|00:00:14||Rosemary Kyburz discusses her Greek background, education at Newcastle Girls School, a selective high school, and at teacher's college.|
|00:01:21||Rosemary Kyburz describes how she became interested in politics while teaching in Argentina after being shocked by the 'macho' culture of that country. On return to Australia she stood for the Liberal Party in 1972 in the Queensland state seat of Salisbury, with the support of her local tennis club and no campaign money. She had no problem getting endorsement as it was a safe Labor seat and no men were willing to nominate. She did not win.||1972 election, Argentina, campaign strategy, sexism|
|00:05:06||Rosemary Kyburz states that she joined the Liberal Party because her father was a Liberal, and she had been taught to value her vote.|
|00:06:01||Rosemary Kyburz discusses her decision to stand in the 1974 Queensland state election for the seat of Salisbury for the Liberal Party as again no male wanted endorsement. She had $500 campaign money, the support of the tennis club and had two dozen election posters printed for a large electorate that took in Woodridge, what is now Algester, and Moorooka. Because Joh Bjelke-Petersen campaigned on an anti-Whitlam platform, Kyburz was elected. Only two women were elected in 1974, Kyburz and Vicky Kippin (National Party, Mourilyan electorate) in north Queensland.||1974 election, campaign strategy, Gough Whitlam, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Vicky Kippin, women|
|00:07:34||Rosemary Kyburz describes the reaction to her election as the first woman Liberal Party member of Queensland state parliament, attitudes to women, her determination to dress differently to men by wearing colour. She found parliament 'antique' and full of stuffed shirts. She was upset by the decision of the principal at Coopers Plains State School (where she had been teaching) to not allow her to say goodbye to her class. She had not taken leave from her teaching position for the election campaign.||women|
|00:10:55||Rosemary Kyburz discusses her evolving political agenda and her feminism. She was invited to Ingham by women to attend a public meeting regarding sexual violence against women, which resulted in press coverage and police action. Her other issues and concerns were the environment and education reform including class size, children with special needs and itinerant children.||education reform, feminism, sexual assault|
|00:13:30||Rosemary Kyburz outlines her involvement with the Education Committee following Mike Ahern's education report. In 1974 Queensland had relatively few high schools and high school attendance was low. She discusses issues regarding teacher-librarians, classroom resources and sex education.||Education Committee, education reform, Mike Ahern, Sex education|
|00:16:05||Rosemary Kyburz describes her reaction to opponents of sex education such as Rona Joyner, and the role of teachers in parliament.||education reform, Rona Joyner, Sex education|
|00:19:38||Rosemary Kyburz describes her maiden speech on the environment, notably the Great Barrier Reef. In the joint party room Joh Bjelke-Petersen would express his support for drilling for oil on the reef.||Environment, Great Barrier Reef, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, maiden speech, oil|
|00:21:45||Rosemary Kyburz reflects on the sexual division of issues, with men more concerned in this era with the economy and money. Her concerns included housing developments, maintaining green corridors, protecting land from over-development.||Algester, Calamvale, development, Environment, housing, Redland Bay, Sunnybank Hills|
|00:23:25||Rosemary Kyburz describes the demolition of the Bellevue Hotel, the role of the police, the anger of the Liberal Party members with Joh Bjelke-Petersen and her ongoing distrust of the National Party.||Bellevue Hotel, Coalition, development, heritage, Joh Bjelke-Petersen|
|00:26:13||Rosemary Kyburz outlines her role in the defeat of the Pregnancy Termination Control Bill in 1980 and the vile personal campaign waged against her by the League of Rights, and the support of the bill by the Queensland Labor leader and Catholic Ed Casey.||abortion, League of Rights, personal vilification, Pregnancy Termination Control Bill|
|00:30:28||Rosemary Kyburz discusses her reputation for crossing the floor, leaks from the party room, lack of opportunity for debate in the party room, and states that now crossing the floor would not be possible due to greater party discipline. She states that there was no such thing as independents in her era.||crossing the floor, party discipline|
|00:34:10||Rosemary Kyburz describes her marriage to Queensland state parliamentarian Rob Akers, their domestic arrangements maintaining two households, and her giving birth to two children while in parliament, and the difficulties experienced by women with children in parliament.||women|
|00:37:38||Rosemary Kyburz describes losing her seat in the 1983 Queensland state election to future Labor Premier Wayne Goss, the campaign against her by the National Party who directed preferences to Labor, and describes herself as a Green.||1983 election, Greens Party, Wayne Goss|
|00:40:18||Rosemary Kyburz reflects on her lack of induction to parliament, her difficulties in dealing with members of her electorate who would come to her house in Salisbury with their problems, establishment of her electorate office, her lack of knowledge of protocols in dealing with the public service.||induction, relationship with public service|
|00:42:45||Rosemary Kyburz describes her post political career including her education and social policy degrees, her regrets over badly planned housing commission areas, and her work with the Children's Services Tribunal.||Children's Services Tribunal, housing, social policy, Woodridge|
Rosemary Kyburz was a keen advocate of women’s issues, education reform and the environment, representing the seat of Salisbury 1974-83. She was the first woman member of the Liberal Party to be elected to the Queensland legislature.
Born in Sydney on 16 April 1944, Rosemary Kyburz was part of a large Greek family where political discussions were central. She attended both high school and teacher training college in Newcastle before travelling and teaching in Argentina and Europe. On returning to Australia, she settled in Brisbane, taking an active interest in local politics. Easily gaining preselection for a so-called unwinnable seat, and after an unsuccessful attempt in 1972, she was elected in 1974 when the safe Labor seat of Salisbury fell to the Liberals following a strong anti-Whitlam campaign from Premier Bjelke-Petersen.
She saw parliament as an ‘antique sort of a place’ and initially struggled without the benefit of an induction process or an electorate office. Over time Kyburz came to be known as an outspoken member of the Liberal Party Ginger Group who was willing to cross the floor. She was an advocate for environmental and educational issues, actively involved in the Ahern Report investigating education reform and a particular advocate of the importance of teacher librarians and smaller class sizes. As a feminist, Kyburz was also a strong advocate of women’s rights and helped defeat the Pregnancy Termination Control Bill despite personal vilification and intimidation.
In 1981 Kyburz became the first woman to marry another member of the Legislative Assembly (Rob Akers, MLA Pine Rivers) while in office and later the first woman to have a baby while in office. She lost her seat in the 1983 election to Wayne Goss. After leaving parliament she undertook further study at the University of Queensland and maintained her interest in education and social justice.
Copyright © The Centre for the Government of Queensland, the University of Queensland, 2011.
The copyright holder of this material grants users permission to access the material on this website for the following purposes only: research and study, education, other non-commercial and non-public uses.