Philip Liu could well be a poster boy for the Liberal Party’s economic and entrepreneurial agenda. In fact, earlier this year, Environment Minister Greg Hunt referred to Liu as “someone who epitomises the message that the PM is trying to achieve”.
At just 32, he has spent five years as a consultant for multinational firm Ernst & Young, acted as the China-based General Manager for the Australia China Youth Association; and formed his own start-up, advising Asian investors looking to invest in Australian businesses, stocks and real estate.
Yet Liu faces the unenviable challenge of being one of the few Coalition candidates to be considered a ‘dead runner’ – he is not expected to gather enough support to mount a serious challenge.
With the electorate of Melbourne considered a left-wing stronghold, it would be a monumental task for Liu to leapfrog the sitting Greens MP Adam Bandt or Labor challenger Sophie Ismail. The Liberal Party has never done well in Melbourne and few would predict any change in this election.
Nonetheless, Liu sells himself as a passionate and resilient candidate. His first foray into politics was in the 2012 local council elections for the City of Stonnington as an independent. He secured 3.76% of the primary vote.
In this contest, he has taken his message to the streets; doing letterbox drops himself, unlike his more resourced Coalition counterparts. The occasional campaign poster adorns store windows in Chinatown in central Melbourne.
Liu will no doubt be banking on support from the local Chinese community. Around 10% of people in the electorate have some Chinese ancestry according to the most recent Census data, and Liu has spoken publicly about his optimism for the future of the local Chinese diaspora and their need for representation.
Having immigrated to Australia at the age of seven, and returning to his country of birth in 2014 to study at the prestigious Peking University, Liu should be well equipped to approach the electorate with both Australian and Chinese cultural sensitivities.
Aside from his ardent advocacy for the Coalition’s plan for a strong economy, and solid Australian-Asian relationships and trade, Liu also describes the National Disability Insurance Scheme as something close to his heart, having worked on the program during its inception.
“As I sat through the many documents that details how it was going to improve the lives of people with disability and those that support them, it reminded me the importance of our work and why it is needed”, he said on his official Facebook page.
It appears that Philip Liu has a bright future ahead of him.
But it’s highly unlikely his future will include a pale green seat in the House of Representatives - at least in the immediate future.
Despite numerous requests, UniPollWatch was not granted an interview with Liu. We were told requests had to be approved by the Liberal Party's campaign headquarters in Canberra, a process that had not been resolved after five weeks.