|Senator for the Australian Capital Territory|
25 March 2015 – 9 May 2018
|Preceded by||Kate Lundy|
|Succeeded by||David Smith|
|6th Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory|
16 May 2011 – 11 December 2014
|Preceded by||Jon Stanhope|
|Succeeded by||Andrew Barr|
|10th Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory|
20 April 2006 – 16 May 2011
|Preceded by||Ted Quinlan|
|Succeeded by||Andrew Barr|
|7th Treasurer of the Australian Capital Territory|
11 November 2008 – 30 June 2011
|Preceded by||Jon Stanhope|
|Succeeded by||Andrew Barr|
|9th Minister for Health|
20 April 2006 – 11 December 2014
|Preceded by||Simon Corbell|
|Succeeded by||Simon Corbell|
|Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly for Molonglo|
20 October 2001 – 23 December 2014
|Preceded by||Jacqui Burke|
|Succeeded by||Meegan Fitzharris|
Katherine Ruth Gallagher|
18 March 1970
Weston Creek, Canberra, Australia
|Political party||Australian Labor|
|Alma mater||Australian National University|
|Profession||Social worker, union organiser|
Katherine Ruth Gallagher (born 18 March 1970) is a former Australian politician, a former member of the Australian Senate, and the former Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory and member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from 2001 to 2014, representing the electorate of Molonglo for the Labor Party. She was also Minister for Health, Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Regional Development.
On 5 December 2014 Gallagher announced she would resign from the territory parliament, and run to replace Kate Lundy in the Australian Senate. On 11 December 2014 she resigned as Chief Minister and Andrew Barr was elected as her replacement. She was appointed to the Senate by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 25 March 2015, a day after Lundy's formal resignation, and was formally sworn in on the 26th.
On 9 May 2018 Gallagher was disqualified from sitting in the Australian Senate by the full bench of the High Court of Australia for breaching section 44(i) of the Constitution for failing to renounce her British citizenship before nomination in the 2016 federal election.
Early years and background
Gallagher was born and raised in the Weston Creek district of Canberra. She was educated in Duffy, and at Melrose High School and Canberra College (previously known as Stirling College), before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology at the Australian National University in 1990.
She was initially employed as a social worker, assisting with a community life skills project and working with children with disabilities. From 1994 to 1997, she worked as an advocate for People First ACT, a support and advocacy organisation for the intellectually disabled. Around this time, Gallagher became involved in the labour movement, and took on a position with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), first working as a case manager and then a national organiser.
In 1997, Gallagher's fiancé, Brett Seaman (also a CPSU organiser), was killed in a cycling accident in Merimbula. At the time, Gallagher was 13 weeks pregnant with her first daughter. An 86-year-old female pensioner narrowly escaped a jail term for dangerous and irresponsible driving for the crash. The union movement assisted Gallagher with the funeral and court case that followed the accident.
Australian Capital Territory politics
The support provided to Gallagher by the Labor Party and union movement inspired her to run for pre-selection as one of the Labor candidates for the electorate of Molonglo for the 2001 ACT general election. At the time, Labor had two incumbent members in the Assembly representing Molonglo. Long-serving independent Michael Moore retired at the election. The election saw Labor come to power, led by Jon Stanhope. Despite Gallagher winning just 4.38% of the first preference vote, following distribution of preferences, Gallagher was elected as the fifth member to the seven member seat, behind Humphries, Tucker, Corbell, and Quinlan.
Gallagher was appointed to the second arrangement of the first Stanhope ministry on 23 December 2002, when she was given the portfolios of education, youth and family services; women; and industrial relations. A minor change on 26 May 2004 saw Gallagher's ministry for education, youth and family services divided into separate responsibilities.
At the 2004 ACT general election, Gallagher polled strongly, generating 11.59% of the first preference vote and was the first candidate elected to represent Molonglo in the Assembly, ahead of both Labor colleagues, Quinlan and Corbell. Gallager's ministerial responsibilities were unchanged in the first arrangement of the second Stanhope ministry and, on 20 April 2006, following the retirement of Ted Quinlan, she was promoted to Deputy Chief Minister with ministerial responsibilities including health, disability and community services, and women. The ministry for children and young people was restored to Gallagher's responsibilities on 17 April 2007.
