Bruce Liberal candidate unveiled

Bruce Liberal candidate Zahid Safi and La Trobe MP Jason Wood in Dandenong Park on 28 March.

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

An Afghan-born businessperson from Endeavour Hills has been pre-selected as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Bruce.

Zahid Safi says he was convinced to run by residents and businesses that were “hurting”.

“The community of Bruce has been neglected by the Labor party. The cost of living, the housing crisis and interest rate rises have been hurting them.”

Born in Afghanistan, Safi moved to Finland to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration.

On a visit to Australia, he saw staff with diverse backgrounds working in a bank and decided to settle here in 2013.

“I thought this country has opportunities for everyone.

“In Australia, you can access opportunity no matter who you are, and where you come from.

“I want to make sure that we will always have an open, free and tolerant society where people’s personal values are respected.”

Married with six children, Safi now runs a business in the “services sector” after previously working with people with disabilities in education and training.

One of his passions is improving access to mental health services.

“Since working with people with disabilities and having seen tragedies (suicides) happening recently … we need more awareness of mental health services and more access for the community.”

La Trobe MP Jason Wood endorsed Safi as a “true advocate, dedicated to addressing the pressing concerns of our community”.

“He commands deep respect within our community, and alongside his wife Zinab and their children, they exemplify a wonderful family unit.”

Once a supremely safe Labor seat, Bruce is held by long-time MP Julian Hill with a shrunken 6.6 per cent margin.

Wood says the Liberals are taking the seat “seriously” with Safi as a “serious candidate” who’s getting “strong support”.

“I look at the Albanese Government performance and the past week in Parliament. It’s an absolute shambles.

“There were promises to put down interest rates – they’ve gone up; they promised to reduce electricity bills – they’ve gone up. They spent 12 months on The Voice and people feel forgotten.”