Kennedy – Australia 2019

KAP 10.6% vs LNP

Incumbent MP
Bob Katter, since 1993. Previously state Member for Flinders 1974-1992.

Far North Queensland and northwestern Queensland. Kennedy covers a large part of Queensland’s land mass, stretching from the Queensland coast between Cairns and Townsville (although containing neither, and stretching inland to the Northern Territory boundary, covering the inland towns of Mount Isa and Charters Towers. Other major towns include Innisfail, Ingham, Tully, Mareeba and Gordonvale.

Kennedy gained a small area at the southern end of Cairns, including Bentley Park.

Kennedy is an original federation electorate. It was mainly held by the ALP until 1966, and since then it has mainly been held by members of the Katter family, first for the Country/National Party and latterly as an independent.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Charles McDonald of the ALP in 1901. McDonald was elected as the first Labor Speaker in 1910 when the ALP won a majority in Parliament for the first time, and served in the role for the entirety of the Labor governments of 1910-1913 and 1914-1917, although he went to the backbench when the Labor government split over conscription in 1917. He held the seat until his death in 1925.

Nationalist candidate Grosvenor Francis won Kennedy at the 1925 election unopposed following McDonald’s death. Francis won re-election in 1928 but lost Kennedy to the ALP’s Darby Riordan.

Riordan held Kennedy until his death in 1936, when he was succeeded by his nephew Bill Riordan. Riordan held the seat for thirty years, and retired in 1966.

The 1966 election saw Kennedy won by the Country Party’s Bob Katter Sr. Katter was a former member of the ALP who left the party in 1957 when the Queensland Labor Party split from the federal party, and ended up in the Country Party. He briefly served as a minister in the McMahon government for ten months in 1972 before the election of the Whitlam government.

Katter Sr died in 1990 shortly before the federal election, and the seat was won by the ALP’s Rob Hulls, who ran a business in Mount Isa. Hulls held the seat for one term, losing to Bob Katter Jr, a former state MP, at the 1993 election. Hulls moved to Victoria and was elected to the Victorian state parliament in 1996. Rob Hulls went on to serve as a minister in the Bracks government and as Deputy Premier in the Brumby government.

Katter Jr was a strong supporter of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s state government, and found himself at odds with the federal Liberal/National coalition. He resigned from the Nationals in 2001 and easily won re-election as an independent in 2001, and at the next three elections.

Following the 2010 federal election, Katter found himself sharing the balance of power with fellow independents. He broke with fellow independents in refusing to support a minority Labor government.

In 2011, Bob Katter founded a minor party led by himself, named Katter’s Australian Party (KAP). The KAP performed strongly at the 2012 Queensland state election, winning 11.5% of the statewide vote. One of two MPs who had defected from the Liberal National Party to the KAP retained their seats, and Katter’s son Rob won the seat of Mount Isa. A third LNP member defected to the KAP following the election.

In 2013, Katter was re-elected, but with a much-reduced margin after a 16% swing to the LNP, and KAP performed poorly outside of Kennedy. Katter recovered much of his margin in 2016.


  • Sue Bertuch (United Australia)
  • Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian)
  • Lyle Burness (Greens)
  • Ian Douglas Hackwell (Conservative National)
  • Frank Beveridge (Liberal National)
  • Brett McGuire (Labor)
  • Assessment
    Bob Katter shouldn’t have any trouble winning another term.

    2016 result

    Bob KatterKatter’s Australian Party34,27739.9+10.538.4
    Jonathan Pavetto Liberal National 27,80632.3-8.532.6
    Norm Jacobsen Labor 16,48019.2+2.819.5
    Valerie Weier Greens 4,2134.9+1.75.0
    Donna Maree GallehawkFamily First3,2343.8+2.53.7

    2016 two-candidate-preferred result

    Bob KatterKatter’s Australian Party52,57061.1+8.960.6
    Jonathan Pavetto Liberal National 33,44038.9-8.939.4

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Jonathan Pavetto Liberal National 48,90356.9-10.356.7
    Norm Jacobsen Labor 37,10743.1+10.343.3

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into seven areas. Kennedy covers a massive geographic area.

    Most of the booths lie close to the east coast of Queensland. Booths in Tablelands and Cassowary Coast council areas have been grouped together under the name of the council.Those booths in the south of Cairns Regional Council have been grouped as ‘Mulgrave’.

