Bob Katter, the independent member for Kennedy, has delivered a speech on same-sex marriage to the House of Representatives.
Katter’s speech was the last for the day and came on the eve of the House voting for the legislation.
Katter, 72, was elected to the House as a National Party member in 1993. Since 2001, he has won the seat as an independent. Since 2011, he has headed an eponymous party, Katter’s Australian Party.
Prior to entering federal parliament, Katter was Queensland MLA for Flinders (1974-1992). He was Minister for Development and Community Services (1983-1989) and Minister for Mines and Energy (1989) under the Bjelke-Petersen, Ahern and Cooper National Party governments.
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Hansard transcript of Bob Katter’s speech to the House of Representatives on same-sex marriage.
Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (22:06): I’m glad I made a mistake and had to come down early so that I could hear the speeches, as I know now why I do not sit here and listen to speeches or question time. I have heard a conglomeration of snivelling drivel in my life, but there is not the slightest scintilla of intellectual content in any one of tonight’s speeches.
I was rung up about this by the media. I had no idea what was going on—as usual, I was out there in the boondocks working away. He said, ‘How are you going to vote on the gay marriage bill?’ We had a little bit of an argument about the word ‘gay’; we compromised and said ‘same-sex marriage’. I said: ‘What are you ringing me up about? What are we going to vote on? ‘You can’t be serious.’ I’ve never been angry throughout this debate. I’ve found it extremely humorous, I’ve got to say. I said, ‘Listen, mate, I don’t know what it’s like down south, but five per cent of the population of Australia lives up here in North Queensland, and I don’t think it’s a great deal different to the rest of Australia, and no-one seems to get married up here. I can’t remember the last time I found a couple getting married. So, mate, we can’t get the heteros to marry—you’ve got absolutely no hope of getting that other mob to marry. But thanks for your call.’ I thought it was funny.
Whilst you people are all piously holding your hand over your hearts and saying, ‘This is the best thing since Burke invented freedom and democracy,’ down in the pub, in the real world, where I live and other people live, I walked into the pub and said, ‘Bobby, I’m going bush, mate, before they make it compulsory,’ and everyone roared laughing. But you don’t live in that world. You don’t live in that world where real people live. You live down here, where you listen to this incredible concoction of drivel.
Mr Champion: I grew up in the country.
Mr KATTER: Well, you must’ve forgotten where you come from, mate. Let me continue. People accuse me of being anti-homosexual. You could read my book—which I might add is only $29 at all best-selling bookshops—An Incredible Race of People: a passionatehistory of Australia, which was the bestselling non-fiction work in the year it came out. I thank the Murdoch press—the only time I have ever thanked the Murdoch press—for publishing it. The head of COSBOA in Australia said: ‘I always had you tagged as a redneck. The part of your book I loved most was about that homosexual friend of yours. It was very humorous.’ I couldn’t leave that out of the history of Australia, because we are a fun people. Have we lost our sense of humour completely in this country? I thought his humour deserved to be put in the history of Australia.
While you were down here congratulating yourself on your popularity and winning the vote, I was at the coalface trying to get some votes up in the state election campaign. As a party—and I am not particularly proud of this—we started out our life with an advertisement, which was a most unpleasant advertisement. I agreed to it, so I will take the blame, along with everyone else. It established us as a very anti-homosexual party. There was no doubt about that. It was a first-time-out party—they took our name off us—but exit polling indicated that our vote was effectively 20.5 per cent of the population of Queensland.
Coming back to this election: while you people were all running around advocating a ‘yes’ vote, the first polling booth came in in Queensland. It is the biggest polling booth in the state electorate. I was handing out how-to-vote cards. When the vote came in—and while I would like to attribute it to myself, I really don’t think I had a great deal to do with it; this is a booth which is almost always won by the ALP—we got 720 votes, the ALP got 320 votes and the Liberals got 120 votes. I said, ‘Would you please go back and get the correct figures,’ because they were staggering. When I looked at the figures in all the electorates we ran in, they were between 19 and 25 per cent—bracketed the four parties. One Nation and KP, where KP was running, were continuously achieving many more votes than the majors. But the way the preferences fall isn’t always the way we want them to fall. The Labor Party in Queensland got one of its lowest votes since 1915. Ooh! That’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?
You might say, ‘The majority rules and the majority has it right, because this is a democracy.’ I think it was back in year 2007 or 2011—I can’t remember—when a bloke called Barabbas ran, and jeez he got a good vote! I can’t help but point out the abolition of slavery! We won it on a trick. We Christians won it on a trick. It was the only way we could get the abolition of slavery through the parliament. As the writer of the book on liberty said: the tyranny of the majority in a democracy doesn’t deliver justice, truth or rightness; it delivers the majority, which may not necessarily be very just.
