Bob’s brush with fame: Why our most colourful pollie will pose for portrait

Bob Katter has dressed as a pig to highlight profiteering during the cost of living crisis and the Grim Reaper to mark the closure of Australia’s last Holden factory.

Jul 03, 2024, updated Jul 03, 2024
Voters in the Queensland regions like big personalities as their federal members. (Photo: AAP)

Voters in the Queensland regions like big personalities as their federal members. (Photo: AAP)


Now all eyes will be on what he might wear to pose for a portrait.

Parliament’s little known House Memorials Committee convened in person on Tuesday for the first time in nearly half a century to discuss the weighty matter of commissioning a portrait of the colourful crossbencher.

The man who once declared he was in favour of letting a thousand blossoms bloom in the nation’s bedrooms but voted no to marriage equality might be soon peering down on parliamentarians scurrying through the corridors to vote for years to come.

The memorials committee was founded before the First World War and is composed of the prime minister and opposition leader of the day plus the presiding and other officers of the two houses.

In May, the house speaker, Milton Dick, wrote to the prime minister requesting approval to commission a one-off portrait of Mr Katter, the committee said.

“So much has changed over the decades in this Parliament – one of the rare constants has been Bob Katter’s presence,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

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“It’s hard to imagine this place without him and commissioning his portrait is a way to ensure he will always be a visible and colourful part of Australia’s Parliament.”

Portraits that have been commissioned by the committee as one-offs include those of Nova Peris, the first female Indigenous parliamentarian, and Linda Burney, the first female Indigenous member of the House of Representatives.

The member for Kennedy, who started his own party, Katter’s Australian Party, has not made his views known about the intentions of the establishment in Australia’s capital city but they could possibly be gleaned from past utterances.

“There seems to be a complete vacuum on intelligence in Canberra, but you’d expect that from a town that has legalised marijuana”, the big hat-wearing member of parliament was quoted saying last year.

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