Gladys Liu is a prominent member of the Liberal Party, and a leading voice in the Chinese community in Victoria.
She was born in Hong Kong, one of six brothers and sisters. Her parents were manual workers in China and went to Hong Kong in the early 1960s. In 1985 Gladys won a scholarship to study Speech Therapy in Melbourne. She performed factory and restaurant work in order to finance her education.
After completing her Bachelor of Applied Science degree at La Trobe University in 1988, she worked as a speech pathologist in the state Department of Education from 1989 to 2004. From 2000 she also developed her own private speech pathology practice, which she later operated full-time until 2008. Having worked in various hospitality jobs as a student, from 2000 to 2003 she managed two restaurants as a Co-Owner in Box Hill and Richmond.
In 1992, one week before the birth of her first child, she became an Australian citizen. In 2003, she joined the Liberal Party. She soon became an energetic spokesperson for the Liberal cause, particularly within the ethnic Chinese community of Melbourne, and was a Legislative Council candidate in 2006, 2010 and 2014. From 2007 she served as Multicultural Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition Ted Baillieu, continuing to advise Mr Baillieu following his election as Premier in 2010, and again under his successor, Premier Denis Napthine.
She has performed various significant roles in the Victorian Liberal Party, including serving on the Victorian Administrative Committee, chairing its Communities Engagement Committee, and founding the Chinese Liberals Association and the Eastern Multicultural Branch. Across various roles including as a candidate, she proved to be one of the most effective fund-raisers in the Victorian Division.
In 2016 she played a significant role in the campaign for the federal seat of Chisholm, in particular organising a Chinese-language social media campaign that engaged the large ethnic Chinese community in that electorate. After Chisholm ultimately proved to be the only seat in Australia that the Liberal Party gained from Labor to secure a one-seat majority, the Labor candidate acknowledged the Chinese-language campaign as a major factor.
Since the Coalition’s loss of government at state level in 2014, Gladys has worked in a number of business roles, including as Head of Business Development and Corporate Social Responsibility Advisor for Canaan Lawyers, and Director of Blue Ribbon Consultancy. She has a high profile in Melbourne’s Chinese-language media.
Gladys’ hobbies include music and chess. As a schoolgirl she was a member of the Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra, playing trombone. She was President of Box Hill Chess Club in 2007 and 2008, and played a key role in building it into the largest chess club in Australia.
Gladys has raised two highly achieving children. Her daughter, Sally Yu 24, Australian U18 Girls Chess Champion, a frisbee player at the National League level, graduated from Princeton and currently works for Bain and Company Consultancy. Her son, Derek Yu 26, also a management consultant at Bain and Company, is furthering his study at Harvard Business School doing the MBA course.