'Cowboy' MP is powerbroker in Australia parliament

Sydney (AFP) - Cowboy hat-wearing political maverick Bob Katter sparked controversy last month with a campaign video showing him shooting opponents from Australia's two major parties, over the sale of farming land to foreigners.

But the independent MP from the country's rural northeast is now being courted by one of the parties, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal/National coalition, after elections on July 2.

Turnbull's government, which declared victory on Sunday, still does not have a majority of at least 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives as votes continue to be counted, and could need the support of independents like Katter.

The prime minister thanked Katter by name in his victory speech, saying they had "constructive discussions" earlier this week when the Queenslander pledged to get behind the government on budget matters and on votes of no confidence.

The self-described "force from the north" is passionate about guns and protecting Australian farmers and industry, and is also not shy about expressing his views, stirring up controversy along the way.

He claimed in 1989 that there were no homosexuals in his electorate, vowing to walk "backwards from Bourke to Brisbane" if any were found.

He has called for bats to be culled to protect people against diseases, reportedly saying they were "the greatest possible danger to human life", and admitted to pelting the Beatles with eggs in 1964 during their Australian tour.

The 71-year-old "mad hatter" also loves singing, and in 2011 serenaded his Australian Party candidates on how to standout from other politicians, with his trademark Akubra hat in hand.

Despite appearing eccentric, Katter is an experienced politician who served in Queensland's government in the 1980s as a Nationals Party representative before running as an independent. He now represents the Queensland electorate of Kennedy in the lower house.

Katter said the Turnbull government would still need his support even if it manages to secure 76 seats or more after the vote counting is completed. He also maintained the right to change his mind.

"You try running a government with one vote up your sleeve," Katter told reporters.

"Don't have your mother die because you can't go to the funeral. Don't go to the bathroom... You are flying on a couple of votes, even a little nobody like me can knock you out of the ball game."