Business owner Mike Kelly has announced he is standing as One Nation's candidate in the seat of Maranoa at the upcoming federal election.
Born in Barcaldine and doing his secondary education at St Brendan's in Yeppoon, the loss of his business in Queensland's COVID-lockdown phase means Mr Kelly will focus his campaign on principles of Australian democracy, which he says were threatened or discarded during the pandemic.
"I'll be backing Pauline Hanson's demand for a Royal Commission into the management of the COVID-19 pandemic by Australian governments," he said. "Lockdowns and mandates have destroyed lives, jobs and businesses but what is much more disturbing is how reluctant our governments have been to give up the power they've wielded over us."
Mr Kelly, a father of two and currently living in the Warwick region, was the general manager of a national real estate group and has run his own property business.
He was recognised for developing innovative lay-by products helping Australian families enter the property market and buy their own home sooner.
"I'm not afraid to roll my sleeves up and work hard for my community," he said.
"I've always admired the volunteer spirit in regional Queensland and the community nature of Australians who help others in need.
"It's the sort of approach I'll be taking to Canberra - working for the community rather than big corporate or union donors."
Mr Kelly said the government's management of the COVID pandemic is what motivated him to step up, and he chose One Nation because it seemed to be the most truthful.
"The Nationals have owned (Maranoa) since 1943 and David Littleproud has 65 per cent but so many are telling me they're disillusioned by the Nationals, it's a different beast to what it was when it was founded, so who knows," he said.
"If I manage to win the seat, I'd prefer to live in Barcy, but will go wherever I can do the job the best."
Mr Kelly said governments needed to ensure foreign-owned multinationals operating in Australia pay their fair share of tax, and that immigration needed to get back to sustainable levels to relieve increasing congestion in cities and take some heat off the housing market.
"We need to put Australia and Australians first. That's what Pauline Hanson does. That's what One Nation does. That's what I'm going to do too."
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