|Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly|
15 May 2012 – 24 March 2015
|Preceded by||John Mickel|
|Succeeded by||Peter Wellington|
|Deputy Leader of the Opposition of Queensland|
18 September 2006 – 25 July 2008
|Preceded by||Jeff Seeney|
|Succeeded by||Mark McArdle|
|Member of the Queensland Parliament
19 September 1992
|Preceded by||New seat|
18 April 1965 |
Sea Lake, Victoria
|Political party||Liberal National (2008–present)|
Fiona Stuart Simpson (born 18 April 1965 in Sea Lake, Victoria) is an Australian politician serving as Liberal National Party (LNP) member of the Legislative Assembly, representing Maroochydore. Simpson served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 2012 to 2015 and further served as the Deputy Leader of the Queensland National Party and Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2008.
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.
Simpson was a journalist prior to entering Parliament and was the State winner of the Dalgety Excellence in Rural Journalism Award 1989.
Simpson is the longest serving woman in the LNP party room and following the 2015 election, one of the longest serving Members of Parliament. 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. 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.
The end of Simpson's tenure as Speaker was signaled with the LNP's defeat at the Queensland state election, 2015. She unsuccessfully contested the LNP leadership and was subsequently appointed as Shadow Minister for Local Government, Main Roads, Community Recovery and Resilience.
Simpson was the first female Speaker of the Queensland Parliament's 150-year career. Simpson had previously spoken of the need to be proactive in encouraging women to stand for Parliament and other positions of leadership. Following her appointment, Simpson continued to encourage women to consider leadership. As Speaker, Simpson initiated the Queensland Inspiring Women Awards, for Members of Parliament to nominate women in their electorate and these awards had bipartisan support.
As Speaker, Simpson formally entered into a Parliamentary Partnership Agreement on 25 September 2013 between the Queensland Parliament and the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea to promote shared understanding and stronger Parliaments. This partnership was in addition to the Parliamentary Twinning relationship with the Parliament of Vanuatu.
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. 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, mental health psychologist Paul Martin and the gay community, neither Simpson nor the LNP have responded to questions to clarify her personal beliefs on the subject of the ex-gay movement. Fiona Simpson deleted her Facebook page following the controversy after it was inundated with criticism over her support of Exodus.
Contacted in 2015 about the 2002 comments, Simpson provided clarifying remarks, saying "I understand that there are people who have been hurt by (these comments and) their reporting and that deeply saddens me. When I made those comments in 2002 I was sharing a friend’s personal story. I believe equally that every person has the right to have their story heard and that every person is valuable and deserving of respect. I appreciate that different people will have different stories and our community is more welcoming when we listen more carefully and speak more compassionately.”
- Carolyn Tucker (1 December 2007). "High and mighty Nambour". The Daily. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- Steven Wardill and Rosemary Odgers (18 September 2006). "Seeney takes the reins". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- "MP Fiona Simpson to be appointed Queensland Parliament's first female Speaker". Courier Mail. 30 March 2012.
- Steven Wardill (20 February 2015). "Former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney left off new LNP frontbench". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- "Simpson's comments to Parliament (Hansard transcript)" (PDF).
- "LGBTI Round Table noms to close Friday". Star Observer. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Hurst, Daniel (27 October 2011). "Gay? Grow out of it, suggests MP". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- "Calls for resignation over MP’s ‘ex-gay’ comments". Star Observer. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Hurst, Daniel (28 October 2011). "Newman silent on gay cure furore". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Alexander, David (12 February 2015). "Past comments on Homosexuality re-emerge to haunt LNP Leader and MP". Star Observer. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
|Parliament of Queensland|
|Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
|Member for Maroochydore