Division of Higgins
Australian House of Representatives Division
|Namesake||H. B. Higgins|
|Area||41 km2 (15.8 sq mi)|
The Division of Higgins is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria for the Australian House of Representatives. The division covers 41 km2 (16 sq mi) in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. The main suburbs include Armadale, Ashburton, Carnegie, Glen Iris, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Murrumbeena, Prahran and Toorak; along with parts of Camberwell, Ormond and South Yarra. Though historically a safe conservative seat, Higgins was won by the Liberal Party by a margin of just 3.9 percent over the Labor Party at the 2019 election, the closest result in the seat’s history.
In June 2021, the AEC announced that the electoral division would include the locality of Windsor at the following federal election, but that part of the suburb of Glen Iris and the suburb of Hughesdale would be transferred to the Division of Kooyong and Division of Hotham respectively.
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 Kelly O'Dwyer, who would go on to become a minister in the Abbott and Turnbull governments.
O'Dwyer retired in 2019. At that election, Labor came reasonably close to winning this seat for the first time ever, with their highest two-party preferred vote in the history of the seat (46.12%). Liberal candidate Katie Allen, however, saw off a challenge from barrister Fiona McLeod, despite suffering a swing of six percent, making Higgins marginal against Labor for the first time ever. Allen became the first Liberal candidate to come up short of an outright majority on the first count. High-profile Greens candidate and former Australian Rules footballer Jason Ball also contested the seat, receiving almost a quarter of the vote.
The seat is one of the few to have produced two federal Treasurers; Holt and Costello served as Treasurers during their respective tenure in Higgins.
Another member Kelly O'Dwyer had a stint as Assistant Treasurer.
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)
|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|
|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
|Liberal||13 December 1975 –
19 February 1990
|Lost preselection. Retired|
|Liberal||24 March 1990 –
19 October 2009
|Served as minister under Howard. Resigned in order to retire from politics|
|Liberal||5 December 2009 –
11 April 2019
|Served as minister under Turnbull and Morrison. Retired|
|Liberal||18 May 2019 –
|Animal Justice||Alicia Walker||1,729||1.72||+0.15|
|Sustainable Australia||Michaela Moran||1,338||1.33||+1.33|
|United Australia||Tim Ryan||1,249||1.24||+1.24|
|Total formal votes||100,478||97.99||+1.74|
- corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=10 Mort Street, Canberra ACT 2600; contact=13 23 26. "Step 6. Announcement of final boundaries – Victorian federal redistribution". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Higgins, VIC, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.