Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
THE leader of Katter's Australian Party, the maverick north Queensland MP Bob Katter, announced on Tuesday it will run a candidate in every seat at the federal election and contest the Senate in every state except for South Australia.
However, Mr Katter scotched talk he would run for the Senate, confirming that he would recontest his seat of Kennedy.
Mr Katter appeared at a press conference with the party's Queensland leader and Liberal National Party defector Ray Hopper and the KAP national director, Aidan McLindon.
''Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely,'' Mr Katter said when asked if he planned to run in his western Queensland lower house seat of Kennedy.
He said while he had considered a run in the Senate, it had ultimately been decided he would stay in Kennedy.
Mr Hopper and Mr McLindon did not rule out any ambitions for a Senate seat, though Mr Katter made it clear South Australian hopefuls would have no chance, with KAP not running Senate candidates in the state.
He cited his close relationship with the independent senator Nick Xenophon as the reason for avoiding SA.
''We don't agree with Nick on everything but [on] the really important issues we've fought side by side, and we stick with our friends,'' Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter brushed off concerns 150 KAP candidates may not materialise after the party made a similar promise for Queensland's 89 seats in the lead up to the 2012 state election and ended up running only in 76. He blamed the ''stupidity'' of former premier Anna Bligh for the shortage of candidates, saying she called the election three months before the KAP anticipated she would, and they ran out of time.
Mr Katter was hesitant to name the federal seats he believed KAP could win but eventually singled out the electorate ''in Townsville'', currently held by the LNP, as one most likely to fall to his party .
The acting premier, Queensland LNP's Jeff Seeney, dismissed KAP as a ''minor fringe party'' just an hour after the announcement was made. KAP won two seats at the state election and now hold three after Mr Hopper defected from the LNP government to the KAP.
Mr Seeney said the people in rural and regional Queensland were ''more sensible than some media commentators give them credit for''. ''As we run up to the federal election, I don't think we can lose sight of the debacle that voting for independents and small parties has caused in Canberra.''.