Katy Gallagher
Women in Federal Parliament

Katy Gallagher

Senator for the Australian Capital Territory

ALP, 2015–2018

Katy Gallagher (left).

Image courtesy of Katy Gallagher.

Katy Gallagher filled a casual vacancy in the Senate after 13 years in ACT politics, including three as Chief Minister, an experience she said qualified her to ‘be a strong local voice for our nation's capital’ in the federal arena.

Before entering politics, Gallagher spent a decade working in the community sector, mainly with people with disability. She said it taught her ‘to be a fierce advocate for those who could not speak for themselves’. Gallagher entered politics in 2001 not expecting to be elected but prompted by the under-representation of women in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

In the Senate, Gallagher co-sponsored a private senator’s bill to remove restrictions on the ACT and Northern Territory legalising voluntary euthanasia. She was a vocal supporter of marriage equality legislation, having overseen passage of a similar law in the ACT in 2013, which the High Court later ruled unconstitutional.

Soon after becoming a senator, Gallagher entered the shadow ministry with responsibility for mental health, housing and homelessness and later was appointed Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services and Manager of Opposition Business.

In 2018, Gallagher’s federal career was cut short when the High Court found she was ineligible to stand for Parliament under section 44 of the Constitution.