Bob Katter proposes 'Third Force' alliance of minor parties in wake of WA election debacle
ONE Nation’s WA election debacle has roused calls for the minor parties to unite on policies and preferences as a “Third Force” in Australian politics.
The idea is being promoted as a way for the likes of One Nation, Katter's Australian Party (KAP) and Nick Xenophon Team to harvest preferences without messy swap deals such as the damaging pact between the WA Liberals and One Nation at the weekend state election.
A union of political minnows would require an accommodation of some whale-sized egos belonging of the likes of Pauline Hanson, former Liberal Cory Bernardi, Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie and Bob Katter.
Mr Katter is pushing the idea, and warning the popularity of minor parties remains strong.
“It will be a great tragedy for this nation if the Xenophon and Lambies, the KAPs and all the other non-major parties do not have a coming together,” he said in a statement.
“Our strengths are in our differences but one thing we all have in common is we tenaciously oppose the extremism of the free market ideologues and their privatisation, deregulation and globalisation.”
Labor’s Mark McGowan was elected WA’s new Premier after the rout of the eight-year-old Liberal Government led by Colin Barnett.
One Nation had high hopes its campaign — led by Senator Hanson in the final week — would give the minor party the balance of power in the state upper house.
It is expected to win jut one seat in that chamber and none in the lower house.
One Nation’s Liberal preference swap deal riled members of both parties and is believed to be the most damaging mistake of the campaign.
However, the result hasn’t killed off Liberal support for a similar arrangement in Queensland later this year, and in the federal election scheduled for 2019.
Mr Katter has pointed to the “disaster of One Nation giving all their preferences to Liberals, and voting with them all the time in Canberra” as the driver for a united rebellion.
“We shall be urging all of the Third Force parties in Australia, whatever their strengths and weaknesses, to come together,” he said.
“All the little parties have one strength in common; they were not the ones who exported our industries and jobs overseas and imported workers into Australia to take what’s left of our jobs. “That was, believe it or not, mostly the ALP, and most certainly the LNP.”
He said there was a difference between the WA election and the coming Queensland contest.
“Anyone in Queensland who thinks One Nation is dead in the water is badly misreading the situation,” he aid.
“The (Liberals are) toxic in WA, but the difference in Queensland is, so is the ALP, as well as the LNP.”