    Booths in Carpentaria, Hinchinbrook and Townsville local council areas, along with a single booth across the border in Charters Towers council area have been grouped together as “Hinchinbrook”.

    Booths in the inland towns of Mount Isa and Charters Towers have been grouped, with the remainder of remote polling places being grouped as ‘West’.

    Some parts of Mulgrave (and the special votes) were previously contained in other seats. The 2CP figure in these sub-areas only consider votes cast inside Kennedy in 2016.

    Katter’s Australian Party won a two-candidate-preferred majority over the LNP in all seven areas, ranging from 54.4% in Hinchinbrook to 68.6% in the west.

    The Labor primary vote ranged from 14.2% in the west to 28.4% in Mulgrave.

    Voter groupALP prim %KAP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Cassowary Coast18.961.39,63510.7
    Mount Isa21.665.95,1235.7
    Charters Towers15.567.13,2563.6
    Other votes17.756.811,43912.7

    Election results in Kennedy at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (KAP vs LNP) and Labor primary votes.

    Become a Patron!


    1. Spot on analysis – This seat is Katter’s until he retires or passes away. When he does cease being MP for Kennedy, I can see his son Rob running to succeed him here.

    2. Anton is correct about Bob dying as the local member, but my friends connected to the Katters claim Robbie will stay in state parliament.You are more likely to see Knuth run for Kennedy.

    3. Queensland Observer Yes it would be hard now for Robbie to leave State Politics especially after a successful 2017 campaign.
      The vote that the KAP have in the North is not enough to win a Senate seat but could lead to another lower house seat in the North that would certainly start to lead in that direction.
      Shane Knuth is unlikely to give up his seat either after wining Hill a seat which had him have to work even harder with his election with boundary changes that certainly didn’t favour him.
      He did well though and has gained ground for the KAP and Robbie secured the areas that Shane had lost by the changes.

      In the South the only seat that they could gain in federal politics is Maranoa but with the campaign in the State Parliament on creating a North Qld State will work against them terribly if if is not dropped. Warrego went 2PP in the last state with Kap and LNP and condamine did okay considering a last minute ON candidate and the loss of Dalby.

      A candidate Like Brad Tassel may be an option in either Kennedy or one of the Northern seats on their radar. Maybe even a Senate Candidate as his association and the work he did in founding the NQ Cowboys would certainly be know around the state

    4. Mick
      ALP/ LNP 2PPV is meaningless whilst KAP is a force.

      THe issue here is in the unlikely event of KAP not standing an effective candidate where would KAP votes go.

      I can assure you that far fewer of them would go to ALP than to LNP.

      Many of them have not got any idea why they think LNP is better than ALP but that is the way they think.

      I doubt if Preferenvce flows in a General Election show up where the vote would have gone if BOb Katter had not been standing.

      Kennedy is an absolute bugger of an electorate to campaign in. There were 110 Polling BOoths counting Hospital booths to man. THis gives a huge advantage to known candidates for the simple reason that most booths will be unmanned by party volunteers.

      Brisbane Division had 42 booths. A Candidate in Brisbane could visit every booth on election day and still sleep at home on election night whereas in Kennedy to visit every booth would need in vicinity of 1 month travelling and 30 Days in motels. A consequence of this is that Campaigning in Kennedy is very expensive and tasks that in Brisbane are left till day before election such as Distribution of How To Votes to Booth Captains has to be managed weeks in advance.

      ALP nd LNP normally have campaign directors who delegate these tasks but minor parties nortmally have a few very hard working individuals who just about collapse at the end of election night having done 18 Hour days for a week.

      Finding workers for 110 booths is a huge task although the response in small towns is much better than in City electorates. Finding money to attend candidates forums is difficult if not near impossible for minor parties.
      Kennedy may have fewr people than a Brisbane electorate but it has more schools , hospitals, pubs, shops, Local Council Mayors and community groups than all Brisbane seats combined.

      Kennedy is 563,993 Square Kilometres, Brisbane 58 Square Kilometres. . During a 28 day campaign a candidate in Brisbane has 695 Minutes per Square Kilometres whilst a candidate in Kennedy has 4.25 Seconds per Square Kilometres.

