About Chris

I have and always will be passionate about politics.  I am devoted to serving Queenslanders in our nation's parliament and to working hard with other senators and members for the betterment of Australia.

To put some context behind this picture, my staff apparently find it humourous that I dutifully have marmalade on sourdough with a long black every morning for breakfast. This is a good starting place for me to introduce myself to Queenslanders and share with you a bit about who I am and why I consider it to be such an honour to have been elected as a Senator for Queensland.

Even before commencing as a Senator, my former role as State Secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) from 1996 to 2014 saw me working hard to protect and advance the fundamental rights of Australian workers.  I first commenced working with the SDA in 1982, when I was just 21 years of age and have devoted my working life to standing up for others and for what I believe to be fairness.

What is the fair go if it is not recognition of the dignity of each individual person?

I will always be indebted to my grandfather, Bill Thornton for suggesting I work for a trade union. The trade union movement has made a remarkable contribution to the fabric of Australian society.

I was born to Ron and Judy Ketter in 1961 and grew up in public housing in local Holland Park, Brisbane with my siblings Luke, Paul and Genevieve. After completing Year 12, I went on to study and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, followed by a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) on a part-time basis at St. Lucia’s University of Queensland.  It was here I encountered Dr. Richard Stavely, whose lectures transcended the dismal science of economics and entered the thought provoking realm of political philosophy.

I married my beautiful wife, Eleanor Ketter in 1986 and together we have four incredibly bright and talented children; Catherine, Victoria, William and Laura, of whom I am so proud.

The importance of healthy living is a key pillar for my life and in my spare time (not that there’s an abundance of it), I relish the opportunity to get outdoors in the fresh air.  I enjoy running with my wife and kids, having good food in the company of friends, as well as reading and listening to music. 

Many of you will probably be unaware that I played guitar in a number of bands during my youth, including a 60’s band called Spiders and the Flies.  To this day, I still enjoy having a jam on the guitar.

My work starts and finishes with the fundamental principles of dignity and respect, which are both the means and the ends.

Turning to the future, as a father of four, I have recently had reason to become concerned about the political future of the Australia I know and love.  Australia is one of the oldest continuous democracies in the world and yet, according to the Lowy Institute Poll 2014, just 42 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds agree that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, with a third of this group saying that ‘in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’.

This research suggests that it is not so much that Australians support a more authoritarian system; it is that they are disenchanted with the way Australian politics is currently conducted. I believe that the troubling findings of this research are a wake-up call for all of us who would desire an enduring and vibrant democracy in this country.

We need to talk about politics. We need our children to talk about politics; to passionately and respectfully debate issues with one another.  We need Australia’s youth to generate lateral thinking and lay the foundations for well informed decision making and concepts. Around the Ketter family dinner table, political discussion is always welcome.

I do know that unless we tackle this issue together, through discussion and education and not lectures; for future generations we risk losing the gains which we have made in relation to freedom, fairness and equity in our society.

On another note, I also suspect that the more we stick to the principles of dignity and respect in public life, the better off we will be.