LNP defector considers Senate hop
Rob Katter (left) would consider a tilt at Bob Katter's electorate should his father seek a Senate seat. Photo: Melissa North
A Queensland Liberal National Party defector is considering a Senate tilt, just a month after joining Katter's Australian Party as its state leader.
Rural-based state MP Ray Hopper's Senate run is one option the party is considering ahead of this year's federal election.
Another would involve federal MP Bob Katter leaving his lower house seat of Kennedy and running for the upper house himself.
Mr Katter's son Rob Katter, a state MP who could then run in Kennedy, said his family name may help him win the electorate long held by his father.
"This is not an egotistical thing at all but it's got nothing to do with my ability; people read Katter on the ballot and by default I get all those votes," Rob Katter said.
"I'm up for anything politically just so long as it's a net gain for those issues we feel strongly about."
Rob Katter said his father would be well suited to lead the party from the Senate as it would provide a bigger platform to push for change on issues that transcended the one electorate.
But he said decisions about these scenarios were yet to be made.
Rob Katter was aware that it might be a bad look to leave his current Mt Isa state electorate.
Another option would see Mr Hopper, who defected from the LNP a little over a month ago to lead Katter's Australian Party, put up his hand for the Senate.
Rob Katter served as state leader of Katter's Australian Party until Mr Hopper jumped ship from the LNP.
Mr Hopper, who was named as state leader of Katter's Australian Party late last year, confirmed he was also considering running for the Senate.
"That's an option that we're keeping open," he told Fairfax Media on Monday.
"I'd love to go to federal parliament one day but we're just looking at that option."
Mr Hopper said no decisions had been finalised and it was simply an idea being considered.
He said he would have to resign from his state seat when a federal election was called if he decided to run for the Senate.
Mr Hopper said Katter's Australian Party might hold the balance of power in the Senate after the election.
Comment was sought from Bob Katter, who earlier on Monday said he wanted to field candidates in 70 or 80 House of Representaives seats in the eastern states and South Australia.
The party would also run candidates for the Senate in each state except South Australia because it did not want to go up against independent senator Nick Xenophon.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer, who flirted with the idea of setting up his own political party following a fallout with his beloved Liberal National Party last year, on Monday ruled out forming an alliance with Katter's Australian Party.
"I don't wish to align with or join any political party," Mr Palmer said, stressing the need to put aside petty political differences.
Bob Katter said his two meetings with Mr Palmer were amicable but the pair had difficulties over the ownership of new railways to carry coal from Queensland's resource-rich Galilee Basin.
He said the disagreement revolved around "whether the infrastructure is going to be owned by the people or owned by individuals so they have the power to screw everybody".
"Our party's position is that it's owned by the people," Mr Katter said.