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University of Queensland
Joan Sheldon Wikipedia
Joan Mary Sheldon (born 29 April 1943) is an Australian politician. She was a Liberal Party of Australia member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 1990 to 2004, representing the electorates of Landsborough (1990-1992) and then Caloundra (1992-2004). She was the state Liberal leader from 1991 to 1998, and served as Deputy Premier in the Borbidge government from 1996 to 1998.
Sheldon was born in Bundaberg, Queensland, and attended St Bernadette's Primary School and Soutirous College. She studied physiotherapy at the University of Queensland and subsequently studied for a time at Trinity College London. Sheldon operated a physiotherapy practice in Brisbane from 1978 to 1984, when she moved to Caloundra.
A long-time member of the Liberal Party, she contested and won preselection for the National-held seat of Landsborough upon the 1990 resignation of former Premier Mike Ahern. She won an upset victory after Labor declined to stand a candidate, winning a 15% swing in her favour. In November 1991, she defeated Denver Beanland for the Liberal leadership, becoming the first female party leader in Queensland.
An ally of Liberal state president Paul Everingham, she was seen as less hostile to the National Party than her predecessor.
Sheldon led the party to a resounding defeat in the 1992 state election, losing a seat to Labor amidst high-profile tensions with the National Party.
She supported proposals for a merger or coalition in the wake of the loss, and subsequently led the Liberal Party back into coalition with the National Party in November 1992, after nine years apart.
She subsequently served as Shadow Treasurer under Borbidge in the leadup to the 1995 state election, which resulted in a one-seat victory for Labor. The result was reversed in February 1996 when a court-ordered by-election resulted in a Liberal victory, and the Liberal-National Coalition gained office with the support of an independent. Sheldon was thus sworn in as Deputy Premier and Treasurer under Borbidge and became the first woman in Queensland to hold these roles. During the transition period of 19 to 26 February 1996, she held several ministries including Attorney-General.