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BIRD, the Hon. Sharon LeahBiography for BIRD, the Hon. Sharon Leah

Member for Cunningham (NSW)

Australian Labor Party

Parliamentary Service

Elected to the House of Representatives for Cunningham, New South Wales, 2004. Re-elected 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Retired prior to general elections 2022.

Parties Represented

Australian Labor Party. Served: 09.10.2004 to 11.04.2022

Parliamentary Positions

Member of the Speaker's Panel from 18.2.2008 to 13.3.2012.

Member of the Speaker's Panel from 11.10.2016 to 11.4.2022.

Ministerial Appointments

Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills from 5.3.2012 to 25.3.2013.

Minister for Higher Education and Skills from 25.3.2013 to 1.7.2013.

Minister for Regional Development from 1.7.2013 to 18.9.2013.

Minister for Regional Communications from 1.7.2013 to 18.9.2013.

Minister for Road Safety from 1.7.2013 to 18.9.2013.

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education from 18.10.2013 to 23.7.2016.

Parliamentary Party Positions
Committee Service

House of Representatives Select: Intergenerational Welfare Dependence served from 30.5.2018 to 2.4.2019

House of Representatives Standing: Transport and Regional Services served from 2.12.2004 to 17.10.2007; Education and Vocational Training served from 2.12.2004 to 17.10.2007; Economics, Finance and Public Administration served from 7.2.2007 to 28.2.2007; Economics, Finance and Public Administration served as Deputy Chair from 1.3.2007 to 17.10.2007; Procedure served from 19.2.2008 to 14.3.2012; Education and Training served as Chair from 19.2.2008 to 19.7.2010; Employment and Workplace Relations served from 19.2.2008 to 19.7.2010; Infrastructure and Communications served as Chair from 25.10.2010 to 14.3.2012; Education and Employment served from 27.2.2014 to 26.3.2015; Infrastructure, Transport and Cities served from 15.9.2016 to 11.4.2019; Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources served from 23.7.2019 to 23.7.2019; Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources served as Deputy Chair from 24.7.2019 to 11.4.2022

Joint Select: Road Safety served from 18.9.2019 to 9.11.2020

Joint Standing: Treaties served from 25.10.2010 to 14.3.2012

Joint Statutory: Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings served from 4.12.2013 to 9.5.2016

Party Positions

Officeholder of Australian Labor Party local executive branch from 1992.

Member of the Australian Labor Party Administrative Committee (NSW) from 1998 to 1999.

Qualifications and Occupations

DipEd (University of Wollongong).

BA (University of Sydney).

High school teacher from 1985 to 1989.

TAFE teacher from 1989 to 1995.

Electorate officer to C Hollis, MP from 1995 to 1997.

Senior Project Officer at the Department of Juvenile Justice (NSW) from 1997 to 2004.

Local Government Service

Councillor, Shellharbour City Council from 1991 to 1995.


Getting started in business English (with L Runko), Pitman, Melbourne, 1994.


Name: Cunningham

Location: Cunningham covers an area from Warrawong, Unanderra (part) and Farborough Heights in the south to Helensburgh in the north. The main towns include Balgownie, Bellambi, Bulli, Corrimal, Darkes Forest, Fairy Meadow, Farmborough Heights, Helensburgh, Maddens Plains, Mount Keira, Mount Kembla, Otford, Port Kembla, Scarborough, Stanwell Park, Unanderra (part), Warrawong and Wollongong.

Area: 519 Sq km

Electors enrolled: 115,231 (at 7.6.2019)

Industries: Wollongong is the commercial centre of the Illawarra, servicing tourism, tertiary education, steel production, coal mining, brick manufacturing and textiles.


Born: 15.11.1962, Wollongong, Australia

Gender: Female