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.

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