When the Port Arthur massacre ended with 35 dead and then PM John Howard announcing tougher gun laws, one of the loudest opponents of the idea was Queensland MP Robert “Bob” Katter Jr.
Katter, then a Nationals MP, resigned from the Coalition in 2001 and has been an independent MP in the far north Queensland seat of Kennedy ever since. He’s known as “the man in the hat” and at times the “Mad Katter”.
Katter, 71, who once claimed there were no gay people in Queensland, has been in politics for more than 40 years, initially as a state MP backing then premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. He shifted to Canberra in 1993. Prior to politics, his main claim to fame was throwing eggs at the Beatles during their 1964 tour.
But today Katter finds himself under attack from all sides of politics for an campaign advertisement he released on YouTube on Wednesday, just days after the Orlando shooter killed 49 people in a gay nightclub.
In it, Katter appears to shoot dead two political rivals dressed in Liberal-National Party (LNP) and ALP T-shirts. While you don’t see him pulling the trigger, he’s blowing smoke from a revolver like someone in a Sam Peckinpah movie, followed by a large grin, before the camera rises up to show two bodies lying in the outback near an “Australia for sale” sign.
Katter says the campaign ad is “screamingly funny”. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just part of the “political correctness brigade”.
And this morning, the septuagenarian seeking to represent voters for three more years in the federal parliament told a stunned David Koch that he had “no idea” about the worst gun massacre in US history because he doesn’t watch TV or read newspapers.
“I don’t know what is going on in the media. I don’t watch television,” Katter said.
If he turns on the TV it’s to watch a movie, he told Koch, adding “not that I do” for good measure.
And Koch was “stupid” for not getting it, the MP said.
“Comic and humour is not in your pantheon. You’re on the side of the Spanish Inquisition,” Katter told Koch.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Katter should withdraw the campaign ad and apologise, while Queensland LNP senator Barry O’Sullivan said it was probably time for the MP to step down.
“Bob’s done some crazy things over the years, but all of that pales into insignificance when he starts to promote the use of violence to murder unarmed political opponents and then declares his defence as he was having a bit of fun,” he said.
Labor senator Penny Wong said she was “uncomfortable” with any political ads that make fun of violence.
Katter has a gay half-brother, Carl, who’s standing as the ALP candidate in Higgins, in Victoria. He said: “It’s disgusting and I think a lot of people, everyone I’ve spoken to, finds it just disgusting”.
Here’s the campaign so you can decide for yourself.
Perhaps the most wicked campaign ad for 2016? pic.twitter.com/N26KL3PynF
— Hon Bob Katter MP (@RealBobKatter) June 15, 2016
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