The New Liberals Chris Schmidt

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Chris Schmidt

Candidate for the seat of Sturt in South Australia

On my dad’s side, I am a first-generation Australian. My father’s family were ethnic Germans who were expelled from what is modern-day Poland after World War 2. They fled into the western controlled sectors of Germany and from there, my father and one sister eventually made their way to Australia.

My sister and I grew up in Housing Commission estates, on the wrong side of the tracks, first in Ipswich in Queensland, then the southern Brisbane suburbs. Due to health considerations, dad was on the pension and mum was a blind pensioner and we always struggled. I went to a state primary school but with the assistance of my grandparents they scrimped and saved and used up their life savings to send me to a private high school.

I know what it is to be rich and poor. I was bullied at school due to the fact my father was German. A period of homelessness, my experience with racism, my upbringing and experiences with disabilities have taught me compassion and understanding. This has developed in me a sense of justice which led me to becoming involved in refugee activism. I have been involved there for ten years or so and am passionate about fair treatment for our refugees.

For a career, I drifted into sales and marketing and worked hard. I became state sales manager for a solar company for a few years and run my own business as well. As an adult I went to university. Anything I have I have I had to fight for. I am just a typical hard-working Aussie who understands what it is to start off behind the eight ball. It is easier to get ahead if you go to the right schools, come from money to start with and are not from a disadvantaged group. Ten years ago, I moved down to South Australia to support my aged mother who was not well at the time.

I look forward to serving the people of South Australia and re-building a society where justice, decency and compassion reigns supreme.