The execution of Kevin Rudd and the Coalition’s response to Bob Katter’s 20-point plan on indigenous affairs and the mining tax have prompted the North Queensland independent to back the Coalition and put Tony Abbott one vote closer to the Prime Ministership.
In a hectic press conference in Katter’s Parliament House office, with most of the Press Gallery squeezed into its confines, Katter declared he would back the Coalition but appeared to suggest he would not back motions of no-confidence in a Gillard Government without reason.
Katter insisted that he had received no concessions or policy changes from either side, but simply weighed up the respective policy positions of both parties on his 20-point list of priorities, and found the Coalition ahead on 8 points, compared to 1 for Labor. Katter reiterated that he strongly supported the Rudd Government and particularly its policies on the north west Queensland energy corridor and the national broadband network, and was deeply unhappy with the removal of Rudd, but he had made his decision based purely on assessing the parties’ respective position. Katter said he would have a “moral responsibility to provide the Government that’s in there for stability” in the event of Labor winning the support of Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.
Katter also said he “reckoned there was a mistake” in the Coalition’s costings and “they shouldn’t have been sent out of the classroom” but “it was a few noughts here or there”.
Katter repeatedly harked back to Kevin Rudd and his demise, noting that he had been meeting with Rudd when the then-Prime Minister had been initially confronted by Julia Gillard, and also emphasised the importance of indigenous issues in his decision, around matters such as housing and the Wild Rivers legislation.
Oakeshott and Windsor will hold a press conference at 3pm to announce their decision.