Kennedy – Australia 2022

KAP 13.3% 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 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 and KAP member.

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). Katter has continued to represent Kennedy as a KAP member since then.


  • Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian Party)
  • Bryce Macdonald (Liberal National)
  • Jen Sackley (Independent)
  • Jennifer Cox (Greens)
  • Jason Brandon (Labor)
  • Peter Campion (United Australia)
  • Assessment
    Kennedy is a safe seat for Bob Katter for the foreseeable future.

    2019 result

    Bob KatterKatter’s Australian Party37,66541.0+2.6
    Frank Beveridge Liberal National 25,26427.5-5.1
    Brett Mcguire Labor 15,61217.0-2.6
    Sue BertuchUnited Australia Party6,1246.7+6.7
    Lyle Burness Greens 4,7515.2+0.2
    Ian HackwellConservative National Party2,5322.8+2.8

    2019 two-candidate-preferred result

    Bob KatterKatter’s Australian Party58,23163.3+2.3
    Frank Beveridge Liberal National 33,71736.7-2.3

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Frank Beveridge Liberal National 59,31964.5+7.8
    Brett Mcguire Labor 32,62935.5-7.8

    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’.

    Bob Katter won a clear majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in every area, ranging from 58.9% in Hinchinbrook to 72.8% in the west.

    Voter groupALP prim %KAP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Cassowary Coast17.463.38,7799.5
    Mount Isa19.269.94,7455.2
    Charters Towers14.066.02,3172.5
    Other votes14.159.910,23611.1

    Election results in Kennedy at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (KAP vs LNP), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Katter’s Australian Party, the Liberal National Party and Labor.

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    1. On the AEC website, the figures shows 64.5% LNP 35.5% ALP for the 2019 election.

      Of course, if Bob retires, Robbie Katter might take up the mantle.

    2. I believe Shane Knuth (another KAP representative) holds the state seat covering Innisfail, which is also in the Kennedy district.

    3. these seats are Hill, Hinchinbrook and Traeger.

      Hill has Innisfail and Tully.
      Hinchinbrook has Cardwell, Ingham, Lucinda and the Northern Beaches of Townsville.
      Traeger has Burke, Doomadgee, Charters Towers, Mt Isa and Cloncurry.

    4. If you ask me, this seat is Katter’s until he retires or dies. When one of those happen, don’t be surprised if Robbie Katter runs here.

    5. I see that Peter Campion, that is Barnaby Joyce’s father in law, is standing for the United Australia Party in the seat of Kennedy. He mustn’t think much of the Nationals then. It should make for interesting family discussions with Barnaby and Vicki

    6. How annoyed may depend on how the UAP preference. If they preference the LNP ahead of Katter, that is useful to the LNP (depending on how to vote handout).

    7. May as well continue south and quite easily 100% KAP Retain. 2013 was a close one, but the LNP vote has been shedding since. Even the 2CP battle is a bit moot as LNP+UAP vote has a big gap to ALP+GRN, and expect UAP to pick up the CON vote from last time.

    8. Bob. Very good question. If KAP were not to run it would be interesting to see what other minor party would take it. My guess is that the ALP would have no chance. LNP possibly if a good candidate were put up. Same as PHON. UAP would be the fly in the ointment that decides whether PHON or LNP would get up. I can’t see Robbie (Mt Isa) standing for Federal Government. Likewise, Shane Knuth (Hill) and Nick Dametto (Hinchinbrook).

    9. Bob Katter performed well on the Sky News mavericks debate . In fact I thought all four of the mavericks performed well and they kept clear of the really potentially serious damaging issues:

    10. This could be Bob Katter’s last election, although that depends on a number of possible factors admittedly, but it’s still had me wondering recently about his successor. I suspect Robbie Katter may be groomed as the next member for Kennedy even though I struggle to see it at the moment. Barring his involvement though it should fall to a National aligned LNP member. I’m skeptical of any minor party or independent that isn’t associated with the Katters winning here.

      Interestingly, I believe it may have been the 2016 election, although I haven’t checked in quite a while, the TPP LNP v LAB here was actually quite close for modern standards, around a margin more typical of the early 90s and before, as well as the state electorates of this region in the 80s and earlier when Labor still held up relatively well in country seats. No idea why that was so but I doubt it’s relevant to the future nonexistent prospects of Labor competing here.

    11. Bob Katter turns 77 on May 22 so by 2025 he will be 80. He can’t go on forever. Does he want to be like his father and effectively die in the saddle?Robbie Katter may take over but is it actually healthy for a seat to be held by members of one family for over 60 years??

    12. It does lead to interesting speculation about the populist right. The Katter Party has always been a family business and Bob is pushing 80. One Nation has always been driven by the personality of Pauline Hanson and she is pushing 70. Clive Palmer is also pushing 70 and the UAP is quite evidently nothing without his money. Does the QLD populist right have a future and where will it go? Or does the LNP or a revamped National Party swoop in and hoover it all up?

