Tweets are sweet for Katter

Tweets are sweet for Katter


BOB Katter says he's not a fan of texting, but he's taken to bypassing traditional media with gusto, writes Paul Smith.


INDEPENDENT federal MP Bob Katter is totally sold on the benefits of modern communications technology. Just so long as it doesn't mean that with the latest devices anyone can get hold of him.

The member for Kennedy in north Queensland told the The Australian Financial Review his support for the government's politically divisive national broadband network (NBN)was formed during years living on a remote station property nearly 300 kilometres from the nearest town.

Having relied solely on the Flying Doctor radio for communication, he says the advances in communication promised by the broadband plan will positively change lives for people all over rural Australia.

Katter names Ben Chifley as the country's greatest ever prime minister, saying his decision to invest eye-watering funds into getting Australians onto the telephone proved to be nation-forming.

"It is funny, but the figure Chifley spent is almost identical in modern money for the NBN, and nobody would question that," Katter says.

"I think the Liberal Party just opposes for the fun of opposing, and when they get in, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that they will carry on with the NBN rollout."

While saying that communication is vital, Katter has actively avoided the lure of, first,the BlackBerry and then the iPhone.

While other politicians are surgically attached to their mobile technology, Katter's kitbag has plenty of breathing room for his solitary, old-fashioned, Samsung flip phone.

The customary bragging of pollies and executives about their adoption of new technology is replaced in Katter's case, by wilful ignorance. He wants everyone to know that he can't even do text messages ... so don't expect him to respond to one.

Perhaps surprisingly, given his reticence, Katter has embraced social media, tweeting regularly under the name @RealBobKatter.

Plenty of fake Bobs exist on Twitter, and Katter says he enjoys the satire, most of which he finds flattering.

He says social media provides an unfiltered voice to the public, giving him the chance to speak freely, which he feels is denied him by the mainstream press.

"Social networking is slowly replacing the newspapers ... it is a way of setting the record straight and avoiding the media's agenda," Katter says.

"Kevin Rudd has 1.3 million people on his Twitter site, does he need the newspapers? No, he doesn't. They have been savage towards him, but he can get his message out without them.

"Even a primitive old troglodyte like myself can see enormous advantage in technology."

The story Tweets are sweet for Katter first appeared on Farm Online.


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