The independent Queensland MP Bob Katter has stoked controversy by releasing an election campaign ad depicting himself shooting dead Liberal and Labor party members.
Just days after the worst mass shooting in American history, Katter’s official Twitter account posted the ad on Wednesday.
The 30-second long video starts with two “faceless” men, dressed in an LNP shirt and an ALP shirt, putting up a sign that says “Australia for Sale”.
It ends with Katter holding a smoking gun, smiling at the camera, with the two men lying dead on the ground.
The video has had mixed reactions on social media, with some voicing their support but many being critical. But despite the backdrop of the Orlando massacre in which 49 people were killed and 53 injured, Katter defended the ad as humorous and said he had signed off on it weeks ago.
“It was just for humour value. But it was humour getting a message across,” he told the ABC.
“What’s not funny is the selling off of this country. We hate it and we’re tenaciously opposed to it.”
LNP Nationals senator for Queensland Barry O’Sullivan has called on Katter to immediately withdraw from the federal election contest.
“Bob Katter tries to portray himself as some gun-toting tough guy but shooting unarmed people is the very definition of a coward,” O’Sullivan said.
“There are many responsible gun owners across the Kennedy electorate who will be angered by Bob Katter’s disgraceful depiction of gun ownership.
“In the shadow of the events in Orlando, this is the most atrocious and bizarre political ad that I have ever seen,” he said.
Liberal senator Ian Macdonald was “saddened and embarrassed” by the “offensive and childish” advertisement.
“Mr Katter’s video advertisement seems to encourage murder and gun violence to promote his strange views on a serious policy issue,” he said.
The fellow Queenslander believed the insensitivity of Mr Katter’s “rubbish” ad proved he was no longer capable of representing the people of Kennedy.
Former New South Wales Liberal leader Kerry Chikarovski has also criticised the ad.
“We have a serious debate going in this country all the time about gun control and about the need to make sure we need guns appropriately. We’ve just seen that horrendous, horrendous shooting in Orlando,” she said.
“To actually make a joke of shooting people is wrong at any time and it’s particularly wrong at the moment. And I know that Bob’s quirky and he says ‘oh you know, get a life, get a bit of humour,’ but I mean you’re talking to someone who spends a lot of time talking about issues like domestic violence and I just don’t think shooting people, even in a ‘funny’ sense like that, is humorous. I’m sorry.