KAP will hold balance of power in senate, says Katter
DELVE under the big hat of Bob Katter and into his mind and you find a man passionate about rural Australia.
And when Mr Katter speaks it is about ideas and not ideology.
The leader of Katter's Australian Party has many plans to restore prosperity to the regions. One of those is his desire to see Australia become the biggest ethanol producer on earth.
Mr Katter sees many benefits from the ethanol industry including saving lives by reducing harmful emissions and lowering fuel prices. He insists it will secure the future of the sugar, cattle and grains industry and create 30, 000 jobs in rural Australia, while securing Australia's food supply.
He recently introduced a private member's bill that mandates the national ethanol volume percentage be 5% by July 2017 and 10% by July 2010. Mr Katter is outraged that Australia is one of a few countries not to mandate on the volume of biofuels.
"Ethanol fixes up the cattle, grains and sugar industry," he said.
"Between third and a half of ethanol comes from the grain industry. Distiller's grain is a product you get when you take the starch out, which is three times more nutritious than ordinary grain.
"Therefore you get the same nutrition value for a third of the cost of storage and transportation. It is fabulous stuff. One of the reasons why the Americans are killing us in the cattle industry at the moment is because they have got distiller's grain.
"The sugar blokes will go from an average now of $300 a ton to $600 a ton for the sugar that goes into ethanol, which the Brazilians are enjoying now."
Mr Katter says the "lot feeders will squeal blue murder" because the grain prices will go up.
"But that is one of the main reasons why we are doing it...to help the grain farmers," he said.
"It lifts grain prices from 13% to 16% ."
Mr Katter said that "the US, Canada and most of the Americas" were making great progress with ethanol, but Australia is not.
"People accuse us of being radicals and mavericks, when the complete opposite is true. We are the ones in step with the rest of the world," he said.
"China, India and the United Kingdom all announced in the past five months that they are moving to ethanol. Every single country has signed up for 15% in Europe.
"We are proposing the introduction of 10 to 12% initially…and moving up to the Brazilian model of 22%.
"At the present it is Tony Abbott's policy that we send $23, 000 million to the Middle Eastern oil producing countries, but we are proposing that money goes into regional Australia.
"There will be no oil being produced in Australia shortly, but we can be the biggest ethanol producing country on earth, because we will supply China.
"China doesn't have grain or sugarcane so we could be a massive producer."
Mr Katter points out that "the new Holden motor cars are built to take 70% plus" ethanol content and says an increase in ethanol volumes will also bring prices down. "When I filled up my car in Brazil it was 74c a litre. I filled up in Minnesota it was 84c a litre. It was 80% ethanol in both those places," he said.
"When I came back to Australia it was 139c a litre. Once ethanol gets into the system the price will drive it."
Mr Katter said there were several key issues for him at this election.
"Number one is that we are a vanishing race," he said.
"Our young people postpone having children because they can't afford to, and that has to be addressed urgently.
"To help them we would apply 10% customs duty to everything coming into the country...which would provide $35,000 million.
"That money would go to young families and works out at $40,000 for a family of three per year."
He said another major issue was that "within nine years we will have no motor vehicle manufacturing, no steel (industry) and no petroleum".
"People will live in a Third World country technologically and industrially," Mr Katter said.
"So immediately we would ensure that all government motor vehicles and government construction would be exclusively for Australian motor vehicles and Australian steel."
Mr Katter is also insisting on warning labels on all imported foods.
"This is important because those foods are not being grown or processed under Australian health and hygiene standards and may be injurious to your health.
"That will stop Woolworths and Coles in their mad rush to import everything from overseas.
"Every single orange that they have tested from South America has got (fungicide) carbendazim on it. Prawns are grown out in raw sewerage in some countries and are chock full of antibiotics."
Mr Katter is adamant there should be an arbitrated price on milk.
"It was 59 cents before regulation and it was 42 cents after," he said.
"It should be up around 79 cents now with CPI. There is something obscene about water being cheaper than milk.
"A professor in the faculty of economics at the University of Queensland said the deregulation of the dairy industry was one of the three great shames of Australian history."
Mr Katter said there was "a real possibility" of his party holding the balance of power in the Senate and he intends to use it.
"The Liberals clearly want an extended GST…and that will mean a 10 % GST on our food which is already up amongst the higher echelon of food prices in the world," he said.
"If we get the balance of power there will be no extension of the GST for food…full stop."