CHIEF Minister Katy Gallagher has just made this statement:
Today I have spoken with my caucus colleagues and Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA to let them know that I will be a candidate for the upcoming Senate vacancy created by Senator Kate Lundy who has announced she will not be contesting the next federal election.
Because of my decision and out of respect for the office of Chief Minister I have informed my colleagues that I will be resigning as Chief Minister on Wednesday next week.
Since Senator Lundy’s announcement the Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten and Senate leader Penny Wong have both contacted me asking me to join the federal Labor team.
After much consideration I have decided that I can use the skills I have gained in my time as Chief Minister to step into the federal arena to stand up for Canberra, defend our city and be a strong local voice for our nation’s capital. This job has never been more important than now.
UPDATE: Outgoing Senator Lundy has endorsed the Chief Minister via Twitter:
— Kate Lundy (@KateLundy) December 4, 2014
UPDATE: Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has made a statement:
I would like to thank Katy Gallagher for her service as an MLA and as Chief Minister and wish her well in her future life outside the Assembly.
There is no doubt that she has been a successful politician and the Labor Party will find her very difficult to replace.
I thank @KatyGMLA for her service as an MLA and as CM. She's a popular politician who leaves a big hole in the ACT Labor government.
— Jeremy Hanson (@JeremyHansonMLA) December 4, 2014
UPDATE: Shane Rattenbury sings the praises of the departing Chief:
ACT Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury has acknowledged the significant contribution of outgoing Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher to our city.
“Ms Gallagher has shown great energy and passion in her role as the Chief Minister, and has worked hard for the people of Canberra,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“Ms Gallagher has made a significant contribution to the Assembly, not only through her time as Chief Minister but through her work as Cabinet Minister on a range of portfolios.
“Most importantly for me, her willingness to work collaboratively has been one of her key strengths, and has enabled us to form a very effective working relationship. This has ensured the government has been focussed on delivering for Canberra.
“Even though we come from different parties, that commitment to delivering for our city has been a shared goal, and I have enjoyed working with her to that end.
“Working with Katy as a Minister in Cabinet over the past 2 years I am pleased with the achievements we have reached under the Parliamentary Agreement. Of particular note, the Common Ground project, progress on Light rail and the renewable energy agenda.
“I wish Ms Gallagher all the best for her future in the Senate and I look forward to working with the new Chief Minister to continue the work in the Parliamentary Agreement,” said Mr Rattenbury.
UPDATE: Simon Corbell and Andrew Barr have hammered out a joint statement:
Andrew Barr MLA and Simon Corbell MLA have today congratulated ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA for her achievements and commitment to the people of the ACT.
In her 13 years in the ACT Legislative Assembly, as MLA, Minister and Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher has done a remarkable job to improve the lives of Canberrans.
“Katy has been a proud and effective leader for Canberra. I know she will continue to stand up for Canberra if she is selected to represent the ACT in the Senate,” Mr Barr said. “I know that every member of ACT Labor is as proud as I am of what this Government has achieved under Katy’s leadership.”
Mr Corbell also congratulated Ms Gallagher on her record as Chief Minister. “I have served alongside Katy since she entered the ministry in 2001,” Mr Corbell said. “Katy Gallagher has been a trusted colleague and an outstanding Chief Minister. I am confident she will be a strong voice for Canberra in the Australian Senate.”
Mr Barr and Mr Corbell said they will nominate to be the next leadership team. Mr Barr will nominate to the Labor caucus to fill the role of Chief Minister; Mr Corbell will nominate to fill the role of Deputy Chief Minister.
“Labor will have another close and effective leadership team,” Mr Barr said. “I have known Simon for more than 20 years and look forward to working even more closely with him. I am passionate about this city and its future and would be privileged to serve Canberra as Chief Minister. I thank Katy for endorsing Simon and myself as the next ACT Labor leadership team.”
Mr Corbell, who has been an MLA since 1997 and a Minister since 2001, said: “Andrew Barr will be a great progressive Chief Minister; I would be honored to support him and my Labor colleagues as Deputy Chief Minister.”
The Labor caucus will meet on the morning of Wednesday 10 December to confirm the new leadership team.