The people advocating this proposition tonight, the LGBTIs, have maybe 60 years on their side. I have 3.5 million years of genetic programming on my side, because we human beings, they tell us, have been around for 3.5 million years. One thing that is absolutely certain is that we’ve all developed from heterosexual couples. That is one thing we know absolutely—up until the last 40 years, anyway. So, genetically, we are programmed that way. If you want to make a young lad between the age of nine or 10 and 15 go to school wearing a dress, you’ll seriously mess with his head. If you are looking for reasons why, there are distinguishing factors of the incredible race of people, as I call us in my book—and I think we are. We always get there in the end, but, jeez, we run off the rails badly at times. If you analyse why this country continuously has the highest male juvenile suicide rates in the world—why is that?—there is something going wrong here. We have an extraordinary incidence of homosexual behaviour in Australia compared with other nations, and I think the people who have been speaking for this bill would agree with me on that.
The speaker before last said, ‘Oh, it won’t be held against you. There’ll be no discrimination against people exercising their right to have a view on this conduct.’ That’s what he said. Well, go and ask the doctors who don’t want to do abortions in hospitals how well they’re travelling—those that you can find who would speak up on this issue. The Bishop of Tasmania was criminally prosecuted for saying, ‘It’s wrong to do that.’ Well, doesn’t he have a right to a moral position? I’m not going around advocating that people who advocate homosexual behaviour should be put in jail, but the opposition is advocating the opposite. The intolerance there is magnificent! I was in Sydney soon after my little party ran in that election—in which, as I said, we had an advertisement which I’m not particularly proud of—and a bloke in a flash, top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz came up with such speed that I actually pushed my grandchild onto the pavement and jumped myself, and then he screamed abuse. At another age and in another time and another place, I would have taken him out of the car and dealt with him as he should be dealt with for screaming obscenities in front of little children. But that’s the ‘tolerance’ of the people who oppose us in this debate: they try and throw the Bishop of Tasmania in jail; they scream abuse at us; they campaign against us. But that’s all right. They can do that.
I didn’t know a lot about this, and I was asked to speak. We addressed a meeting of about a thousand people in Brisbane. And, not knowing a great deal about it, I spoke about Christianity and the contribution that Christianity had made to the history of the world, from the abolition of communism, which killed more people than any other ism in human history, to the abolition of slavery, to the civilisation of the Roman empire. I spoke about all those things.
I listened in horror to the story of the two young mothers. The first one started off by saying: ‘My son told me that he had to go to school tomorrow in a dress, and I said my boys will never, ever go in public in a dress. I rang up the headmaster of the school, and he more or less told me, “It’s the orders of the education department, and you’ll send your kid to school in a dress.”‘ Then the second lady got up and she said, ‘My son was told not only that he had to go to school in a dress’—that’s messing with young people’s heads on a major scale here—’but also that in his head he had to become a woman for the day.’ Throughout history, in the range and breadth of human history, there is no precedent for this sort of rubbish taking place. Do we have rights over our children? Do you think seriously that the LGBT group are going to stop here? It may be funny to yell out in a pub, ‘I’m going bush before it becomes compulsory,’ but it’s not quite so funny.
You talk about equality. They wanted equality in the giving of blood. They said, ‘We as homosexuals have a right to give blood,’ so they did, and I think 72 children were injected with AIDS from the blood that was given. It was hushed up. It was amazing to me that it never got any publicity at all. I actually had to ring up to verify whether the newspaper report I’d read was correct. There were 724 AIDS cases in this country, and no-one ever brought up the fact all of those AIDS cases, apart from the poor little children who got it through blood transfusion—whatever figure it was—were either intravenous drug users or men participating in homosexual behaviour. There were only two out of 724 cases that claim they weren’t, and the report noted that they were living with an at-risk person—in other words, a homosexual person. So there was no such thing as AIDS in this country except within that narrow group of intravenous drug users and people participating in that sort of behaviour.
I watched on television last night a murder case involving two people of that persuasion. When I came to the office today my chief of staff, who, I might add, voted yes, said, ‘You’d better write’—so and so—’a card or something.’ I said, ‘What’s that all about?’ ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘the son got murdered. He was in a homosexual relationship.’ We all know about the Versace case. This was another case. There’s no doubt there is a DNA thing there, and some people can handle it but a lot of people can’t. And there is a very, very ugly side to this, where the curtain comes down and we’re not allowed to talk about it.
Mr Deputy Speaker, there is an ultimate statement upon a race of people, and that is that they simply vanish from the gene pool. If you take out my cousin-brothers, the First Australians, and if you take out the migrant population in Australia—recent migrants—then we have the lowest birthrate on earth. We are a vanishing race. Bob Birrell, the demographer from Melbourne, wrote an article in which he said that the current population of Australia is 22 million and within 100 years the population of Australia will be 7,000. I thought, ‘This is ridiculous!’ I went down to check it in the library. He said that when 20 Australians die they’re replaced by only 17 people, and if that happened five times over a century then we would go from 21 million or 22 million people—whatever it was at the time—down to seven million people.
Mr Pyne: Bobby, this is rubbish.
Mr KATTER: I don’t know; you might be a member of the vanishing race. You’d better shut up because you will be shortly if I lose my temper. I finally conclude on this—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Coulton): Order! The member’s time has expired. Pursuant to resolution—
Mr Pyne: The ‘vanishing race’ thing is rubbish!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leader of the House, I’ll just finish up here, if that’s okay. Pursuant to the resolution agreed to earlier today, the House stands adjourned until 9.30 am tomorrow.
House adjourned at 10:22pm