Election Diary

Big Hat, Taller Tale?

katterCan anyone actually understand what Bob Katter is saying? Sure, words are always there – in proliferation. There is some faint idea of context. But usually the former overwhelms the latter to create something that more resembles verbal abstract expressionism than the noble art of rhetoric bequeathed to us by Athens and Rome.

And that’s only the start. Katter deliberately styles himself as rough and rustic, a burr under the saddle, not the product of focus groups. He’s a throwback, an anachronism, a bloke who not only might use kero heaters but kerosene lamps too. Then there are his policies — a studied and deliberate rejection of everything that has given this nation an unbroken quarter century of economic growth. In short, Bob Katter doesn’t care – or at least as far as we can tell. So why should we care about him?

Yet all the usual suspects among the nannying nongs (and others who should know better) have leapt in to denounce the Member for Kennedy after a campaign ad in which he wields a cap gun appeared online via the satirical Beetoota Advocate website.  Blissfully unaware of the multiplier effects of their free publicity, the phalanx of perpetual scolds lined up to condemn the shooting theme. Perhaps they have been overawed by the superstitious significance they attach to firearms, which parallels the “big white chief’s fire-bang sticks” lines from the most politically incorrect boys’ adventure books of a century ago.

More to the missed point, by fretting over Katter’s cap-gun grand guignol, they’re missing his true record. Last year he told The Australian, “As a young man of 18 I was handed an SLR rifle and had to give two next of kin phone numbers. I was in the 49th Battalion and we were on a full war footing with Indonesia.”

Ross Eastgate, a writer on matters military for the Townsville Bulletin, has been examining this and other claims for some time. Today he reports:

“According to Bob Katter, at age 18 he was handed a rifle and as a member of the 49th Battalion – ‘father’s battalion’ – was at the forefront of Australia’s wars with Indonesia and Vietnam. Never mind in 1963 when Robert Carl Katter was 18 Australia was not yet at war with either and he wasn’t even in the army.”

Eastgate’s report is a better catalyst for outrage than any antics for the camera with a cap gun.

  • Jody

    Time to turn in the stetson and spurs, Bob. You’re 72; isn’t it time to let the younger generation have a go? You can get together with Bronny and talk about the good old days when the west was wild and the circuit judge would come around monthly to punish transgressors.

  • mags of Queensland

    Bob Katter exemplifies what is wrong with politics today. No sensible,rational and believable policies that actually DO something. Oh no. Not from our Bob. He makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth.

    While I don’t see anything particularly wrong with his advertisement he has nothing to offer his electorate and needs to go. He is typical of all those who got into Parliament on the back of a political party and then turns on them when they don’t get their way. Just like that virulent plague, Tony Windsor.

  • [email protected]

    There is no doubt that Katter is an unmitigated twerp but, honestly, why couldn’t Turnbull have said just that instead of calling on him to apologise for his pathetic ad.?

  • en passant

    It is not the advert that is the problem, but his avatar life (that never happened) and that of his heroic ancestors (that never happened). The Mad Katter is just a wannabee military fabulist.
    People of such a dubious character should not be allowed to make laws that affect our future. Well don Christian, Ross & the Townsville Bulletin for their exposing Bobby for what he really is …

    • ian.macdougall

      Bob senior, this Bob’s father, was a senator. I met Bob senior once, and we conversed for a while. Struck me as not a bad bloke.
      But a political name gets established, so sons, daughters, cousins etc have an opportunity not available to the rest of us: sponsorship of sorts and a free ride to Parliament, with all its pay generosity, priviliges, pension generosity, perks, etc, etc… ensuring that the long-suffering taxpayers likewise have a free ride: if not straight to the cleaners, then in their general direction.
      A principle emerges. Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. The closer to the Equator a polly’s electorate is, the less responsibly he is expected to behave. Allowances are made. With generosity.

      • en passant

        Did you check the wikipedia reference you gave? I did as I wanted to check his war record, but it says there is no entry for Bob Katter, Sr.

        Yet another MacDougallism?

        • en passant

          My apologies. There is an entry that verifies the limited war service of Bob, Senior. It is just not at the url you gave.

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