Under questioning from the Opposition today in Senate Estimates a senior member of Anthony Albanese’s leadership team has refused to disclose the names of four individuals she handpicked for taxpayer funded roles on a critical women’s economic security taskforce.

The Opposition has previously revealed that the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, which made important contributions to the Federal Budget, was stacked by Katy Gallagher through four secret captain’s picks.

Today under questioning from Shadow Finance Minister, Senator Jane Hume, Minister Gallagher refused to name her four secret captain’s picks. She did, however, confirm the membership of this Taskforce was signed off by the Prime Minister himself.

Incredibly departmental officials have confirmed Katy’s four captain’s picks were not on the list of 52 recommended women that the Office for Women in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet had compiled as part of a merit-based process.

This development demonstrates hypocrisy of the highest order following commentary from Minister Gallagher that ‘being on a government board should be about what you know, not who you know’.

Members of the Taskforce include former Labor Minister Jenny Macklin and President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Michele O’Neil. The positions are understood to be remunerated by the taxpayer.

The secrecy around Katy’s captain’s picks is unacceptable given the key role the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce played in shaping government’s public policy priorities for women’s economic security as part of the Federal Budget process.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Women, Sussan Ley said this looks like jobs for mates from Katy Gallagher.

“The Coalition absolutely supports the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, even if we have been prevented from receiving briefings on its work, but revelations about the process Katy Gallagher undertook here are deeply troubling.

“These are taxpayer funded roles, appointments should be based on merit not on the vague whim or personal relationship of a Minister and this comes after Katy said, ‘being on a government board should be about what you know, not who you know’, that looks a lot like hypocrisy to me.”

Shadow Minister for Finance, Senator Jane Hume said the Minister must prove that this wasn’t just a deal done in a corridor.

“When questioned, Katy Gallagher refused to provide evidence that these appointments were made in the appropriate manner.”