Division of Higgins

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Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of HIGGINS 2016.png
Division of Higgins in Victoria, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPKelly O'Dwyer
NamesakeH. B. Higgins
Electors104,678 (2016)
Area40 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
DemographicInner Metropolitan

The Division of Higgins is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria for the Australian House of Representatives. The division covers 40 km2 (15 sq mi) in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. The main suburbs include Armadale, Ashburton, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Prahran and Toorak along with parts of Carnegie, Glen Iris, Hughesdale, Murrumbeena, South Yarra and Windsor.

Since the 2009 Higgins by-election, Kelly O'Dwyer from the Liberal Party has been the member for the Division. This followed the retirement of Peter Costello, who had served as Treasurer of Australia throughout the 1996–2007 tenure of the Howard Government.


H.B. Higgins, the division's namesake

The division was created in 1949.

Like other seats in inner-eastern Melbourne, Higgins has historically been a stronghold for the Liberal Party. It is considered a "leadership seat," in part because the seat's first two members, Harold Holt and Sir John Gorton, were Prime Ministers of Australia in 1966–67 and 1968–71 respectively. Higgins is the only Division to have been held by two Prime Ministers. This occurred when Holt went missing while Prime Minister, and then-Senator Gorton used the ensuing by-election to transfer to the House. It has only been out of Liberal hands for eight months in its existence, when Gorton became an independent to protest Malcolm Fraser becoming Liberal leader.

More recently, the seat was held by the longest serving Treasurer of Australia and former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Peter Costello, who was a prominent member of the Howard Government. Costello resigned from the seat on 19 October 2009, and was succeeded in the ensuing by-election by current member Kelly O'Dwyer.

Holt and Costello were also Treasurers during their respective tenure in Higgins and the current member Kelly O'Dwyer is a Cabinet Minister.[1]


The division is named after Justice H. B. Higgins (1851–1929), who was a Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly (1894) and president of the Carlton Football Club (1904). He was a founding Member of Australian House of Representatives, serving as the Protectionist member for Northern Melbourne and was the Attorney-General in the Watson Government (1904). He went on to become a Justice of the High Court of Australia (1906–1929)


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Harold Holt 1964.jpg Harold Holt
Liberal 10 December 1949
17 December 1967
Previously held the Division of Fawkner. Served as minister under Menzies. Served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1967. Died in office
  JohnGorton1968.jpg John Gorton
Liberal 24 February 1968
23 May 1975
Previously a member of the Senate. Served as Prime Minister from 1968 to 1971. Served as minister under McMahon. Did not contest in 1975. Failed to win a Senate seat
  Independent 23 May 1975 –
11 November 1975
  No image.svg Roger Shipton
Liberal 13 December 1975
19 February 1990
Lost preselection. Retired
  PeterCostello.jpg Peter Costello
Liberal 24 March 1990
19 October 2009
Served as minister under Howard. Resigned in order to retire from politics
  Kelly O'Dwyer 2017.jpg Kelly O'Dwyer
Liberal 5 December 2009
Served as minister under Turnbull. Incumbent. Currently a minister under Morrison

Election results[edit]

Australian federal election, 2016: Higgins[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer 46,953 52.00 −2.37
Greens Jason Ball 22,870 25.33 +8.53
Labor Carl Katter 13,495 14.95 −9.13
Xenophon Nancy Bassett 2,007 2.22 +2.22
Animal Justice Eleonora Gullone 1,344 1.49 +1.49
Marriage Equality Rebecca O'Brien 1,265 1.40 +1.40
Justice Jessica Tregear 1,264 1.40 +1.40
Liberal Democrats Robert Kennedy 1,093 1.21 +1.21
Total formal votes 90,291 96.22 −0.20
Informal votes 3,550 3.78 +0.20
Turnout 93,841 89.65 −2.36
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer 54,798 60.69 +0.76
Labor Carl Katter 35,493 39.31 –0.76
Two-candidate-preferred result
Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer 52,359 57.99 −1.94
Greens Jason Ball 37,932 42.01 +42.01
Liberal hold Swing N/A


  1. ^ "Ministry List" (PDF). www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/ministry-list-20-dec-2017.pdf.
  2. ^ Higgins, VIC, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°51′32″S 145°02′49″E / 37.859°S 145.047°E / -37.859; 145.047