brain wash into beleaving it’s natural. In my Book nothing has changed

    Posted by Brimbank Party hack | March 16, 2012, 18:00
  18. Its a tacky ad but not homophobic thats the gay lobbys rhetoric..

    This is a family feud being argued out in the public spere..

    Posted by liberal groupie | March 16, 2012, 21:39
  19. Andrew, your analysis is spot on. In a former life I travelled all over Queensland as a union official. Anywhere north of Maryborough I was considered an southerner (ie from suburban Brisbane – not a mexican from south of the border)with alien often radical social and economic beliefs (that were considered politically moderate in Brisbane and down the coast!). Attitudes and beliefs in most of rural and regional Queensland are very conservative no matter how people there vote. What defines a Labor “lefty” in these parts isn’t your stand on social issues but by whether you are a staunch unionist dedicated to government ownership and control of institutions like the power industry, ports, railways, etc. And Bob Katter plays well on these issues as well as conservative social stances such as opposing gay marriage. Even when he was a Bjlke Petersen NP Minister shop stewards throughout the West, Centre and North of Qld knew they could take problems to him and he’d work bloody hard to fix them. Whether all this adds up to him being able to transfer his good standing to his new Party candidates remains to be seen but in the meantime that southerner Newman and his slick team from Brisbane should be nervous.

    Posted by Railway Jack | March 16, 2012, 23:00
  20. Yeah katter may not support gay marriage, at least his honest guys. Consider this, the law the gay community wants to change is at a feral level, now knowing this. What the hell do you think campbell neuman is going to do. NOTHING. It all lies for votes, do you really want to vot alp or lnp party who is firm agianst gay marriage, wake up an smell the sh#t for what it really is. Dont vote for alp and lnp, and let your vioce be heard. Everyone should vote for katter, its tge only way to shake the lnp and alp into reasonable governing

    Posted by undercover politican | March 19, 2012, 21:22
  21. Courier-Mail, March 20th: Mr Katter (junior) is on 37 per cent in Mount Isa where the LNP’s Mick Pattel is on 31 per cent. The same polling puts Mr McLindon on 36.8 per cent in Beaudesert while the LNP’s Jon Krause is on 38.1 per cent.

    The KAP believes it’s found a political niche by exploiting both lingering bitterness in the bush about the loss of the old National Party and the marginalisation of regional-based Labor voters.

    National Party stalwarts in the bush don’t relate to Campbell Newman and the free market economics of the Liberals, Mr McLindon said.

    And regional Labor Party voters feel excluded by the Labor Party’s “inner city” preoccupations such as gay marriage.

    “What we are finding is a coming together of that old-school part of the Labor Party and that old school segment of the National/Country Party under the KAP,” he said.

    The KAP is confident of winning Mount Isa and Nanango and retaining both Beaudesert and Dalrymple while its polling also puts Hinchinbrook in its grasp, with candidate Jeff Knuth at 32.7 per cent.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | March 20, 2012, 12:06


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