    13. Redistributed, the only other seat that has been held by 3 generations is Richmond (the Anthony family, first Lawrence ‘Larry’ Anthony Sr during WW2 era, then Doug Anthony (Deputy PM under Fraser) and finally Larry Anthony Jr (served during John Howard’s term as PM).

    14. Except for Rob Hulls short interlude from 1990 to 1993 , Kennedy has been held by two families the Riordans and the Katters since 1929. Yoh An – I was considering the Anthonys but there was a sizable gap and two MPs between Doug and Larry. I am actually surprised there aren’t more three generation political families – probably are if state politics gets included – like the Hodgmans.

    15. I won’t be surprised if the populist right parties form political dynasties where a party family name is associated with a particular party.

    16. Redistributed
      My thoughts are that life the LNP were to split back into the Two components city Liberals and Country Mayoomals a lot of KAP, UAP and about 1/3 of PHON would go back to Nats.
      I see this as probably occurring when Queensland LNP suffers a significant defeat. The party just does not have the internal strength to survive a wipe out like occurred to Libs in WA or Australian Labor Party in 2012.

    17. This seat could see some very interesting results in this election.

      To be clear, I don’t mean Katter is at any threat of losing. It’s more about what the non-Katter vote will end up looking like, and what this may indicate for Katter’s ultimate retirement.

      As Laine mentioned, in 2016, on the 2PP alternate count, LNP only got about 57%. This despite it being an election where the Coalition won, and Katter’s HTV put LNP over ALP, *and* LNP got 32% PV vs ALP’s 19%.

      If the swing in Queensland is better than 8% to ALP, which is what the opinion polling seems to suggest, then Labor could actually be competitive in the 2PP, and might even be in the 2CP, which last happened in 2007.

      If this happens, Kennedy could potentially be heading to Labor in 2025, if Katter retires.

      If Labor does even better, they might get ahead on 2PP (not 2CP). I’d say a swing of 10% would probably get it to around the tipping point in that regard.

    18. Interesting observations from Glen. Before the seat of Kennedy became “Katterfied” it was a Labor seat for many years. It is basically a conservative leaning area but anything could happen because they are a different mob in the FNQ.

    19. I find it interesting that Katter only gets around 40% primary and nearly lost in 2013 (apparently due to a strong candidate who has since passed away).

      It means that if Labor decided they’ve had enough of Katter, they could probably see him off. He will get Labor support because he prevents it from being another Maranoa, and QLD Labor have done deals with the Katters before. But if he ends up making a Liberal minority government worse, Labor might pull the plug.

      It was actually a Labor vs Katter runoff in 2007. Not sure if it could happen again, but Liberals may also want to cop an extra Labor MP now in return for a fairly safe seat later, and could enable that with their HTVs.

    20. I had a look back at the discussion on this seat in 2019 and still seems relatively the same – Katter will retain until he retires or is carried out in a box (a la Billy Hughes). And no, Robbie wouldn’t change to Fed as he’s growing the party at a state level with 3 MPs and has led the charge on many state issues. Who replaces Bob, though, that is the question.

      I don’t see Dametto (KAP – QLD – Hinchinbrook) moving up, although he was recently made ‘Deputy Leader’ and more reflects a stronger push by KAP at state level. And Knuth (KAP – QLD – Hill) is getting on in age too and really don’t see him moving up, he is very well embedded to his seat. It could be a possibility, but then they’d need to find someone to run in Hill if Knuth replaces Bob. My opinion is they’ll find someone close to the Katters but not a current state MP. It may be the KAP forgoes Fed (post Bob) and focuses more of a push in State, especially for the 3 Townsville state seats (although there is a strong push by KAP for the Fed district of Herbert with their current candidate a local campaigning for the past 6 months).

      As for all the vote talk, this is a KAP retain without a doubt.

    21. Malcolm Mackerras in his first federal election guide said Bob Katter senior had a personal vote and in the absence of that vote it would be marginal CP.
      Remember, though, back then Mount Isa was bigger than it is now.

    22. This seat will be gift wrapped for Robbie Katter when he makes the move to Fed.
      Traeger will come into play potentially for both majors at a state level, given Mt Isa and Dalrymple (prior to abolition) were held by both

    23. Sabena That would be back in 1960’s. Bob Katter at one stage accused me of knowing too much history but bluntly his Fathers personal vote in terms of Australian elections is ancient history. I have been into Cafe’s and Agricultural shows with Bob Katter and there is no doubt he has a personal vote. One of the problems that KAP face is that they can not get Bob’s personal vote to even transfer to his Senate candidates even in the same election.

    24. This seat is now more marginal than Dawson and Herbert on a TPP basis despite the latter two being a Labor targeted-marginal and *held* by Labor respectively leading into the 2019 election. While the personal vote for Bob Katter Sr. definitely contributed to Labor only winning Kennedy once in the past 56 years, it still hasn’t been marginal for quite a while and the fact that it voted to the left of these two is fascinating, especially given the entire area it encompasses has seen a long term trend away from Labor.


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