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Please explain: Bob Katter is the new Pauline Hanson

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UPDATE: Bob Katter has come out this month (May, 2012) and admitted his party’s anti-same sex marriage ad was a mistake of ‘major proportions’. However, Katter appeared to only say it was a political mistake, resulting in a significant loss of votes at the Queensland election. He said it was the ‘crowning glory of mistakes’.

Here’s what we wrote when it was first released:

Bob Katter isn’t funny any more.

He might still wheeze-laugh at his own jokes, but so does Donald Trump. We all thought he was being, dare I say it, charmingly oddball for the past few years with the policy about campfires and a hat the size of Tasmania but really he was delivering a remarkable two-act play which culminates with the parting of the trench coat to reveal the bomb strapped to decency strapped to his chest.

He launched his first real salvo in the campaign to be awful yesterday with the homophobic Queensland campaign ad against the opposition LNP leader Campbell Newman who sort-of supports gay marriage (even though he’s promised to repeal civil unions should he win office).

The ad, which is now the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau, featured homosexuals at their most dangerous. Cuddling, one being older than the other (like the predators Bob Katter is keen on hunting in North Queensland) and with pixellated bodies. It’s a little known fact that the most perverse homosexuals often come with blurry bodies and if you see one in the wild you should back away slowly without making eye contact.

It also featured Campbell Newman folding a skirt because, nudge nudge, he’s probably a ‘faggot’ too, right?

It’s called Dog Whistle Politics – when you hint at something without saying it directly in the full knowledge that those who share your views will understand what you’re saying and react accordingly. It’s a disgusting game of political charades, hinting that gay men are pedophiles and that Campbell Newman is not a ‘real’ man because he folds skirts and supports ‘the gays’.

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The graffiti attack on Labor MP Curtis Pitt’s office last night

Think the dog whistle doesn’t work? Check out the graffiti on Labor MP Curtis Pitt’s electorate office over night. Two thirds of his electorate vote in the Federal seat of Kennedy … yup, you guessed it, held by Bob Katter.

That bigotry can be heard from two galaxies away, Bob.

Remember, Bob Katter also said the very idea of gay marriage should be ‘laughed at and ridiculed’ last year.

It’s ironic that Campbell Newman is the target of this ad campaign because he’s far from supportive of same-sex rights himself (when pressed about civil unions, he said he’d rather focus on ‘normal’ families).

It’s tough not to caricature Katter as a villain in a 10-gallon hat. Because he does have some interesting, even remarkable, policies that stick up for regional Australia and indigenous Australians in a manner that the major parties often don’t. But excusing his reprehensible remarks on the basis of some other redeeming qualities is a bit like arguing in favour of drinking bleach because at least your intestines will be white.

Believe it or not, you can be pro-regional Australia and attend a same sex marriage. Sometimes even on the same day!

Bob Katter is Pauline Hanson in drag. A gun totin’, gay smotin’ cowboy on a mission to de-queer the world. And we should all be thankful. But the pair have more in common.

When Hanson came to Federal parliament in the late 1990s she exploited an undercurrent of angst in the general population about ‘Asians’ and foreigners taking our job. She was a minority in Parliament exploiting the fear of minority across wider Australia.

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She was an expert at it and had more dog whistles than a dog walker who’s run out of leads.

Her base politics at the time frightened the major parties and dragged the level of the political debate to somewhere below ‘absurd’ and slightly above ‘unable to be salvaged’.

Katter’s willful ignorance is as stunning as it is deadly. His attitudes, like the many that kept me in fear of anyone ever finding out my sexuality as a child in regional Australia, are directly responsible for the pain and suffering of gay, lesbian and queer people right across Australia.

What is so galling about his vitriol is that he has long stumped for the plight of farmers who commit suicide due to the unarguably tough conditions on the land and then turns 90 degrees and sprays hatred on a minority whose suicide rates, particularly among young gay boys, are sky high in regional centres and well above the rest of the nation. Including farmers.

So you can safely assume Bob Katter places the lives of farmers ahead of the lives of gay people. Hell, on the league table of his concern they don’t even feature.

His own half-brother Carl, who himself is gay, called Bob on his one-man festival of dangerous ideas:

“At some point these people like Bob Katter will need to be made accountable for their incitement of such hate. I believe these so called ‘representatives’ need to go and apologise to these families that have lost their sons or daughters, brothers and sisters from suicide. Two families I know in particular are no longer families. It is harrowing for all concerned. These families will never be the same again.”

Now there’s a thought, Mr Katter.

If you want to pretend a concern for the mental health of the people in your electorate and across the nation whom your party claims to represent, you can start by extending it to everyone who lives here. You don’t get to pick and choose, mate. Do you like suicide or not?

You might think you need bullets and a gun to kill someone, Bob, but you don’t. Your ugly words will do just as nicely.

And in the meantime, let’s remember, Bob Katter isn’t a cute joke on the political scene.

Jokes are meant to be funny.

What do you think of Bob Katter the man, and his policies?

Fallout from the ad continues. The ABC has stood down a casual weekend radio presenter Suzanne McGill after it emerged she provided the voiceover. The photographer of the two men used in the ‘gay couple’ photo for the ad has said he is shocked by its political use and wants to try and have it stopped. Katter’s Australian Party has refused to stop running the ad.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, visit Headspace or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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