      Other problem for Kennedy candidates is that townships expect to see their candidate in the flesh. Most city residents do not really expect to see candidate.

      Bob’s campaign is a continual one. wherever you go someone seems to know him and wants a photo with him. During Griffith By election I had a life size corflute cut out of Bob on the Booth I worked and a number of people wanted to buy this cut-out. Does any other party have experience of the the public wanting a candidate’s Corflute.

    5. I understand that the 2pp. Alp/lnp is not predictive in this seat as long as katter contests but it does give a rough idea of the nature of the seat ….see Clark/Denison

    6. Bob Katter and KAP state MP’s are pushing for NQ to become a new State. They are holding a kick Brisbane rally in Cairns. This is probably go down well with their electorate until the electorate find that they will have to pay more taxes than they do at the moment. Whilst at the moment this money is spent in Brisbane than NQ. One of their state election candidates advocated a tunnel up the Atherton Tableland. Moving 25% of public servants from Brisbane to Townsville and building office space for 10 K ublicServants will cost them a lot of money. Up till now KAP has been an advocate of economically beneficial infrastructure. KICKING BRISBANE will only result in Brisbane blighting back. How much will new Parliament House cost? Katter came close to winning a Senate seat in 2016. No. Hope of this happening with this in 2018 or 2019.
      Andrew Jackson

    7. The LNP have preselected the former Mayor of Charters Towers, Frank Beveridge as their candidate. High profile, may chip away at Katter’s margin, but nowhere near enough for him to win.

      I wonder when Katter will finally retire…

    8. The LNP disendorsement of Senator Ian McDonald will be highly beneficial to KAP in NQ. Makes one wonder about the political nous of LNP State Council members. Of course even though Katter and McDonald do not get on they espoused similar policies and NQ parochialism will favour KAP. At least this time we will know well in advance who KAP senate candidate will be. If Katter decides to run he will win easily.

    9. Its not a given that Labor will preference Katter over the LNP any more – in fact it seems quite unlikely after the Anning incident.

      This seat is in play now.

    10. Bob only got around 40% primary vote in 2004, 2007, 2016, and only around 30% in 2013.

      He is only safe because both of the major parties prefer Katter over each other. In particular, Labor prefer him over the LNP because he supports unions and isn’t a reliable coalition partner for the LNP.

      Now that he has tried to outflank even Pauline Hanson on the far right, and has formally lost the support of one of the unions that used to support him, I don’t think he’s going to carry the seat.

      Labor has a chance of winning the seat if they actively campaign and make a formal deal with the LNP for preferences.

      I really don’t see Katter getting Labor preferences this time around anyway (even with no LNP deal), and that will gift the seat to the LNP. That’s something they want – even in bad defeats they would hope to pick up at least one seat.

      Katter is gone and he can thank Fraser Anning for his retirement

    11. I don’t reckon Labor could make top 2 but yeah, Bob Katter is stuffed if Labor preference him below the LNP (which they should!).

      Horrendous news for Nick Dametto in the state seat of Hinchinbrook as well.

    12. john I suspect the Anning insanity will not lose him the seat……they may well think katter is just saying things he does not mean

    13. Although I wouldn’t write Katter off just yet I am certain that Anning has made his job much harder, as of now I’d expect the LNP to scrape it off him narrowly provided they strike a deal with the ALP.

    14. Labour could gain only if the coalition do terribly *if labour gets more primary votes than LNP* and the LNP don’t preference katter, and the preferences go to labour, If labour stun and win this seat they will only be in for 1 term then in 2022 will be blown away here

    15. Al you blokes just don’t get it do you !?. What Anning said will GAIN Katter votes. We are talking N QLD !. They are NOT the same as Australians. They still have not gotten over the “Brisbane Line”!.

    16. @winediamond how? The voters of Kennedy are not racist homophobes, At least a portion of his voters will be put off, I disagree because Fraser Anning sounds allot like another Pauline Hanson, He belongs in One nation. The only reason Katter defended him because he joined his party, I don’t think the voters of Kennedy approve of it. Unless you can tell me why you believe exactly how it will gain Katter votes, I retain my prediction of a Labour or Liberal gain. I also believe Anning will not be re-elected to the senate

    17. It may gain him votes, but if ALP/LNP decide to direct preferences away from him, that will be enough to knock him out. Both majors have a fairly high how to vote follow rate.

