Liz Cunningham

Interviewed by
Robin Sullivan and Rodney Sullivan
Aug 23 2012
Liz Cunningham
Time Summary Keywords

Liz Cunningham describes her childhood in Central Queensland. She comments on early political discussions within her family and the impact of religion on her values and decision making.

Central Queensland

Liz Cunningham discusses her education and decision to work rather than continue on to tertiary education due to the cost of further schooling.


Liz Cunningham describes her early career, first working at a supermarket, later at an insurance brokers, before briefly moving with her family to North Queensland. Later she moved to Sydney to attend Bible College where she met her future husband John.

North Queensland

Liz Cunningham describes how she moved to Gladstone to be closer to a hospital during her pregnancy. Later she moved to Calliope where she became involved with local government due to a conflict between the Calliope Rate and Tax Payers Association and the Calliope Council. She describes the physical area of the Calliope Shire which included Calliope, Mount Larcom, the Boyne Valley and Boyne Tannum.

Calliope Shire, Central Queensland, Gladstone, local government

Liz Cunningham discusses her early experiences as a local government councillor. She describes some of the challenges and tensions during this part of her career. She describes how she contested the position of Mayor.

Independent, local government, mayoral elections

Liz Cunningham reflects on the support she received from the community to run for Mayor and explains why she has chosen to remain an Independent.

Independent, local government, mayoral elections

Liz Cunningham describes how she was able to institute change within the Calliope Council towards the community. She recalls her success in preventing the EARC recommended amalgamation and the effect this had bringing the Calliope Council together.

Calliope Shire, Central Queensland, EARC

Liz Cunningham discusses the tension between the Councils of Calliope and the City of Gladstone until the council amalgamation in 2008. She discusses why she chose to transition to State politics as an Independent politician.

Bob Katter, Calliope Shire, Citizens Electoral Council, Col Brown, Gladstone, Independent, Local council amalgamations

Liz Cunningham describes aspects of her campaign strategy. She explains how she lost her first election challenge in 1992 but went on to win in 1995. She discusses the subsequent decision to prevent sitting council members from running for state seats.

1992 election, 1995 election, campaign strategy

Liz Cunningham explains why she choose to support Rob Borbidge in the Mundingburra by-election. She describes her relationship with the Borbidge Government following the decision.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, koala habitat, Mundingburra by-election 1996, Rob Borbidge, Wayne Goss

Liz Cunningham explains how the Police MOU did not have any impact on her decision to support the Borbidge Government. She tells an amusing story about a planned family holiday at the time of the Mundingburra by-election.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, Memorandum of Understanding, Mundingburra by-election 1996, Russell Cooper

Liz Cunningham discusses the formation in 1998 of the Beattie Government with the support of Independent MP Peter Wellington. 

1998 election, Beattie Government 1998-2007, One Nation, Peter Wellington, Rob Borbidge

Liz Cunningham comments on the leadership styles of Rob Borbidge, Wayne Goss and Peter Beattie. She describes the debates she had with Santo Santoro on Work Cover and industrial relations bills.

Denver Beanland, Peter Beattie, Rob Borbidge, Santo Santoro, Wayne Goss

Liz Cunningham comments on Peter Beattie's criticisms that during his time as Premier, the Independent members were acting as group, not unlike a political party.

Chris Foley, Dorothy Pratt, Independent, One Nation, Peter Beattie, Rosa Lee Long

Liz Cunningham describes some of the advantages of being an independent MP. She describes how she handles the differences between what some members of her community want and her own personal values.

abortion, Central Queensland, euthanasia, Independent, prostitution, Rob Borbidge, Wayne Goss

Liz Cunningham discusses why she choose to vote against the use of embryonic stem cells.


Liz Cunningham discusses women in politics. She describes how she feels she had not had difficulties due to her gender but acknowledges that this may be different for women party politicians.

sexual discrimination, women

Liz Cunningham reflects on her involvement in the reformation of laws regarding the assault of pregnant women.

Denver Beanland, Fiona Simpson, sexual assault

Liz Cunningham discusses what she would like to achieve in the future for her electorate, including meeting some infrastructure challenges such as upgrading the hospital. She explains why she continues to enjoy her career and how the support of her family has made this possible.

Independent, work life balance

Interview ends