Same-sex marriage off agenda at Katter party conference
- In an extended interview with Fairfax media, Bob Katter weighs in on the government's mining tax and his party's prospects at the federal election. View the full interview here.
Independent MP Bob Katter says there is ''no way, Jose'' that same-sex marriage will be discussed at the Katter Australian Party's national executive meeting on Friday.
The fiery Queenslander threatened to walk out of a Fairfax Media interview after the issue of internal party divisions on same-sex marriage was raised.
''We don't think about it. We don't discuss it. You're preoccupied with it. You have a problem with it. We don't. It's not on our agenda,'' he said.
Sources in the Katter Australian Party have told Fairfax Media of anger over Mr Katter's decision to back the party's ACT Senate candidate, Steven Bailey, a supporter of gay marriage. One source has warned the party could ''implode'' over the division.
Pressed on his endorsement of Mr Bailey, Mr Katter said ''We don't talk about this'', but also sought to explain his position.
''Steven said he's in a party and he abides by the policy of that party. Now that's perfectly clear that he is going to abide by the policy of that party. He reserves his right as any person with a conscience will do to argue if he disagrees with some plank of the party, he's got his right to do that,'' Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter's endorsement of a pro-gay marriage candidate had angered some within the party who thought he had abandoned his commitment to family values.
The party's platform states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The former national secretary, Bernard Gaynor, said last week that ''numerous members'' of Katter's Australian Party had contacted him saying they had resigned because of Mr Bailey's appointment.
''Bob [Katter] has been unwilling to stand by the party's values,'' he said. ''I have always known Bob to be violently opposed to gay marriage.''
Mr Gaynor was suspended from the party last month after he tweeted that he would not let gay people teach his children.
Another candidate, Tess Corbett, withdrew her nomination recently for the federal seat of Wannon in Victoria after she claimed that paedophiles would be '''next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights''.
Also in the interview, Mr Katter signalled that he was softening in his opposition to the government's troubled mining tax.
He said that while he was ''tenaciously opposed'' to the super profits tax he was ''beginning to weaken a bit'' and would push for changes to increase pressure on foreign-owned mining companies provided local operators were spared the full burden of the tax.
''There is an argument for the tax there's no doubt about that,'' he said.
He stated that from the outset he had grave doubts about the MRRT's ability to raise revenue and that he still remained cynical about its effectiveness on foreign operators. ''I'm a miner, that's what I've been all of my life and that's what I'll die being,'' he said.
Asked if he would support moves to reconsider the legislation in Parliament, he was categorical: ''We most certainly will be endeavouring to change that legislation so that the new miners get a fair go – and not a golden handshake for the old miners and the rough end of the pineapple for the new miners who are all Australian.''
with Jonathan Swan