Liz Cunningham

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Elizabeth Anne "Liz" Cunningham is an Australian politician. She has been an independent member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly since 1995, representing the electorate of Gladstone. A conservative MLA in a traditionally Labor district, Cunningham is perhaps most well known for having brought Rob Borbidge's Coalition minority government to power in 1996, following the then Goss Labor government's loss in the Mundingburra by-election.

Cunningham was involved in local politics prior to entering state politics, serving on the Calliope Shire Council from 1988 to 1995 and serving as its mayor from 1991 to 1995. A social conservative and devout Christian running in a traditionally Labor seat, she ran a strong campaign on "back to basics" issues, in particular concern about the downgrading of Gladstone Hospital, and was only narrowly defeated by Australian Labor Party candidate Neil Bennett in 1992. Three years later, she defeated Bennett on her second attempt due to National preferences, to become the first non-Labor MLA for Gladstone in more than sixty years.

Cunningham's victory was especially significant in the light of the extremely close result of the 1995 state election. It initially appeared as if the result would be a hung parliament with Cunningham holding the balance of power, although later counting delivered a one-seat majority to the Wayne Goss Labor government. The situation nevertheless gave her significant influence, as she forced the...
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