Former premier Mike Ahern 'left Qld a better place'

Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Queensland has bid farewell to a former premier remembered as the right leader for a turbulent time and whose reforms left the state a better place.

Political figures past and present joined Mike Ahern's family at a state funeral on the Sunshine Coast following his death two weeks ago aged 81.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli, Governor Jeanette Young and federal coalition leader Peter Dutton were among those at the packed service.

The long-serving National Party MP who led the state from 1987 to 1989 was hailed as a leader of integrity and courage as well as a loving, encouraging father.

Mr Ahern rose to the top job after the landmark Fitzgerald inquiry into police and official corruption led to the resignation of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The new premier made a number of electoral and public administration reforms after famously declaring he would implement inquiry's findings "lock, stock and barrel".

It was a line Ms Palaszczuk said would reverberate through parliament and the state forever.

"The saying 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' could easily have been coined to apply to Mike Ahern," the premier told mourners.

"He committed himself to adopting Fitzgerald's recommendations with arguably the four most profound words ever uttered in our political history.

"The committees Mike introduced to parliament including ethics and estimates remain enduring cornerstones of our democracy.

"Vale premier, you left Queensland a better place."

Mr Crisafulli said Mr Ahern would loom large in reviews of Queensland's 20th century political history.

His sense of duty, dedication and "unstinting enthusiasm" left a lasting legacy across politicians young and old.

"Those engaged in public affairs need look no further for guidance and how to meet our obligations," the LNP leader said.

"We all draw lessons from the lives of others. From Mike Ahern, we learn that putting others over self and putting the community interest first is a measure of a fulfilling life."

While Mr Ahern served his state for two decades, his children remembered him as a dad full of encouragement and good humour.

"My dad had guts, unwavering determination, and a mastery of a clutch which was something to be admired, but his superpower was his ability to think under pressure," his son John said.

"I know I've got big shoes to fill. I will try to be that leader to live dad's example."

His daughter Christine said he "always taught us to laugh even when life dumped on you and to keep moving forward".

"Don't give up - you'll eventually make it past the breakers and into clear air." 

Born in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast, Mr Ahern studied agricultural science at the University of Queensland before joining the Young Country Party.

He succeeded Sir Frank Nicklin in the electorate of Landsborough in 1968 and became the youngest person elected to Queensland parliament.

He is survived by his wife Andrea and children Louise, Claire, John, Christine and Sharon, and 10 grandchildren.