Philip Clifford will soon become a familiar face at the local neighbourhood meetings as he seeks to introduce himself to the Northern Illawarra community as the Liberal Candidate for the Cunningham Electorate in the lead up to this year’s Federal election.
His great grandfather Ernst Schuman was the first caretaker when Kembla Grange Racecourse was established early 1900’s. His grandfather Harry Hoare (on his mums side) was a Publican at Thirroul Ryans Hotel in the mid 1940’s-50’s, and his other grandfather Cornelius Joseph (Jim) Clifford, was a steam train driver.
Phillip says, “I came from working class background, with dad an electrician at the steel works and coal mines. Everyone voted the blue collar way. I attended St Michael’s Catholic primary school in Thirroul and then St Paul’s College Bellambi (Now Holy Spirit) completing my Higher school certificate at Bulli High. I started working part time during school holidays at a local Bulli spinning mill from the age of 14, then after school at local Shell garage, currently the site of Thirroul Library and Community Centre.”
Phillip at the age of 20 married his wife Patricia Nelse and they built their first house in Treetop Glen Thirroul, and they currently live in Woonona with their two adult children. During his career Philip has worked at the Steelworks, Appin Colliery and has had several real estate businesses in Wollongong, from Richardson & Wrench, Jack Albert Real Estate and Ray White Commercial. Phillip is also a member of Woonona Surf Club and a member of Thirroul toastmasters club.
“Having been thru all the cycles within the Illawarra throughout the decades, It is time to do some serious community service. I know the Cunningham electorate from Heathcote road across to Bundeena and down to Unanderra in the south like the back of my hand.”
Phillip believes that he has a good grasp of the issues facing families within the region, cost of living issues, job losses and security of employment and the lack of major infrastructure projects in the area that generate employment opportunity. “I believe I have my feet on the ground and in tune with the community needs. I am not a career politician but I have had enough of the poor representation from the current government. I’ve been in the real world and I trust that voters will see me as a strong candidate, who will work hard for the betterment of the Cunningham Electorate”.
Phillip is seeking a fair go for our region and to demonstrate to the community that the power is in their hands by keeping our political leaders on their toes. “We don’t want to be ignored and left behind, and we need to know that the region and our Country are in safe political hands.”
Catch up with Phillip to chat about his colourful local history, and discuss your views on the future of our region, every second Wednesday of the month at Helensburgh Community Centre and every third Tuesday of month at Thirroul Library and Community Centre.