The front page of yesterday’s conservative-leaning broadsheet, “The Australian” went all out in an assault on Bob Katter’s Australian Party in the first half of an article which ran over two pages. In order to sway reader opinion against Katter, they featured a picture of Rob Nioa and his wife posing with a “rare scimitar horned oryx”, an African antelope which is extinct in its native range, but conserved and bred in captive populations on hunter-managed game ranches in Australia and the USA. (In other words, hunters have saved this species for future generations.) The headline read, “Cowboys calling the shots for Katter party”.
Now it’s never been a secret that Rob Nioa is Bob Katter’s son-in-law and that Nioa’s business, named Nioa, is a financial and practical supporter of the Australian Party, in the same way that many shooting businesses and individuals are, but this splash on the front page of “the Oz” makes it appear as though it’s a hard-hitting exposé that reveals some form of undesirable conduct.
Interestingly enough, the tone of the article turns the corner in the last third of the text, with some rationale for the support Katter is receiving from shooting-based and other organisations.
With the distinct possibility that Katter’s popularity and common-sense policies on limiting Coles’ and Woolworths’ retail duopoly, mining access to productive farmland and return of freehold title to Aboriginal native title occupiers strikes a chord with the electorate, the Australian Party is poised to take ten or more seats at the next Queensland election, thereby holding a controlling hand on the state tiller.
With candidates and support from such non-traditional areas as the union movement, Aboriginal groups, public servants and women, the negative redneck label popularly appended to Katter really holds no water.
Now, for some reason that seems to be unsettling powerful interests and the mainstream media, so they feel they have to drag out the “scary” association with licensed shooters, the most law-abiding element of Australian society. They really are clutching at straws.