Queensland Premier threatens defamation action against Robbie Katter, demands apology

Updated April 10, 2019 19:11:19

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Queensland leader Robbie Katter says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has threatened to sue him for defamation after alleging that she may have broken the law for threatening to remove resources from his party last year.

Key points:

  • Lawyers acting for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk demanded a apology from Queensland MP Robbie Katter
  • Mr Robbie Katter refuses to budge, instead doubling down on his claims
  • The dispute stems from the fallout of Senator Fraser Anning’s ‘final solution’ speech in the Senate, during his brief stint with Katter’s Australian Party

Mr Katter has revealed he received a letter from the Premier’s lawyers last week making the threat and demanding an apology.

In an interview on ABC Radio Brisbane, Mr Katter said he was “very surprised”.

“As far as I can tell she’s willing to sue me if I don’t apologise and keep my mouth shut in the meantime,” he said.

Long-running dispute sparked by ‘final solution’ speech

The conflict stems back to threats originally made by Ms Palaszczuk to cut additional staff funding for KAP after they refused to denounce Senator Fraser Anning’s “final solution” speech during his brief stint with the party.

“Because his party will not denounce Senator Fraser Anning, I denounce his party,” Ms Palaszczuk said in early September.

Mr Katter refused to bend to Ms Palaszczuk’s demands and instead referred her to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) for threatening an MP.

The CCC later found Ms Palaszczuk’s comments were “entirely inappropriate” and “exposed her to the prospect of facing a charge of bribery”.

But it concluded there was “no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution”, finding that it may not be in the public interest to prosecute, and referred the matter back to State Parliament.

Mr Katter has since pursued the matter, writing to the Director of Public Prosecutions and issuing a media statement earlier this month calling for the Premier to be charged.

“If these breaches are not taken seriously and investigated fully, it will completely undermine any trust people have in our political and judicial systems,” Mr Katter said in the press release on April 1.

In response, lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Palaszczuk sent a letter last week, calling for an apology and retraction.

“Your statements not only have the effect of, but have clearly been designed to identify our client as worthy of contempt and ridicule,” the letter said.

“In light of your statements and the defamatory imputations they carry, our client demands that you publish to the same media outlets to which your release of 1 April was distributed a retraction statement.”

Katter not backing down

Robbie Katter said on Wednesday he had no intention to apologise or issue a retraction, instead saying he had a case for defamation.

“All we feel we’ve done is state the facts as it’s been presented to us,” Mr Katter said.

“Our party was labelled racist, antisemitic, and this sort of business and we were saying ‘well, what’s the basis for that’ because we would argue the exact opposite?

“We felt if anyone’s been defamed here it’s us and we’ve made that clear to the Premier and her office as well.”

ABC News has contacted the Premier’s Office for comment.

Topics: minor-parties, political-parties, government-and-politics, state-parliament, parliament, alp, law-crime-and-justice, brisbane-4000, qld, mount-isa-4825, townsville-4810

First posted April 10, 2019 18:59:50

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