25 Jun Labor’s election laws only favour themselves
The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s controversial reform of political donations and election spending is only the latest “un-democratic” attack by a major party on fair representation for the regions, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.
Mr Katter said the laws, which passed the Queensland Parliament last night, further cemented the abysmal status quo of major party politics – a system a large swathe of Queensland voters are actively revolting against.
Only earlier this month the Courier Mail reported YouGov polling data had found 30 per cent of Queenslanders were currently backing minor parties and independents.
Mr Katter said this trend was particularly prevalent in regional Queensland, where voters were increasingly becoming dis-engaged at best, and furious at worst, with the Brisbane-centric political process.
Speaking on the Electoral and Other Legislation (Accountability, Integrity and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2019, Mr Katter said minor parties would be the most disadvantaged.
“Someone in my position always thinks, ‘What is the government trying to achieve here?’” he said.
“There is form on both sides of the House for trying to reduce the influence of minor parties.
“I have been here about eight years now and I have consistently seen a lot of evidence to support that.
“One of the first was when the laws were changed to amend the definition of minor parties so that now you need to get 10 per cent; I will just give you a little window on what that means to someone who does not align themselves with the values of the Liberal Party or the Labor Party.
“Regardless of your value set, if you want to start a new political party you have to beat 100 years of branding, or 50 or 60 years of branding with the Liberal Party.
“If you feel there are interests that need to be represented, you have to go out in competition against them from scratch, which is an enormous undertaking.
“I do not believe for a second that this (bill) is about equity in the political process – I think it is quite the opposite.”
Mr Katter said the LNP also had form for launching against minor parties, including when under Campbell Newman the definition of “minor party status” was changed to rip the KAP of precious staffing resources.
More recently, Labor too took additional staff away from the KAP following a dispute over a Federal Parliament matter – the Premier was forced to apologise over the situation, however no staff were returned.
“The point (here) is that two major parties dominate this parliament – and not many people are happy about that,” Mr Katter said.
“I think both parties have strong points to make and a right to be here, but so do others.
“It is very, very difficult to break into that market and it is getting harder and harder.”
Mr Katter said the KAP was not deterred by Labor’s latest attack on minor parties, and was more determined than ever to fight for regional Queensland.
“The irony again is that adversity breeds determination,” he said.
“The harder you make it for us with legislation like this, the harder we are going to come back.
“You can go as far as to set our offices up in a tent in the gardens here, but we will still turn up here to challenge the parliament regardless of whether we have resources or not.”