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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.

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.

Committee Service

Joint Statutory: Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings (formerly Broadcasting) from 4.12.2013 to 9.5.2016.

Joint Standing: Treaties from 25.10.2010 to 14.3.2012.

Joint Select: Road Safety from 18.9.2019 to 9.11.2020.

House of Representatives Standing: Transport and Regional Services from 2.12.2004 to 17.10.2007; Education and Training (Education and Vocational Training from 1.12.2004 to 17.10.2007) from 2.12.2004 to 19.7.2010 (Chair from 13.3.2008 to 19.7.2010); Economics, Finance and Public Administration from 7.2.2007 to 17.10.2007 (Chair from 1.3.2007 to 17.10.2007); Employment and Workplace Relations from 19.2.2008 to 19.7.2010; Procedure from 19.2.2008 to 14.3.2012; Infrastructure and Communications from 25.10.2010 to 14.3.2012 (Chair from 27.10.2010 to 14.3.2012); Education and Employment from 25.2.2014 to 26.3.2015; Infrastructure, Transport and Cities from 15.9.2016 to 23.7.2019; Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources from 23.7.2019 to 11.4.2022 (Deputy Chair from 24.7.2019 to 11.4.2022).

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

Parliamentary Party Positions

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education from 18.10.2013 to 23.7.2016.

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.


Born 15.11.1962, Wollongong, Australia

Qualifications and Occupations before entering Federal Parliament

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.