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CQUni student, Bob Katter join in verbal clash at Q & A

Trinette Stevens. The CQUniversity student’s question to Bob Katter on the topic of gay rights sparked vigorous debate at Rockhampton’s packed Pilbeam Theatre venue and ended with Mr Katter saying he was best saying no more on the issue.
Trinette Stevens. The CQUniversity student’s question to Bob Katter on the topic of gay rights sparked vigorous debate at Rockhampton’s packed Pilbeam Theatre venue and ended with Mr Katter saying he was best saying no more on the issue. Sharyn O'Neill

WHEN she submitted her question early Monday morning, Trinette Stevens didn't expect it to become one of the most memorable moments of Q&A.

The CQUniversity student's question to Bob Katter on the topic of gay rights sparked vigorous debate at Rockhampton's packed Pilbeam Theatre venue and ended with Mr Katter saying he was best saying no more on the issue.

"In the past you have not addressed the topic of gay rights as you see it as irrelevant. Do you think it is appropriate for us to have a discussion about the links between regional Australia and willingly omit an entire group of at-risk individuals?" Trinette asked during the popular ABC show.

Several times throughout Mr Katter's response, the Yeppoon woman stood her ground against the colourful North Queensland MP who is used to sparring with the nation's toughest politicians.

Well over 500,000 people watch Q&A each week.

Trinette, who said she was very interested in politics, admitted to "freaking out" a bit as she asked her question, but as soon as the debate started she said her nerves disappeared.

In the spirit of Q&A, Trinette said she was happy to have her say and impressed she was allowed the chance to rebut Mr Katter's comments.

It's an area she had researched thoroughly after seeing friends leave regional areas or stay and struggle with their sexuality.

Trinette said the idea of masculinity, especially in regional and remote areas, fed into the higher mental health issues among gay people in places like Rockhampton.

"It's damaging for (Bob Katter) to be on a panel about mental health when his party is feeding into a damaging stigma that doesn't address the rights of an entire community," she said. Following the debate, which captured national attention on social media, Trinette said she'd received several messages of support from friends and family.

The Bulletin contacted Mr Katter's office for response yesterday, but a spokesman said the MP was travelling and unavailable to comment.

Topics:  bob katter cquniversity q & a



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