Australian House of Representatives Division
|Area||567,377 km2 (219,065.5 sq mi)|
The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. It is named after Edmund Kennedy, an explorer in the area where the division is located in Queensland.
The member since 1993 is Bob Katter Jr., the leader of Katter's Australian Party. He was previously elected as a member of the National Party, but became an independent in 2001 before forming his own party in 2011.
Geographically, the electorate is rural. It takes in the Pacific coast of Queensland between Cairns and Townsville, including a small portion of Cairns itself, before sweeping westward to take in most of Queensland's northern outback—a large, increasingly sparsely populated area stretching west to the border with the Northern Territory. The largest population centre in the electorate is the city of Mount Isa, in its far west. Until 1949, the electorate was even larger, encompassing most of the state north of Townsville, becoming still larger when it absorbed Cairns in 1934. However, much of its northern portion, including the Cairns area, became the Division of Leichhardt in 1949.
Kennedy was held by the Australian Labor Party for most of the first half of the 20th century, and was one of the few country seats where Labor consistently did well. From Federation until 1966, Labor held it for all but two terms. However, since 1966 it has been held by the conservative Katter family—Bob Sr. and his son, Bob Jr.—for all but one term. It has long since shaken off its Labor past, and is now considered one of the most conservative electorates in Australia. A few Labor pockets still exist in Mount Isa, which was represented by Labor at the state level as late as 2012, as well as around Cairns and Townsville. However, they are no match for the heavily conservative bent of the rest of the seat.
Besides the Katters, other prominent members include Charles McDonald, the first Labor Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, and Bill Riordan, a minister in the Chifley government.
Darby Riordan held the seat from 1929 until his death in 1936. His nephew, Bill, won the seat at the ensuing by-election and held it until his retirement in 1966. Bob Katter Sr. won it in the 1966 Coalition landslide, holding it until 1990. His son and current member, Bob Jr. defeated his father's successor, Rob Hulls, in 1993. Hulls would later become Deputy Premier of Victoria.
At the 2013 election, sitting member Bob Jr. faced his first serious contest in two decades. He'd gone into the election holding Kennedy with a margin of 18 per cent, making Kennedy the second-safest seat in Australia. However, Liberal National candidate Noeline Ikin was well ahead on the primary vote by 10,000 votes. Katter narrowly pulled through and won another term on Labor preferences. However, he suffered a swing of 17 per cent, reducing his majority to only 2.19 per cent.
Katter did not however face a rematch against Ikin at the 2016 election due to her having a brain tumour which forced her out of the election. (The tumour ultimately claimed Ikin's life in 2017.) At that election, Katter picked up a swing of almost nine per cent, making it a safe seat once again.
|Labor||30 March 1901 –
13 November 1925
|Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Flinders. Served as Speaker during the Fisher and Hughes Governments. Died in office the day before the 1925 federal election|
|Nationalist||14 November 1925 –
12 October 1929
|Labor||12 October 1929 –
15 October 1936
|Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Burke. Died in office. Nephew was Bill Riordan|
|Labor||12 December 1936 –
31 October 1966
|Served as minister under Chifley. Retired. Uncle was Darby Riordan|
|Bob Katter Sr.
|Country||26 November 1966 –
2 May 1975
|Served as minister under McMahon. Retired. Son is Bob Katter Jr.|
|National Country||2 May 1975 –|
16 October 1982
|Nationals||16 October 1982 –|
19 February 1990
|Labor||24 March 1990 –
13 March 1993
|Lost seat. Later elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Niddrie in 1996|
|Bob Katter Jr.
|Nationals||13 March 1993 –
|Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Flinders. Incumbent. Father was Bob Katter Sr.|
5 June 2011
|Katter's Australian||5 June 2011 –|
|Katter's Australian||Bob Katter||37,665||40.96||+2.59|
|Liberal National||Frank Beveridge||25,264||27.48||−5.11|
|United Australia||Sue Bertuch||6,124||6.66||+6.66|
|Conservative National||Ian Hackwell||2,532||2.75||+2.75|
|Total formal votes||91,948||95.84||−0.17|
|Liberal National||Frank Beveridge||59,319||64.51||+7.77|
|Katter's Australian||Bob Katter||58,231||63.33||+2.33|
|Liberal National||Frank Beveridge||33,717||36.67||−2.33|
|Katter's Australian hold||Swing||+2.33|
- Kennedy, QLD, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.