OUTSPOKEN politician Bob Katter sees Ipswich as a "happy hunting ground" for his recently-formed maverick party.
Mr Katter visited Riverlink yesterday before holding a forum at North Ipswich RSL Services Club about Katter's Australian Party.
"I've been to Ipswich a few times and my reaction is raging fury," he said. "They completely destroyed this town as a centre of railway workshops.
"A lot of the work has gone overseas and been scattered all over Australia whereas we had a good, solid, safe workforce here.
"They say it's more efficient if you put it out to private enterprise. In 1979 there were 23,000 railway employees. Ten years later there were 22,000.
"Within six years under a Labor Party government they were chopped down to about 14,000.
"So much for the Labor Party looking after Ipswich, a town that has given them loyalty for 100 years.
"That's how they repaid that loyalty; they spat on the people of Ipswich.
"What you see in Ipswich, multiply that by 10,000 and that's what's happening in Australia and that's why we formed the party."
Not that he saves all his anger for the Labor Party, mind.
"We're all out of this Woolworths and Coles of politics," he said. "'We have to get rid of the Labor Party'. Why, so we can put you mongrels in? You were here for 12 years, who do you think was responsible for the railways rolling their swag here?
"The ALP was primarily but because of your over-riding policies of free markets, you would have done it faster.
"We will support the party that supports our policies."
He says his party stands for lower interest rates, creating a true level playing field for industry and agriculture, collective bargaining, food labelling and freedom.
"The freedom issue is very closely related to property rights, which is very relevant to the people of Ipswich," he said.
"I mean, they think they can just come and take your property away from you because there's coal underneath it.
"Well I've got news for you Buster Brown, the Crown doesn't own my land, I do. It's the people's land."
He said he and state leader Aiden McLindon were meeting with prospective candidates and would announce them in the next couple of weeks.
Last week Justin Bowman was endorsed as the candidate for Ipswich West in the next state election.
"We've got no precedent for what we're doing expect for Pauline Hanson and she won the federal seat here and three state seats in this area," Mr Katter said.
"So we would see Ipswich as our happy hunting ground. Who's been hurt most by this privatisation megalomania of the ALP and the LNP? Who's been hit worst by the railway cutbacks? Who's been sold out by the ALP members of Parliament?
"We already know we have a lot of support around here."
He said he didn't want to take sides in the Labor leadership debate but said a landslide at the next election would be bad for the country.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.