Close to home for Katy Gallagher

October 2021: When news that the Australian Capital Territory had recorded its first COVID-19 case in over a year started whipping around the corridors of Parliament House on Thursday, August 12, Labor senator Katy Gallagher suspected – correctly – that a territory-wide lockdown was just hours away. It was the last sitting day of the parliamentary fortnight and while many of her colleagues began rescheduling flights to get back to their electorates before it began, Gallagher, a Canberran, focused on clearing her office desk and preparing to work from home. When her 14-year-old daughter called from school mid afternoon, anxious after hearing about the outbreak, Gallagher calmed her down. “I said, ‘Evie, we’ll be fine. We’ll just lock down.’” Later, though, she would realise that even as she was saying this it was already too late for Evie, as the teenager had already contracted the disease.

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