At the 2008 ACT general election, Gallagher again polled strongly, generating 15.78% of the first-preference vote and was the second candidate elected to represent Molonglo in the Assembly, behind Liberal leader, Seselja. In the third Stanhope ministry, Gallagher took on ministerial responsibility for treasury, in addition to retaining both health and women; whilst a subsequent reshuffle on 9 November 2009 saw her resume ministerial responsibility for industrial relations and lose the portfolio of women.
Minister for Health
Amid allegations of bullying, it was reported in early 2010 that nine obstetricians had resigned from Canberra Hospital in the preceding 13 months. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists called on Gallagher to conduct an external, transparent review of the hospital; and, although initially denying the claims, Gallagher agreed to two external reviews, one to look at workplace issues and the other to investigate patient outcomes. The patient outcome review, when handed down in August 2010, sharply criticised hospital management with regards to workload, but stated that patient care was adequate. A number of months earlier, Gallagher faced pressure from the Catholic Church, following an agreement that the ACT Government would purchase Calvary Hospital (in Bruce) from the Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCMHC) – an independent arm of the Church – for $77m. Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell claimed that the Government's motives were ideological and driven by anti-Christian elements. Gallagher denied the claims. A dispute subsequently arose between LCMHC and the Government over an accounting concession and the government withdrew from the purchase. The culmination of these matters led the Liberal leader, Zed Seselja, on 17 August 2010, to move a no confidence vote in the Assembly against Gallagher as Minister for Health as follows:
That this Assembly no longer has confidence in the Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, for her continued neglect of the Health portfolio, most particularly... management failure, staff bullying, over working, and poor processes; ... complete failure in the Calvary Hospital purchase; ... and many instances of attacking those who made complaints, ignoring those who gave advice, and dealing with the problems through denial and neglect; ... and the ongoing poor performance of the ACT health system ...
On 12 May 2011, while Gallagher was deputy chief minister, the current chief minister at the time, Jon Stanhope, resigned. On 16 May 2011, Gallagher was elected by the Assembly as the ACT's 6th Chief Minister and 3rd female Chief Minister. The ALP won an additional seat in the 2012 Australian Capital Territory general election, and remained in government after securing the support of the sole remaining Green MLA.
During her term as Chief Minister, Gallagher welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the ACT on their Australian tour in April 2014.
On 5 December 2014 Gallagher announced that she would resign as chief minister to pursue the upcoming Senate vacancy left by the resignation of Kate Lundy. She resigned as Chief Minister and her former deputy Andrew Barr was elected as her replacement on 11 December 2014.
Gallagher was sworn in as a Senator on 26 March 2015. On 25 September 2015 Gallagher nominated to join the Shadow Ministry in the Labor Party Caucus. She was elected by the caucus alongside Jim Chalmers unopposed.
On 13 October 2015, Gallagher was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in the roles of Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations. She held those positions until 23 July 2016 when she was promoted to Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services. On 12 September 2016, Gallagher was also appointed as Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.
As a Senator, Gallagher joined her former territory foe former ACT Liberal leader Zed Seselja in the Senate. Seselja had resigned as ACT Opposition leader and from the territory Parliament for his successful bid for the Senate. As the ACT has two Senate seats, the ACT is represented in the Senate by former territory foes Gallagher and Seselja.
On 6 December 2017, at her own request, the Senate referred Gallagher to the High Court of Australia to determine her eligibility for election in the 2016 federal election as a part of the 2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis.
On 9 May 2018, in a unanimous decision, the full bench of the High Court of Australia found that Gallagher was not eligible for election at the 2016 federal election given that she had still been a British citizen when nominating as a candidate on 31 May 2016 for the election which was held on 2 July 2016. Gallagher completed her Form RN declaration of renunciation of British citizenship on 20 April and the ACT Labor Party lodged it with the UK Home Office on 26 April, the court finding "Senator Gallagher retained that status until 16 August 2016, when her declaration of renunciation of that citizenship was registered by the Home Office of the United Kingdom."
In June 2018, Gallagher announced that she would seek nomination for an ACT seat in the Senate at the next federal election.
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| Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
| Minister for Health
| Treasurer of the Australian Capital Territory
| Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory|
|Parliament of Australia|
| Senator for the Australian Capital Territory