Suzanne (Sue) Margaret West was born in Cowra, NSW and grew up on family grazing property. Her initial education was with Blackfriars Correspondence School, then Cowra Public and High Schools.
She undertook General Nursing training at Cowra District Hospital followed by Midwifery at King George V Memorial Hospital (RPAH), Mothercraft and Community Health at Cumberland College of Health Sciences (now part of Sydney University). She is a member of the Australian College of Nursing.
Sue joined the ALP in 1974 and has held executive positions at branch, SEC and FEC levels. She also served as International Secretary of the Party between 1997 and 2014.
Sue served in the Australian Senate in 1987, and then from 1990-2002, also serving as Deputy President of Senate between 1997 and 2002.
During her time in the Senate, Sue served on many Senate Committees including Rural and Regional Affairs and Community Affairs which covered health and welfare matters.
Sue is currently a member of the ALP International Party Development Committee (IPDC), the NSW ALP Administrative Committee and the NSW ALP Finance and Compliance Committee.
Sue is active in many community organisations and is a Life Member of the Australian Labor Party.