Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Bob Katter discusses proposed flood levy -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: The support of another Independent, Bob Katter from the seat of Kennedy in
North Queensland, is also in doubt. He's agreed to the levy in principle, but imposed a number of

Like Tony Windsor he wants ongoing funding for victims of natural disasters. He also believes the
North Queensland victims of flooding in 2009 shouldn't be forgotten, and has called for funding for
farmers in the same region affected by heavy rainfall in 2010.

I spoke to Bob Katter in Townsville late today.

Bob Katter, will you support the Government's flood package?

BOB KATTER, INDEPENDENT MP: Um ... yeah, I think that the time has come for us to move in this
direction. And I think the government has made a right decision here. But the conditions that I'm
laying down will be very difficult, I think, for the Government to meet.

But unless they're met then I'm not going along with it.

You gotta understand that I represent North Queensland. And we might only have three quarters of a
million to a million people up here, whereas Southeast Queensland has got 3 million. But we had the
most intensive flooding in northern Australian history.

You could fly from Ingham near Townsville, all the way across to Burketown on the Territory border
in the Gulf. Except for the Great Dividing Range there was water on either side of the aeroplane.
It was scary.

I mean people were left- 700 people were stranded at Karumba with rising floodwaters. They don't
even have a helicopter. They only had little dinghies to get out.

We got no coverage. We got nothing off the Government. It was three days of bitter, vicious
fighting before we could even get a helicopter. There was no airstrip there at the time.

Now, I mean, you expect me to say 'Oh yes, we're all gonna pay money up there in North Queensland
to look after people when we were spat upon by the State and Federal Government, quite frankly, in
our period of great trial'.

But I want it to be an ongoing fund. It will be reduced in size dramatically. The tax will go down
to almost nothing, but it will now be a continuous fund, and it will be objective.

Not for the politicians to run around like Santa Claus when these things occur, and take advantage
of the situation to get themselves re-elected by hand outs and when there's no population and no
political benefit then the people get nothing. Because that's what's been happening up to date.

So we're not gonna wear that. And I don't think the other people representing regional areas will
be buying that at all.

So that's the sort of conditions that I'm laying down for it. I'm not gonna come into it unless I
get some guarantee that the people I represent are gonna get treated that way in the future.

TRACY BOWDEN: I want to be very clear here. You're saying that you will not vote for this current
Government package unless there is a guarantee of a permanent levy?

BOB KATTER: Well, let me say that you never say never in politics, right? You take as hard and as
strong a bargaining position as possible and then you've got to make your decision at the end which
way you go.

So I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

At present moment, if I had to make the decision now, unless it met those terms - three terms and
conditions I've laid down - and unless the Treasurer continues and God bless him for it, down the
pathway of having a look at some sort of Development Bank type approach in the Australian economy -
not just to prevent us from going backwards but to enable us to go forward, -they're called
development banks.

Unless we get undertakings on those four issues, then I would see it as very difficult for me to
vote for it. And I think to some degree it would be letting down the people that I represent who
were treated so shabbily in 2009 in much worse conditions - bad as they are the south east corner,
much worse it was for us.

TRACY BOWDEN: You're a Queenslander. There are many Queenslanders suffering at the moment and will
in the future because of this current flood crisis. How do you think they would feel if you're
blocking a process that might get help underway and funds underway quickly?

BOB KATTER: I think, you know, we're a Christian people. Our basic belief system comes from that -
love your neighbour and look after each other and I'm for it.

I've said right from the start that I'm for it.

But if you're saying to me that I'm going to agree to a principle here and legislation here that
will give one group of people that and deprive the other group of people of ever getting access to
that money in the future, then no, I'm not going to do that.

Why should I vote to disallow my people to get any help in the future? If the world goes on the way
it is, what happens is we get no help and the big cities get all of the help. And you know, I am
voting- I am not going to vote that my area will not get assistance when it's in trouble next time.

TRACY BOWDEN: Bob Katter, thanks for speaking to us.

BOB KATTER: God bless all the listeners, Tracy.