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Katter's Australian Party (KAP) is a political party in Australia. It was founded by Bob Katter, the independent and former Nationals MP for the seat of Kennedy, with a registration application lodged to the Australian Electoral Commission in 2011.
Katter has been re-elected under the party's label at the 2013, 2016 and 2019 federal elections. The party also won two seats at the 2012 Queensland state election which it retained at the 2015 state election. The party won an additional seat at the 2017 state election.
In June 2018, independent and former One Nation Senator for Queensland Fraser Anning joined the party, but he was expelled in October 2018 for his inflammatory rhetoric concerning immigration. In February 2020, Bob Katter handed the leadership of the party to his son Robbie Katter, a Queensland state MP.
The party's application for registration was denied by the Australian Electoral Commission on 17 August 2011, on the grounds that the intended party name ("The Australian Party") was too generic and likely to cause confusion. On 27 September 2011, Katter's Australian Party was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission. Although the party was unsuccessful in registering the shorter party name "The Australian Party" nationally, its simultaneous application to register in Queensland with the abbreviated name succeeded, despite a few public objections.
Under Queensland electoral law the party appears on the state election ballots only under its abbreviated name. To avoid ballot-box party names varying across Australian states, the KAP unsuccessfully appealed to the courts to have ballots reprinted so that the full party name and not the abbreviated one would appear on ballots for the 2012 Queensland state election.
On some of the economic issues we're called "agrarian socialists", so you'd say [we're] a bit left on that. We want family farms, not big corporate and institutional stuff. We believe in small private enterprise, which makes you anti-capitalist because then suddenly you are against big business coming in and taking over things. Then on the environmental issues and cultural issues we're super right of Stalin, or we're seen to be at least. ... I think if you go back to the old Country Party values, which takes in a bit of old Labor and the National Party, that's the best way to describe it.
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The party's policies closely mirror those of Bob Katter, including support for industry (both agricultural and manufacturing) and opposition to privatisation and deregulation. Although Katter himself is known to be a staunch social conservative, the party mostly does not actively pursue socially conservative policies, focusing mainly on economic issues. Although social conservatism is usually associated with issues such as abortion, the party does not have a position on this or most solely social policy issues as it is considered a matter of social conscience for individual party members. Many of the party's economic stances echo 1950s Labor policy, reflecting the roots of Katter's father Bob Katter Sr. in Labor.[original research?] The party's first policies announced by Katter include:
- Establish a government-owned development bank to facilitate investment into productive industries.
- Essential services such as air travel, water, electricity, gas, health services, road networks, public transport and communications should be provided by government.
- Promote the construction of new dams for irrigation and hydro electricity generation.
- Deliver more effective and efficient power transmission networks.
- Opposition to the carbon tax and emission trading schemes.
- Support for alternative energy such as ethanol and solar energy. This is to "Reduce carbon emissions well beyond any current carbon reducing initiatives planned by the State and Federal Government."
- Prevent the extraction of coal seam gas within three kilometres (2 mi) of an aquifer.
- Maintain government support for Australia's domestic ethanol industry and mandate the use of ethanol in petrol; in order to curb Australia's carbon footprint and to support native grain and sugar industries.
- Restore vital irrigation water to agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin.
- Increase bio-security and quarantine laws, in order to maintain Australia's disease free status.
- Government must ensure that all workers, especially farmers, are able to collectively bargain for their own economic interests.
- Government must stop the use of 457 visas by big business as a means to replace or undermine Australian workers and Australian award pay and conditions.
- Deliver better road and rail infrastructure to facilitate regional investment.
- No exploration or mining activity will be permitted on landholders' property without the landholder's consent.
- Personal home ownership must be made easier by government implemented policies.
- It is the responsibility of the government to encourage and protect whistle blowers as an important method of discovery of the real health and performance of the public sector; and implement regular, random, independent and external professional audits of the public service sector.
- Legislate to limit Woolworths and Coles duopoly to 22.5 per cent market share each.
- Halt any privatisation and renationalise privatised assets. "Overseas companies owning basic services will need big profits for their shareholders. You would pay for the profits with price hikes to basic services."
- Implement "orderly" marketing where industry structures undermine reasonable market power to producers[clarification needed] (as perceived currently in dairy, egg and sugar industries).
- Restore individual rights, such as "fishing freely and boiling a billy without a permit".
- It is the duty of government to ensure bank lending creates real wealth in terms of improvements of the quality of life for the average Australian.
- All government spending on goods to be on Australian products where possible.
- Ensure that any construction contracts undertaken using Australian government funds will use Australian steel.
- Every motor vehicle purchased under a government contract (arguably over 20% of Australia's motor vehicles) to be Australian-made.
- All clothing for armed forces, police and prisons to be manufactured in Australia.
- Significantly increase customs duty on products coming into Australia.
- Mandate premium shelf space on Australian supermarkets for Australian manufactured goods.
- Prevent the sale of essential assets, public or private, including agricultural land and resource assets, to foreign companies and/or sovereign entities without caveats to protect the national interest.
- Government must ensure and limit against corporate monopolisation.
2013 federal election
In the 2013 federal election, Katter's Australian Party received 1.04% of the nationwide vote in first preferences in the lower house, and 0.89% nationwide in the Senate. Its best performing state was Queensland with 3.75% of the lower-house vote and 2.94% of the Senate vote.
