Monday, 30 August 2010
I am, you are, we are Australian - and Bob Katter is too
I bet the Katter family get sick of it. I know I do. As a long time resident of the seat of Kennedy and someone who stood twice against Bob Katter Senior in that seat, I know how often people ask about the ethnicity of the Katters.
To-day I have visits to the this blog from people seeking just that information. Someone wanted to know if Bob Katter was Aboriginal. No. Another asked his "ethnicity". I have heard all sorts of suggestions in the past.
So let's settle it right here - hopefully (but I guess not) forever. The Katters are of Lebanese extraction. I will give you a couple of firm bases for this. Firstly, this newspaper article. The other is a local history program I heard on Radio National two or three years ago.
It was one of those programs one could hear on a Saturday afternoon - but the ABC does a few history programs so I can't recall the name of this one. It's major informant seemed to be Richard Anthony, a well known figure in Charters Towers. He mentions the Katters in that program.
You see, there was this marvellous extended Lebanese family. Richard described how his grandmother/aunts/mother used to cook for them all. It was a charming piece of little-known history. So - let me say it clearly - the Katters are Lebanese. No, they are not Aboriginal. No, they are not Syrian. No they are not descended from Afghan cameleers.
But all this was a few generations ago. The immersion of the Katters and their relatives in northern and western Queensland has been steep and deep. They are real identities, real locals there. They are - as we all are who voted on 21 August 2010 - Australian.
Let's not count the difference - albeit we may have political ones. Let's just rejoice in the fact that Australian soil absorbs us all and turns each of us into something unique - if we let it.