Katter could yet switch his vote
Jacob Saulwick and Mark Davis
September 8, 2010
Voters in the electorates of independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott say their decision to back Gillard could cost them their seat.
THE independent MP Bob Katter backed the Coalition yesterday afternoon – but then indicated he may retract his support in the interest of stable government.
Mr Katter broke with the other two independents to suddenly make a separate announcement. ”I will be backing the Coalition, yes,” he told reporters.
Mr Katter said he had been very disappointed by the treatment of the former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who had pleaded with him to support Labor.
Without the hat … Bob Katter announces his decision. Photo: Andrew Meares
The MP for Kennedy said there was ”enormous anger” about Mr Rudd’s axing and his own decision would have been different had he still been Labor leader.
”Kevin’s thinking and my thinking are very similar, I’m very good friends with him,” he said. The two had spent two nights together while he was ”in agony” over the decision.
However, when asked what he would do if the other independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor backed Labor, Mr Katter indicated he could switch sides in the interests of stability.
”I would have no difficulty in working with the government whatsoever and, also, I would feel a moral responsibility to support the government that is in there to provide stability and confidence in Australia.”
Mr Katter said the Coalition had done better on eight of the 20 points he had listed that could swing his vote, nominating ethanol policy and indigenous affairs and the Wild Rivers legislation in Queensland as the major differences.
He said his decision had not been tough to reach because it had just involved adding up the columns.
On issues such as broadband, the two sides were not far apart.
”There were issues like the national energy grid where the Rudd government was responsible for that and they will go down in the history books,” he said. ”But the other side agreed with it, so there was no distance between the two.”