2016 federal election
In the 2016 federal election, Katter's Australian Party received 0.54% of the nationwide vote in first preferences in the lower house, and 0.38% nationwide in the Senate. Bob Katter retained his seat of Kennedy, with a swing of 8.93% towards him. The party's next-best finish was in the Division of Capricornia, where Laurel Carter polled 7.08 percent of the vote.
On 7 July 2016, while counting for the election was still underway and the final result uncertain, Katter announced that he would provide confidence and supply to the Turnbull Government in the event that it was reduced to minority government. It proved unnecessary, as the Coalition finished with a one-seat majority. In August 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, Katter announced that he could not guarantee confidence and supply if the government lost its majority.
The party fielded candidates at the 2012 Queensland state election. Queensland Independent MP Rob Messenger had expressed interest in joining the party, however following the merger with the Queensland Party, Messenger declared he would not join the new party as it intended to run against sitting independents at the election.
On 9 August 2011, Katter's Australian Party announced plans to merge with state Beaudesert MP Aidan McLindon's Queensland Party, with Katter's Australian Party as the surviving entity. As part of the deal, McLindon became the merged party's leader in Queensland.
On 30 October 2011, McLindon was joined by Shane Knuth, the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) member for Dalrymple. Knuth, who was from the National half of the merger, objected to what he saw as a reduced voice for regional MPs in the merged party, calling it a Liberal takeover even though the merged party was dominated by former Nationals. He was also displeased with a number of tactics adopted by the LNP's organisational wing, such as grilling potential candidates and maintaining files about Labor MPs containing compromising information.
In the 2012 Queensland state election, the party contested 76 of the 89 seats in the state legislature. Robbie Katter won Mount Isa—which is virtually coextensive with the western portion of his father's federal seat—while Knuth retained Dalrymple. McLindon was defeated in Beaudesert. Katter claimed that the Electoral Commission's decision not to print his name on the ballot cost the party 8.5% of the vote.
On 25 November 2012, the party was joined by Condamine LNP MP Ray Hopper. Like Knuth, Hopper is from the National side of the merger. As Knuth had a year earlier, Hopper claimed that the LNP had been a takeover by the old Liberal Party at the expense of the National Party, and accused the LNP of deliberately purging National influence from the party. Hopper claimed to have spoken to eight other LNP backbenchers who were considering defection. On 29 November Hopper was elected as the party's Queensland state leader.
In the 2015 Queensland state election, the party contested 11 of the 89 seats, with Knuth and Katter retaining their seats, but Hopper failed in a bid for the seat of Nanango. Due to the election's close-run result (44 Labor to 42 LNP with either needing 45), KAP was potentially in a situation to choose the government, and met with both parties and published a list of 28 demands. However, as independent MP Peter Wellington elected to support Labor on confidence and supply, this did not proceed further.
In the 2017 Queensland state election, Shane Knuth won Hill, Robbie Katter won Traeger and increased their seat numbers to 3 with Nick Dametto winning Hinchinbrook. They also became the 3rd largest party in the Queensland Parliament.
Ann Bressington, an independent (and formerly No Pokies) member of the South Australian Legislative Council, announced in October 2013 that she would sponsor registration for the party at the 2014 state election, although she did not join the party herself.
In February 2014, the Country Alliance announced that it would merge with the Victorian Branch of Katter's Australian Party for the upcoming 2014 state election, following confirmation at an extraordinary general meeting of the party. The merged parties plan to contest the election as the "Australian Country Alliance".
Katter's Australian Party has received donations from gas, firearms, mining and taxi industries.
For the 2016–2017 financial year, the ten largest disclosed donors to the party were: NIOA (firearms manufacturer) ($191,667), United Petroleum ($150,000), Eliza Nioa ($58,333), Sporting Shooters Association of Australia ($50,000), Glencore Australia ($20,000), Stephen Curley ($17,600), Taxi Owner & Driver Welfare Association ($16,145), Taxi Council of Queensland ($15,000), Firearms Dealers Association ($8,000) and Windlab ($6,000).
A 2019 report revealed that Katter's Australian Party has taken more than $808,760 from pro-gun groups during the 2011-2018 period. The party received the most disclosed pro-gun donations of all Australian political parties.
|No.||Leader||Electoral division||Start||End||Time in office||Election(s)|
|1||Bob Katter||Kennedy (QLD)
|5 June 2011||3 February 2020||8 years, 243 days||2013, 2016, 2019|
|2||Robbie Katter||Traeger (QLD)
|3 February 2020||Incumbent||349 days|
|1||Aidan McLindon||2011–2012||Beaudesert||Leader of the Queensland Party; merged with KAP in 2012. Inaugural KAP QLD leader.|
|2||Robbie Katter||2012||Mount Isa|
|3||Ray Hopper||2012–2015||Condamine||Defeated in Nanango in the 2015 state election|
|(2)||Robbie Katter||2015–present||Mount Isa (2015–2017)||Seat abolished in 2017 redistribution|
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Bob Katter, the outspoken Federal Member for Kennedy, in Queensland's north-west, had launched his own party in 2011 to promote agricultural and conservative views; Katter's Australian Party (KAP) subsequently nominated candidates for 76 of the 89 state electorates.
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