Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Federal Member of Parliament Bob 'The Mad' Katter is someone who knows a bit about cyclones.
I mean, he's survived at least 30 of them by now, and maybe more than that. He's pretty much lost count, since they used to whistle through his part of far north Queensland every five minutes back in the seventies. And he was nearly killed by one when he was six, when 'Cyclone No Name' swept through Townsville - or somewhere - and upset the ferry he was riding back from Magnetic Island on. Not that this bothered Bob much. By age six he'd already survived 14 cyclones, 10 hurricanes, 87 flash floods and the election of the Bjelke-Peterson government, so nothing much phased him:
'I thought it was fun, but my mother was certain we were going to drown.'
So this is clearly a man we can rely on to give us some insight into the Level 5 Cyclone, Cylone 'Yasi,' that crossed Queensland's coast last night.
And Bob was happy to oblige, taking to ABC24 last night to provide some insights.
It was clear from the start that Bob was concerned. A lot of his mates, tough sort of blokes you'd imagine, were looking a bit 'glassy-eyed.' Everyone was worried, even people who had survived Cyclone Larry in 2006. Bob was worried for them too, but less concerned about himself. Having survived cyclones, hurricanes, monsoons, tornadoes, floods, fires, famine, plague, yo-yo's, low GI diets, happy pants, 'talk to the hand,' text speak and the Howard government's refusal to subsidise Queensland's sugar industry, he'd built himself a steel reinforced house and felt he could survive anything.
'We're not going anywhere,' he said.
But he was much less sanguine about what the media had been doing to his constituents. The glassy-eyed ones. Playing up to their fears. 'Terrorising' them, in his words, with this constant talk of a large storm bearing down on Queensland. He seemed to feel that the media were beating up the storm and the dangers it posed, to whip everyone into some kind of storm frenzy and so help their ratings (or something).
'The message that has gone through to people has been one of terror.'
Hmmm, looks pretty terrifying to me.
But Bob would have none of it. Didn't the people in the media understand that in Queensland people were built tough, and that they, and he, had survived earthquakes, tsunamis, the fall of the heavens, the explosion of the sun, the end of the... well, you get the idea. The earnest interviewer on ABC24 seemed puzzled by this argument. Did the member for Kennedy not want the media to highlight the plight of his constituents? And what about the people who had stayed in those areas and who might be relying on organisations like the ABC to keep them up to date with what was happening?
'You're missing my point,' said Katter, who then proceeded to pretty much go, 'Terrorise, terrorise, terrorise, terrorise, terrorise, terrorise, terrorise.'
Clearly he felt pretty strongly about it, whatever it was he was talking about.