The big problem with Bob’s party
VOTERS in Australia have grown increasingly frustrated with the major political parties in recent years.
To see evidence of this, you only have to look at the present Federal Government, which is only in power thanks to deals with independents and the Greens after neither major party managed to attract enough votes to win outright.
This is only the second time that has happened in federal politics, since the government of Sir Robert Menzies in 1940 was returned with the support of two independents, only to lose power to John Curtin in 1941.
In this election year, it is hard to see much evidence of trust from the voters flowing back towards either Labor or the Coalition, although of the two, most opinion polls show the former is clearly more on the nose than the latter.
In such an environment, you would think a new political player such as Katter's Australian Party is well placed to become a champion of the disenfranchised, and wield major influence in the affairs of the nation.
Having grown up in Katter country in northwest Queensland, I have a bit of a soft spot for old Bob.
He has always been a bit out there, but you certainly can't say he is ever dull.
The problem with his party (apart from the odd decision to have his name in front of it) is that it has attracted the lunatic fringe, who are seemingly hell-bent on destroying any credibility the party has with mainstream Australians.
Suspended Katter's Australian Party Senate nominee Bernard Gaynor made head-lines when he said he didn't think homosexual teachers should be allowed to teach his children.
Another candidate, Tess Corbett, linked gay people with pedophiles.
Yet another candidate, Jamie Cavanough, said he would never buy halal meat - while he's trying to contest a western Sydney electorate where Muslims are not exactly few and far between.
Aside from being wrong, abysmally stupid and showing they have the level of political nous you might expect in a common garden slug, these candidates are a disaster for Katter. While we live in a free country and they have the right to their opinions, the rest of the country similarly has the right to think of them as people who should be kept as far away from public office as possible.
And with every further statement that comes from candidates such as these, Katter's Australian Party starts looking more and more like a confederacy of dunces.
That would be a shame.
The potential of Katter's Australian Party would be wasted if it simply became a haven for ultra right-wing zealots, existing merely to balance the left-wing loonies of the Greens.
It would be nice if there was a genuinely viable alternative for mainstream voters, especially after the failure of the independent MPs who have wasted their big chance holding the balance of power in federal politics the last few years.
Perhaps Clive Palmer's proposed new party which has already made waves on the Fraser Coast could fill that niche...although I'm not holding my breath.