The Katter’s Australian Party Short Survey had little surprises, and a similar feel to the Hanson results, with a little touch of the ‘gone off the rails’ sentiment we picked up in the Greens survey.
Respondents can be divided into 3 groups – supporters, recent haters, and those who have had an eye on Bob for a long time but are disappointed with him recently. We began as always with asking what people thought of Katter’s Australian Party and Bob Katter, and it was very clear which respondents were judging the entire party on recent events – who despatched the entire party as racist, much like the Hanson results:
- I am disgusted by its racism populism and opportunism
- He’s passionate, but a bigot and has no idea about the realities of the community
- Bunch of right wing loons, of no interest and relevance outside of Queensland
- They are idiots running on a loud mouth populist with xenophobic tendencies
- Racist filth. Far right bordering on fascist
Meanwhile those who are a bit more familiar with the party were far more nuanced:
- He seems to be a canny politician who plays to a narrow, right wing, less educated base. His party fills a need among some people who feel disenfranchised by the major parties.
- Nutcase yokels with the occasional policy I agree with because they’re protectionist and I’m a greenie so sometimes they overlap.
- On some issues they seem ok, like free fishing, Australian armed forces wearing Australian made clothing and easier home ownership, but when they seek to roll back marriage equality, making it harder to buy overseas (some items aren’t available in Australia), they make it difficult. I’d vote for them for their idea to have the government provide essential services like electricity etc, BUT their desire to take away marriage for same sex couples is a deal breaker.
- Bob Katter is a bit of a loose cannon. I support his policies regarding winding back free trade, protecting Australian industries and agriculture etc but do not support his firearms or immigration policies.
Interestingly, there were a number of comments that Bob himself is starting to ‘lose the plot’, and perhaps it was time for him to retire and hand things over to his son (Robbie Katter is a Queensland MP). Tapping an elder statesperson on the shoulder and saying ‘it’s time to retire’ is one of the hardest things in politics (think of the very ungraceful way Bronwyn Bishop was turfed out), and I’d imagine with a father to son handover it’s harder. But this sentiment was reasonably widespread, particularly among party supporters.
- Party has the right ideas, but Bob is becoming a bit of a handbrake.
- Katter has some very weird ideas. He seems like he has some sort of mental issue eg he yells in interviews and changes topics in no rational order.
- Bob Katter talks big but only really does what he has to to keep his seat. The KAP state members including his son are ok though, North Queensland needs effective advocates.
- His son Robbie Katter has a good understanding of Queensland issues.
- They need to be more aware of the needs of ALL farmers in the North and they need to speak to more at grassroots level. Bob also needs to loosen the reigns and let his son have more presence
When asked about Bob personally, people liked his hat, his passion/enthusiasm – particularly for FNQ, and his honesty. They disliked the racism, sexism, homophobia, and his efforts to allow his son-in-law’s company to import guns. ‘Eccentric’ was the most common word used to describe him.
We asked specifically about the decision to dump Fraser Anning, and most respondents agreed with that decision.
There were a lot of others, which were people commenting that they didn’t know this had happened, or wanting to say it should have happened sooner, or he shouldn’t have been let into the party in the first place. Some didn’t understand what the problem was.
There was a similar correlation of family and friends who support KAP and those who vote for KAP as we saw with Hanson supporters, lending more weight to the theory of social influence.
As far as reasons for voting for KAP – both why did people vote for them previously, and why they think others vote for them – the answers were remarkably similar to Hanson – protest voting, feeling disenfranchised, racism, protectionism, the simple solutions of populism – with a little flair of ‘because Far North Queensland’.
Thanks to all our participants. Next month were doing the first of the major parties – the Liberal Party. If you’re not already a member, sign up to the panel today.