Bob Katter hands political reins to son
IN a seismic shift for the Queensland political landscape, maverick MP Bob Katter will handover the reins of Katter's Australian Party to his son in a bid to rejuvenate the outfit and take it into the future.
Katter's Australian Party has entered its 10th year since Mr Katter launched it, surviving while other third-party movements have come and gone in a flash in the pan.
Son Robbie Katter will from today be making the policy, political and campaign calls for the KAP, which now boasts three state MPs and one Federal.
But far from stepping out of the limelight, the colourful politician whose career has lasted almost 50 years, 74-year-old Bob Katter says he is not giving up the fight yet.
"I've been sitting up the front of the stage coach long enough," Mr Katter said.
"I'll still have the shotgun in my lap, but I'll be sitting in the back looking at the map."
Mr Katter has been at the helm of the party since it launched in 2011, but said it was time for the young Katter to take the KAP forward.
"I'm stepping down, so he has to step up - whether he likes it or not," Mr Katter said.
Asked what prompted the change in leadership, Mr Katter pointed to the state election where KAP lead by Robbie Katter picked up three seats while Federally they failed to pick up outside Kennedy.
"I want to put on the record that I don't think our performance at the Federal election was anywhere near as good as in the state election," he said.
The veteran Kennedy MP said there will be vastly different leadership under Robbie Katter, as well as more energy and a more modern approach.
"He's a much more considered decision maker than myself. Some people think he's less confrontational, but he's more profoundly confrontation," Mr Katter said.
"I'll throw a quick hit at you, but he's likely to do infinitely more damage."
He said he would not be retiring from politics yet and would recontest Kennedy at the next election, if endorsed by party leader Robbie Katter and president Shane Paulger.
Robbie Katter said he would focus the party towards the next state election, with getting more dams built, a rail line to the Galilee Basin and rebuilding industries in regional Queensland still the top priorities.
He admitted his leadership style was different to his father's, seeking to strike a balance between credibility and grabbing people's attention.
"I'm not as upfront or aggressive, but I've got pretty good scores on the board," the younger Katter said.
"I would rather present a proposition to someone that's so strong that they would feel enticed, if not obligated, to take it up, rather than trying to force it down their throat from the start."
Robbie Katter said the leadership transition showed the party could "move beyond a figurehead".
"It speaks volumes about our longevity, our purpose and commitment to really drive things in the long term."
He said he would not rule out a run at the federal parliament one day, but it would not be any time soon.
"If I felt in a few years time that my skills and effort were better utilised at a Federal level I would do it. It has nothing to do with dynasty," Robbie Katter said.