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I have dedicated my working life to improving the lives of Canberrans, whether it was advocating for people with disability as a community worker, standing up for the rights of public servants as a CPSU Organiser or delivering for every Canberran as the Chief Minister of the ACT.
I’m proud to have lived in Canberra for my entire life. I grew up in Weston Creek and am now raising my family on Canberra’s north side.
As a Minister in the ACT Government and later as Chief Minister, I made sure Labor took on big vision ideas like building the light rail, legislating marriage equality, starting Australia’s first public nurse-led Walk-in Centres, and committing the ACT Government to a 100% renewable energy target by 2020.
I’ve taken this same focus and determination into the Federal Parliament, from holding the government to account at Senate Estimates and introducing my own Anti-Rorting Bill, to scrutinising the government’s pandemic response as Chair of the Senate COVID Committee.
I am honoured to have been entrusted to represent both Canberra as Senator for the ACT, and all Australians as the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Women and the Minister for the Public Service.
I will continue to be a champion of accountability and integrity – especially when it comes to government spending – and I am thrilled to be able to start working on delivering a better future for all Canberrans and Australians as part of an Albanese Labor Government.
Kathy Gallagher Biograph
Katherine Ruth Gallagher, also known as Kathy Gallagher, is an Australian politician currently serving as the Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service, and Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Albanese Government since 2022. She is a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and has been a Senator for the Australian Capital Territory since the 2019 federal election. Gallagher was born on 18 March 1970 and grew up in Canberra.
Before entering politics, Gallagher worked as a social worker and union organizer with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). She was elected to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly in 2001, representing the electorate of Molonglo. She served as a minister under Jon Stanhope in 2002 and was appointed Deputy Chief Minister in 2006. Gallagher became Chief Minister in 2011 after Stanhope’s retirement and led her party to a fourth consecutive term at the 2012 general election. She resigned in 2014 to seek preselection to the Senate.
In March 2015, Gallagher was appointed to fill a casual vacancy in the Senate caused by the retirement of Senator Kate Lundy. She was appointed to Bill Shorten’s shadow ministry later that year and was elected to the Senate in her own right at the 2016 federal election. She was subsequently elected Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate. However, in December 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, Gallagher was referred to the High Court and was disqualified from sitting in the Senate for failing to renounce her British citizenship before nomination for election in 2016. She returned to her previous Senate seat at the 2019 federal election.
Gallagher was born and raised in Waramanga, a suburb in the Weston Creek district of Canberra, to Betsy and Charles Gallagher. Her father was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and her mother in Guayaquil, Ecuador. They later became Australian citizens after their arrival from England via New Zealand in 1969. Gallagher has an elder sister, Clare, and two younger brothers who were adopted, Richard and Matthew. She completed her studies at Duffy Primary School, Melrose High School, and Canberra College, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology at the Australian National University in 1990.
Gallagher initially worked as a social worker, assisting with a community life skills project and working with children with disabilities. She then worked as an advocate for People First ACT, a support and advocacy organization for the intellectually disabled from 1994 to 1997. In 1997, Gallagher’s fiancé, Brett Seaman, was killed in a cycling accident when she was 13 weeks pregnant with her first daughter. The union movement assisted Gallagher with the funeral and court case that followed the accident. Gallagher left her previous employment and was offered an administrative job at the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), where Seaman had worked, by Margaret Gillespie, who later became her chief of staff during her time as a politician. It was during this time that Gallagher became involved in the labor movement, eventually becoming a national organizer with the union after her pregnancy.
In her early political career, Gallagher ran for pre-selection as one of the Labor candidates for the electorate of Molonglo in the 2001 ACT general election, despite winning only 4.38% of the first preference vote. She was elected as the fifth member to the seven-member seat after the distribution of preferences. Gallagher was appointed to the first Stanhope ministry in 2002 and was given the portfolios of education, youth and family services, women, and industrial relations. She was re-elected in the 2004 ACT general election and became the first candidate elected to represent Molonglo
TERRITORY RIGHTS RESTORED
The Restoring Territory Rights Bill, championed by Labor, has successfully passed through Parliament, marking a significant milestone in ending 25 years of discriminatory practices. This achievement ensures that all Australians, irrespective of their place of residence in a state or territory, now possess equal democratic rights.
As Chief Minister, I vigorously campaigned for this cause, and as your Senator, I passionately fought for its realization. Today, with the support of a Federal Labor Government, we have successfully delivered on our commitment to restore and uphold the rights of all Australians, regardless of where they call home.
The Voice to Parliament
In 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities came together in one of the most significant and inclusive gatherings of Australia’s First Peoples, where they delivered the powerful Uluru Statement from the Heart.
ACT Labor has steadfastly supported all aspects of the Uluru Statement - Voice, Treaty, and Truth - since its inception. In the coming year, the Australian people will have the opportunity to participate in a referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in our Constitution.
Our ambition is to secure the highest Yes vote in the country, and we need your unwavering support to achieve it. Will you pledge your commitment to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament that will:
- Recognize the inherent value and rights of First Nations Peoples in our Constitution, and
- Ensure their meaningful participation in decision-making processes that shape laws and policies affecting their lives, creating real and positive change for First Nations People.
Your support is vital in this critical journey towards justice and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.