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23 May, 2022

Victorious Katter humbled by win

A “HUMBLED” Bob Katter has thanked the voters of the Kennedy electorate for yet another resounding victory in a federal election that saw big names fall by the wayside and Labor’s Anthony Albanese emerge as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister.

By Robyn Holmes

Mr Katter won the seat easily at 63.9 per cent two-party preferred from his closest rival, LNP’s Bryce Macdonald who picked up 36 per cent. 

In primary votes, as of Monday morning, Mr Katter received 42.1 per cent, followed by Mr Macdonald with 26.9 per cent, Labor’s Jason Brandon with 16.5 per cent, Jennifer Cox from The Greens with 6.6 per cent, United Australia Party’s Peter Campion with 4.4 per cent, and independent Jen Sackley with 3.2 per cent. 

Such was the support for Mr Katter, he managed a swing of just over 1 per cent and won all but five booths throughout the broad electorate, including increasing his vote by 4-6 per cent at the more urban booths of Bentley Park and Edmonton. 

“You must be where I am to understand how humbling this is. We work to make the world and our country a better place,” Mr Katter said. “I can't put my finger on why our vote increased, but I think people like that we take a strong definite position on issues and projects, rather than calling for studies and inquires like the major parties.” 

The result for Kennedy came quickly on Saturday night, but not so for many others around the country, leaving a question over whether Labor will reach the 76 seats it needs to govern on its own. 

Counting was continuing on Monday morning but at that stage, the cross bench featured 12 independent and minor party representatives including the six of the “Climate Challenge” backed “Teal independents” who claimed the scalp of Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. 

Mr Katter said he would be happy to work with Mr Albanese, describing him as a “builder”.

“His previous ministerial portfolio was transport. He put the first federal funding into the Hann Highway sealing, and he funded the Einasleigh bridge. “I got a lot of promises off the last Government. They didn’t deliver anything to me or the people of Australia. It will be interesting to see if this mob can deliver.” “If I could say anything to Anthony, it would be ‘don’t finish your term of three years with nothing done – don’t give excuses.” 

Although, unlike the LNP, there was no commitment by a Labor Government to pursue an alternative access from the Northern Tablelands to the coast, Mr Katter remains positive about his favoured route becoming a reality.

 “On the Kuranda Range Road, I will fight Labor's plan to widen it. That is vandalism upon our nature wonderland. “I will do everything possible to stop Labor ruining what is one of the world’s most beautiful roads with that wonderful canopy. “Trying to widen that road will damage that canopy and, in the end, they will achieved nothing – the road won’t be safer and faster. “I believe the Bridle Track will happen. It's an idea that's time has come. It will happen. “There’s already been $260 million wasted on the new bypass and flyover – they put the flyover in completely the wrong place, it should have been done at the Smithfield roundabout. “Time to stop wasting money and build the Bridle Track.” 

Mr Katter did not have much of a celebration on Saturday, instead flying home that night and working on the plane.

 “I would like to thank everyone who worked on my polling booths. A very humbling experience for me,” he said. “To my staff who worked like dogs, thank you. “To the voters of Kennedy, thank you.” 

While Mr Katter was successful, his candidate in nearby Leichhardt, Rod Jensen, failed to threaten LNP's incumbent Warren Entsch who was returned in a tight affair, winning by just under five per cent two-party preferred from Labor's Elida Faith. Mr Jensen had a swing against him of 2.6 per cent, picking up only 4,573 primary votes.

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