WITH Queensland's wild weather dominating the news, little attention has been given to a northern political storm that has hit Victoria.
I refer to Bob Katter and his whirlwind political style hitting country Victoria.
A Channel 7 ReachTEL poll on the weekend revealed more Victorians would vote for Katter's Australia Party than the Nationals if a state election were held now.
It's a remarkable result that must send shivers down the spine of Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan.
It even prompted KAP national director Aiden McLindon to tweet: "Time for Nats to choose between KAP or the Libs."
That was a telling jab, for most of Katter's support would be in rural areas. That's where he concentrates his energy and where the heart of his policies lies.
He loudly proclaims his support for farmers and unions, wants a return to old-style trade barriers (aka Black Jack McEwen of yesteryear) and abhors the Greens and their penchant for green tape and social issues.
The poll result came just days after Katter was in Warrnambool, where he told dairy farmers he planned to reregulate the dairy industry if his party gained control of the Senate at the federal election.
It was a bold declaration - reckless, some say - that fits in with the burst-through style of Katter.
Reregulation of the industry would be fraught with danger - if it could even be achieved.
In 2000 the federal government abolished inter-state trade barriers so milk could flow freely around the country without tariffs.
It meant many smaller farmers in states such as Queensland and northern NSW, who relied entirely on the fresh milk market (the stuff we drink each day), would be unable to survive.
The government paid out millions of dollars to those farmers, much of which was then recouped from you via an 11c-a-litre levy on retail milk sales, to produce a leaner, more efficient industry that reflected the fact 65 per cent of Australia's milk came from Victoria.
Industry leaders have recoiled at talk of reregulating the industry, and taxpayers and consumers would probably not be happy about sending their hard-earned down the drain.
And reregulation would hold little benefit for Victorian farmers anyway, who send most of their milk overseas.
But that would be of little concern to Katter, who sees issues as black and white.
It would be unfair to compare him with Pauline Hanson, who was a political novice who got out of her depth almost the moment she stepped on to the national stage.
Katter, on the other hand, is a seasoned political performer, a former Queensland state minister in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen government and 20-year member of federal Parliament.
But where you can draw parallels with Hanson is the notion of a political party being built around one person.
It allows quick policy decisions, such as dairy reregulation, but has major drawbacks.
Broader-church parties can handle silly comments and renegades, even major stuff-ups from their leaders.
But when the leader is the party, it is hard to come back from a major blooper.
You saw that with Hanson and One Nation. The fate of her party ebbed and flowed each time she opened her mouth.
The Nationals have quickly rejected Katter's overtures.
"There is no evidence our membership considers that what KAP stands for is what we stand for," Nationals Victoria president Peter Schwarz told The Weekly Times.
Which is not surprising, for it was the Coalition, led by the Nationals, that destroyed Hanson when she became a threat to their support base.
Expect the same with the KAP if Katter continues to gain ground.
The Nats would be quietly worried about Katter.
But the bigger worry is whether he forces the Nationals into a far-Right position on some issues in an effort to out-Katter Katter.
Ed Gannon is editor of The Weekly Times