Katter backing pro-gay candidate
BOB KATTER'S Australian Party threatens to implode because Mr Katter has endorsed the candidacy of a theatre director who supports gay marriage.
Mr Katter has previously been accused of putting out an ''offensive'' advertising campaign last year opposing same-sex unions.
Now he has been accused of breaking with his party faithful by endorsing Steven Bailey to run for the Senate in the ACT.
Mr Bailey, a composer and theatre director, said Mr Katter had given him his support despite the national director of the party, Aidan McLindon, having earlier called to ask him to withdraw his candidacy for one of the two Senate seats in the ACT.
The president, Max Menzel, who is understood to be in a dispute with Mr Katter, ordered Mr McLindon to make the call.
Mr Katter confirmed his support for Mr Bailey but did not respond about the alleged fracturing of his party, given he is now at odds with the party hierarchy.
''When Stephen [sic] asked me if I had any sensitivity about it I just laughed,'' Mr Katter wrote in an email. ''Stephen remains a candidate in KAP.''
The party has made a big impression because of its potential to win seats in Queensland and even a Senate seat in the state. But Mr Katter is facing an internal battle over social issues.
On one party flank there are people who the former candidate Darren Hunt describes as ''gay bashers'' and ''religious zealots'', while there are also more moderate factions, including one that last year pushed for civil unions.
Mr Hunt, who was the party's candidate for the state seat of Cairns in last year's Queensland election, resigned this week because he believed Mr Katter did not sufficiently rebuke Senate nominee Bernard Gaynor for saying that he would not let gay people teach his children.
Another candidate, Tess Corbett, withdrew her nomination recently for a federal seat in Victoria after she claimed paedophiles would be ''next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights''.