Labor learned one thing from the defeat of Barrie Unsworth’s government all those years ago — it is not the opinions of a sensible majority that matters on election day but the militant minority who feel strongly about an issue.
Overwhelmingly there was support back then, as there is now, for severe restrictions on gun ownership and use, but normally Labor voting shooters, fearing the loss of their guns, could not get to the polling booths quickly enough to change sides.
Now I know that John Howard federally did not suffer in the same fashion after making gun ownership changes in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre but he did not have the problem of a cynical opposition pandering to the shooters vote. This time around in Queensland it looks like we might see a return to a political party seeking to gain an advantage from a militant minority.
On page one of The Australian on Thursday morning:
While the story was written in what could be called a tut-tutting way suggesting there was something wrong about connections between Bob Katter’s Australian Party and animal slaughterers, Mr Katter himself is unlikely to be upset.
He is not in the business of becoming the largest party in the state parliament and appealing to a coalition of minority interests with strongly held views will do him very nicely thank you.