Katter resigns as AME Victoria Convenor
The marriage Equality activist and founder of the Victorian branch of Australian Marriage Equality (AME) has resigned as convenor of the branch, intending to continue that campaign and other issues from with the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
Carl Katter came to public attention in 2011 with his public opposition to his half-brother and federal parliamentarian Bob Katter’s opposition to marriage equality.
Katter subsequently joined AME, later establishing the Victorian branch.
“I can do more by leaving this organisation,” Katter told MCV.
“It was a great opportunity for me and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot but I want to move on and push a broader array of issues.”
Katter said he stood down as convenor last week, citing work commitments as the reason.
He joined the Fitzroy Branch of the Australian Labor Party last September but said that at present he does not intend to contest a seat at an election but does intend to become more involved, including more involvement with Labor’s LGBTI association, Rainbow Labor Network.
Katter said his involvement with AME had restricted him from being involved with other issues and that he had also resigned in part to avoid criticism further for being a member of both AME and the ALP.
Last week the East Sydney Liberals branch president Michael Tiyce tweeted: “Carl Katter needs to decide for whom he speaks, Australian Marriage Equality or Victorian Labor, he’s damaging the cause of AME being partisan.”
And earlier this month Victorian Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown, responding to Katter’s criticism of his support of the Victorian Government’s rolling back of legislation which would have prevented religious organisations from discriminating against LGBTI people and others, called Katter’s comments “cheap political shots … for the benefit of his new political career.”
Katter said his remarks about Newton-Brown were made as a “concerned citizen” not as convenor of AME Victoria and that he had made the decision to resign before Tiyce began criticising him.
“But I also realised that it would be hard to avoid an association with AME if I’m addressing other issues,” he said.
Katter said it is important as a lobbyist to avoid accusations of invested interests, such as being associated with a particular political party and was concerned that such allegations could be levelled at Alex Greenwich, who was formally national convenor of AME but was last year elected to the NSW parliament but remains an AME board member.
“Hopefully I can lead by example,” Katter said of his resignation.
New convenors for AME Victoria
Following the resignation of Carl Katter as convenor of the Victorian branch of Australian Marriage Equality, the organisation has appointed two new conveners, Tim Peppard and Christine Cooke.
Katter established the branch last year and formally resigned at a meeting last week to concentrate his energy on LGBTI human rights within the Labor Party.
Peppard said that following the federal election announcement for September 14, AME Victoria’s “number one priority” is encouraging voters to make marriage equality a major factor voting.
“It is embarrassing for Australians that our politicians are so behind other countries on the marriage equality issue,” he said.