The leader of Katter’s Australia Party (KAP) says he is confident the sudden withdrawal of its candidate will not derail the push to claim Cook, but admits it will be tough to replace an “outstanding” political operator.
After inquiries from Cape York Weekly, KAP made the announcement on 8 February that Malanda farmer and former soldier Bruce Logan had pulled the pin on running in the October 2024 state election after only being unveiled four months ago as the party’s choice to attempt snatching Cook from Labor and second-term MP Cynthia Lui.
Mr Logan said the recent loss of his mother and the damage caused to his property by Tropical Cyclone Jasper had forced him to take stock and reassess his short-term priorities.
He told Cape York Weekly he had not made the decision to step away from his political aspirations lightly.
“It’s been a tough call to withdraw from the party, but due to my own extensive property damage and the loss of my mother, at this stage I am unable to give 100 per cent focus to the electorate,” he explained on Thursday.
“I have made the tough decision to withdraw, so I can focus on rebuilding my cattle property and spending quality time with my family.
“Sometimes it takes the sudden loss of a loved one, or a natural disaster, to ground you and bring your focus back to what is important in your life.”
KAP leader and state Member for Traeger Robbie Katter praised Mr Logan’s honesty and said it was a reminder that “life has to come first”.
“[W]e’re fully supportive of Bruce’s decision to relinquish his candidacy to focus on what are really the important things in life,” Mr Katter said.
“Bruce’s efforts during and in the aftermath of Jasper demonstrated why he was such a great candidate for us.
“He’s spent the last six weeks engaged in rescue and recovery efforts in the affected areas in the Cape, helping people get their lives back together.”
Mr Katter acknowledged the withdrawal had come as a blow to the party but said he was confident a strong replacement would be announced in the coming weeks.
“You’d be lying to say it’s not a blow, but it’s not insurmountable,” he told Cape York Weekly.
“Bruce was an outstanding candidate but if [running] is not in the best interests of our candidate, we need to think about that and put them first, not the party.
“I’m highly confident we’ll get someone in the near future with great credentials who can win the seat.”
When asked what he believed his party’s chances were of claiming the historically Labor-aligned electorate, Mr Katter took a swipe at what he described as an uneven playing field for independent and minor party candidates battling the “corporate machines” of Labor and the Liberal National Party.
“You’re never confident with any seat; politics is a funny game,” he said.
“You’re going up against these massive, large corporate machines that are very good, marketing machines and know what buttons to press to get people to vote for them at the ballot box, despite how much people have despised them over the past few years, and that goes for both parties.”
Only two candidates are now confirmed as starters in the race for Cook – incumbent MP Cynthia Lui and Peter Campion, who will fly the flag for One Nation.
Despite pulling stumps on a tilt at representing Cape York this time around, Mr Logan hinted he was far from done with political life.
“I am extremely passionate about the people of the north and bringing more focus to the area,” he said.
“I have been working with the Holloways Hub during the disaster recovery to bring some normality back to the people affected by the floods, focusing on the Mount Molloy, Julatten, Wujal Wujal, Ayton, Bloomfield areas.
“When the time is right, you will definitely see me advocating for the people of Far North Queensland in some capacity.”