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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.

Parliamentary Positions

from 18.2.2008 to 13.3.2012 (Member, Speaker's Panel from 18.2.08 to 13.3.12).

from 11.10.2016 to (Member, Speaker's Panel from 11.10.16).

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 from 4.12.2013 to 9.5.2016.

Joint Standing: Treaties from 25.10.2010 to 14.3.2012; Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings from 15.9.2016.

House of Representatives Standing: Transport and Regional Services from 2.12.2004 to 17.10.2007; Education and Vocational Training from 2.12.2004 to 17.10.2007; 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; Education and Training from 19.2.2008 to 19.7.2010 (Chair from 13.3.2008 to 19.7.2010); 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.

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

BA (University of Sydney)

DipEd (University of Wollongong)

High school teacher 1985-89

TAFE teacher 1989-95

Electorate officer to C Hollis, MP 1995-97

Senior Project Officer, Dept of Juvenile Justice (NSW) 1997-2004

Local Government Service

Councillor, Shellharbour City Council from 1991 to 1995.


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


Location: the south coast of New South Wales; it includes 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: 111,304 (at 2.7.2016)

Industries: tourism, tertiary education, steel production, coal mining, brick manufacturing and textiles.

Electorate: Cunningham includes the New South Wales Legislative Assembly electorate of Keira, and parts of Heathcote and Wollongong.