Fiona Simpson

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The Honourable
Fiona Simpson
MP
Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 May 2012
Deputy Michael Robinson
Preceded by John Mickel
Deputy Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
18 September 2006 – 25 July 2008
Leader Jeff Seeney
Lawrence Springborg
Preceded by Jeff Seeney
Succeeded by Mark McArdle
Member of the Queensland Parliament
for Maroochydore
Incumbent
Assumed office
19 September 1992
Preceded by New seat
Personal details
Political party Liberal National (2008–present)
Other political
affiliations
National (1989–2008)

Fiona Stuart Simpson (born 18 April 1965 in Sea Lake, Victoria) is an Australian politician who is the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland and a Liberal National Party (LNP) member of the Legislative Assembly, representing Maroochydore. She was the Deputy Leader of the Queensland National Party and Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2008.

Education[edit]

Simpson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese, Journalism and Government and a Masters of Organisational Leadership. She also has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Diploma and an executive leadership course at John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. She was a Rotary Exchange Student to Japan, and prior to that attended Nambour State High School.[1]

Political career[edit]

Simpson is the most senior woman in the LNP caucus, having won eight elections. When she won the newly created Sunshine Coast seat of Maroochydore in 1992, she was the youngest woman ever to be elected to Legislative Assembly.

Simpson has had shadow ministerial responsibility for Health, Transport, Main Roads, Tourism, Women, Communities, Housing and Waste Watch, in addition to having been elected Deputy Leader of the Queensland National Party (and therefore Deputy Leader of the Opposition) on 18 September 2006.[2] While Deputy Leader, Simpson was a key player in the merger with the Queensland Liberal Party, which created the Liberal National Party of Queensland. She voluntarily stepped aside as Deputy Opposition Leader in favour of Liberal Party Leader Mark McArdle to help facilitate the merger.

Following the LNP's win at the 2012 election, Premier Campbell Newman announced she would be nominated for Speaker.[3] She was elected the body's first female speaker on 15 May 2012.

Controversy[edit]

During a parliamentary debate in 2002 on changes to anti-discrimination laws that would prevent faith-based schools from discriminating against teachers not of their faith, including gay and lesbian teachers, Simpson referred to acquaintances who are 'former' homosexuals. Simpson also said that she had previously interviewed Sy Rogers, a leader in ministering to 'former' homosexuals within the controversial ex-gay movement, specifically from Exodus International.[4] In her speech to Parliament, Simpson contrasted what she called "some very genuinely held beliefs" that homosexuality is an unchangeable, born trait with those who believe that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice", such that homosexuals may choose to "grow into heterosexuality over time".

Media attention was brought to these comments in 2011, and despite the comments drawing criticism from Karen Struthers,[5] mental health psychologist Paul Martin[6] and the gay community,[7] neither Simpson nor the LNP have responded to questions to clarify her personal beliefs on the subject of the ex-gay movement.[8] Fiona Simpson deleted her Facebook page following the controversy after it was inundated with criticism over her support of Exodus.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carolyn Tucker (1 December 2007). "High and mighty Nambour". The Daily. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  2. ^ Steven Wardill and Rosemary Odgers (18 September 2006). "Seeney takes the reins". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "MP Fiona Simpson to be appointed Queensland Parliament's first female Speaker". Courier Mail. 30 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Simpson's comments to Parliament (Hansard transcript)". 
  5. ^ "LGBTI Round Table noms to close Friday". Star Observer. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Hurst, Daniel (27 October 2011). "Gay? Grow out of it, suggests MP". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Calls for resignation over MP’s ‘ex-gay’ comments". Star Observer. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Hurst, Daniel (28 October 2011). "Newman silent on gay cure furore". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
John Mickel
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
2012–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Maroochydore
1992–present
Incumbent