Another Katter considers politics
LGBTI rights activist Carl Katter could very well become the latest member of his famous political family to follow that particular career path after it was revealed this week that he has decided to join his local Labor Party branch in Melbourne.
The 34-year-old joined his local Fitzroy branch in early September leading to rumours from other Labor members that the Australian Marriage Equality board member will be standing as an ALP candidate at next year’s Victorian state election.
Katter has undoubted political pedigree – with the Fitzroy resident the gay half-brother of federal Independent MP Bob Katter and the son of former Labor Party member and Country Party MP, Bob Katter Senior.
Last August, Katter created plenty of headlines in Australia and overseas when he made a public stand on national television against his half-brother Bob’s anti-gay views and his staunch opposition to marriage equality.
Katter told SX his decision to join the ALP had been one he was considering for many years.
“The ALP is the only major party that supports making same-sex marriage law. When it comes to social justice and the removal of discrimination in law Labor have an impeccable record,” Katter said.
“In 2008, the then-federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced that the Labor Government would go beyond the 58 pieces of discriminatory legislation found by the HREOC inquiry, and introduced legislation to remove inequalities in over 100 laws.
“When I look back over my voting years I realise that nearly all my rights as a gay man have come from the ALP.”
Though informing SX that he currently has “no plans to become a candidate”, Katter said he would be no single-issue candidate if he did decide to run later down the track.
“I have always championed better education, public transport, sustainable development, access to housing, protection of our environment, a low carbon economy and better health services,” he said.
“I am also very passionate about issues affecting our young people – from being squeezed out of the property market, to the hurdles young people deal with in finding appropriate work.”
Asked how he would reconcile his strong support for marriage equality with the continued opposition to the reform from leading Labor figures including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Katter said it was more important to focus on the fact that reforms to introduce same-sex marriage were a part of the Labor Party policy platform.
“The way I look at it is that I have a much better chance of helping the PM change her stance by becoming a part of the Labor party,” Katter said.
“I will continue to campaign for LGBTI equality – including the right to marry.
“I would like to ensure that all LGBTI issues are brought to the table and that all voices within our diverse community are heard – not just those of us who find it easy to speak up.”
With the state election scheduled to be held in late November next year, Katter said the support he had received from other LGBTI people as well as the positive reaction by the wider community for his stance on equal rights was very encouraging for the future.
“When I was growing up there were no openly gay role models in politics, well so I thought.
“Growing up among politicians I always thought that any openly gay representatives would not get a fair go – however times have changed,” he told SX.
“Over the last year or so I have received some truly amazing support from people of all walks of life from across the country. If I can highlight issues and affect change for the better, then that would be a great privilege!”