why they like bob katter

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    No regrets on plane row: MP
    December 11, 2002

    FEDERAL MP Bob Katter had no regrets about a confrontation which resulted in him being ordered off a Qantas flight in Cairns, he has said.

    The north Queensland independent was removed from the plane for angry behaviour after he fired a verbal volley at a government official involved in the sugar issue.

    Mr Katter said the incident was humiliating but he did not blame the Qantas staff and did not regret standing up for struggling farmers.

    "If I had to do it again I'd do it all the same," he told ABC radio in Townsville.

    Mr Katter said he was heading to a rally in Townsville to dispute a state government-commissioned report recommending deregulation for the sugar industry.

    Also on the plane were state government representatives, who were addressing sugar industry representatives in the north Queensland cities, he said.

    When one said hello to him, Mr Katter said: "I hope that when our poor farmers are killing themselves, committing suicide, that your conscience hurts you.

    "With that I walked up to the back of the plane, and if there was anything more complicated than that I'm not aware of it, I just sat down.

    "Next thing a Qantas person came up and asked me to leave the aeroplane."

    Mr Katter said his comment was carefully planned.

    "I wasn't going to be lovey dovey with these people who are destroying north Queensland, and I'd actually rehearsed what I was going to say," he said.

    "It was suppressed anger, it was very restrained - it was pointedly restrained ... there wasn't any shouting or waving of arms.

    "It was very humiliating for me ... but I would have let down everybody if I hadn't said what I said, and I'm not apologising for that," he said.

    The airline later apologised and arranged a charter flight to Townsville, Mr Katter said.

    A Qantas spokesman later said the airline did not comment on matters relating to individual passengers but said it was normal practice to remove someone who was creating a disturbance.


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