Robert Carl Katter (born 22 May 1945) is an Australian federal politician, a member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1993 for the Division of Kennedy, and the leader of Katter's Australian Party. He began his parliamentary career as a member of the National Party of Australia, but left the party in 2001 and continues to hold the seat as an independent. On 3 June 2011 Katter applied for registration of Katter's Australian Party with the Australian Electoral Commission. Katter will sit as the only federal parliamentary member of his new party when it is formally registered. Prior to his election to federal politics, Katter was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, from 1974 to 1992, representing the seat of Flinders, Queensland for the National Party. Katter was a Minister in the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen-led National Party government, holding various portfolios between 1983 and 1989.
Katter's father was a member of the Australian Labor Party until 1957, when he left during the Labor split of that year and joined the Queensland Labor Party, which later became part of the Democratic Labor Party.
He later joined the Country Party, the forerunner of the National Party.
The younger Katter was a Country Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland electoral district of Flinders from 1974 to 1992. In Queensland, he was Minister for Northern Development and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs from 1983 to 1987, Minister for Northern Development, Community Services and Ethnic Affairs from 1987 to 1989, Minister for Community Services and Ethnic Affairs in 1989, Minister for Mines and Energy in 1989, and Minister for Northern and Regional Development for a brief time in 1989 until the Nationals were defeated in that year's election. While in the Queensland Parliament, Katter junior was a strong supporter of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Katter did not run for re-election to his state seat in 1992, having decided to run for his father's former federal electorate. He faced Labor's Rob Hulls, who had succeeded his father upon retirement. Despite name recognition, Katter trailed Hulls for most of the night.
However, on the eighth count, a Liberal candidate's preferences flowed overwhelmingly to Katter, allowing him to defeat Hulls by 4,000 votes. He was handily reelected in 1996 and 1998.
When he transferred to federal politics, he found himself increasingly out of sympathy with the federal Liberal and National parties on economic and social issues. In 2001 he resigned from the National Party and easily retained his seat as an independent at the general elections of 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010, each time ending up with almost 70 percent of the vote after preferences were distributed. He presently holds the seat with an 18-point majority, making it the fourth-safest seat in Australia.
On 5 June 2011 Katter launched a new political party, Katter's Australian Party, which he said would "unashamedly represent agriculture". Katter also made headlines after singing on 17 October 2011 during a meeting to his party's candidates, saying it was his "election jingle".
November 21, 2011