Queensland Labor Senator-elect Chris Ketter

The Queensland Labor Senator-elect has described himself as a “politician with training wheels”, telling SBS he’s yet to get himself across the wave of legislation he’s set to face in the Senate.


“It’s a bit of an unknown quantity for me,” he said.

“Work has been fairly hectic up till now… I now need to start to turn my mind to my future, which looms on the first of July.”

Listen: Stephanie Anderson speaks with Chris Ketter.

As Secretary for the Queensland branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association – a role he’s held since 1996 – Mr Ketter said looking out for working people would remain his priority.

“Going into the Senate I will have an interest in industrial relations and looking after people who don’t have much of a voice,” he said.

“… I believe that there’s a lot of work to be done and I’m very keen on advancing the interest of working people and focusing on issues that are bread and butter issues for middle Australia.”

Mr Ketter, who intends to commute to Canberra from his family home in Brisbane, said the economic advancement of Queensland will also remain a priority as he and his Labor colleagues tackle negotiations in the new Senate.

“We’ve lost six Labor senators in the new senate, so that makes it a much more volatile situation,” he said.

“We now have 18 crossbench senators to contend with and Clive Palmer’s influence will be there.”

He said his union values will remain with him during negotiations.

“The things that drive me are what I’ve said – the interest in working people, making sure we have a strong economy, we have jobs and making sure that people in our economy are treated with dignity and fairness,” he said.

“That’s really how I will approach all the policy issues that come before us.”