    18. Daniel
      My point is simply that N QLDers are Different to other Australians. For starters they feel that they do the hard yards, & the South East get the “cookies”.

      Dismissing Anning as a “racist homophobe ” is reactive, & myopic. Like Hanson he represents a viewpoint. One that feels marginalised, & unheard. Personally i find the language, & presentation, crude, & clumsy. However i do sympathise with the fundamental grievances underlying the dissatisfaction.

      Katter has built his political fortunes on nurturing political/regional, grievances, & Division . BS will win the election on division. Katter is in no danger. However Anning has no chance of re election

    19. Agree with WD. Katter is in no danger unless he falls well back into 2nd like he did in 2013. That was when the LNP was on a big upswing which won’t be happening this time. Katter is a very known quantity and the major party recommendations will not be anywhere near as closely followed as they would be against a generic “john doe” candidate.

      Will be interesting to see how the majors preference here though. I suspect the ALP have backed themselves into a corner and will be forced to preference against him, but I really can’t see the LNP doing so.

    20. Bob Katter has had the courage to dump Anning whose views on most issues were similar to Bob’s but on the issue of racism they were poles apart. Bob Katter was and is a believer in Catholic Social Justice. He applied this Social Justice to all in his electorate. His origins were the old Labor Party merged with a bit of old National party. He supports farmers, small business and the rights of workers. He is the only politician in last twenty years who I have heard defend arbitrated wages and pricing decisions. KAP probably has had the highest % of First Australian Candidates. I personally could not support Anning’s racially divisive policies but as soon as Bob reverted to his principles I threw my hat back into his corner. Bob reminds me a bit of Condon Byrne A 1950’s ALP Senator who sided with DLP but was always liked personally by political friend and foe alike.
      The media treat Bob Katter as a curiosity but his own electorate can see through Journalistic hype and recognise that he is just a good bloke.

      Inner city types will never like Bob he is too blunt but rural and suburban voters know that he cares.

      There are large numbers of voters who detest the Lib-Lab dribble who desperately want a Light on the hill for their Forgotten needs and who know It’s Time to send the Newman’ the Bligh’s , The Turnbull’s , Gillard’s and Shoten’s packing. We need a political force that will recreate the Deakenite compromise sending social degenerates and neo-liberals back to the extremes of the political spectrum where they belong.
      Andrew Jackson

    21. Katter cast off Anning after threats from unions and Labor. Balance of power should give him a real opportunity to get some runs on the board and win for another term.

    22. Bob has had a very long history of racial tolerance in an electorate that takes courage to have these views.

      Clearly courage was required to sack Anning.

      It was clearly a courageous decision by both the party and Bob Katter.
      Andrew Jackson

    23. In the Courier Mail Labor has indicated their willing to negotiate a prefernce deal with Katter in Herbert after he dumped Senator Anning. If that’s the case then it’s likely Labor preferences will be heading Katters way in Kennedy and this seat is over. Nothing to see here folks…….

    24. Political night watchman Bob is safe unless KAP do something stupid like preference games neo-fascists.
      If KAP preferences major parties ahead of neo fascist and neo communists Bob will have my full support. If he chooses to preference the neo fascists I will probably spend election week in air conditioned comfort rather than standing outside a pre poll booth.
      Andrew Jackson

    25. In some ways Bob Katter is as mad as a cut snake….in other ways he is reasonable….. he and his father were the old alp who became dlp then national party. He admires Ted Theodore premier of Qld and treasurer of Australia during the great depression. HE was never racist and had good relations with the aboriginal people or his electorate…;. Anning was very racist and far right who was onp if not in name but in actions.

    26. Mick an accurate description of Bob Katter.

      As a close contact of KAP I could not tolerate Anning. The DLP were the first political party to support an end to the White Australia. Neither DLP or Katter are supporters of multiculturalism they both support integration.
      Bob Katter does not use the term but he is in reality a Distributist as is DLP which proudly uses the term.
      Distributist is a political philosophy which is a third way between socialism and laissez faire capitalism.
      Most Australians are Distributists at heart. They prefer greater government intervention in economy
      They want Arbitration, Protection of Australian Industry, No sale of Government owned Assetts, Government provided Social security, hospitals schools
      Katter’s agrarian socialism is in reality Distributism.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here