Kelly O'Dwyer

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The Honourable
Kelly O'Dwyer
Kelly O'Dwyer.jpg
Assistant Treasurer of Australia / Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
Assumed office
21 September 2015
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Josh Frydenberg
Minister for Small Business
In office
21 September 2015 – 19 July 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Bruce Billson
Succeeded by Michael McCormack
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Higgins
Assumed office
5 December 2009
Preceded by Peter Costello
Personal details
Born Kelly Megan O'Dwyer
(1977-03-31) 31 March 1977 (age 39)
Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Jon Mant
Children 1
Residence South Yarra, Victoria
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Profession Lawyer
Website Official website

Kelly Megan O'Dwyer (born 31 March 1977) is an Australian politician and member for the Division of Higgins in the Australian House of Representatives. On 5 December 2009, at the 2009 Higgins by-election, O'Dwyer was elected to succeed former Treasurer Peter Costello.[1] She served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer in the Abbott Government from December 2014. In September 2015, she was promoted to cabinet as Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull Government.[2][3] After the Government was returned in 2016, O'Dwyer became the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.

Early career[edit]

O'Dwyer was educated at Presbyterian Ladies' College and the University of Melbourne, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws.[4] After working as a solicitor for Freehills in Melbourne,[4] O'Dwyer spent four years as an advisor to Peter Costello, then the member for the federal division of Higgins and the Federal Treasurer, later becoming an executive at the National Australia Bank.[5]

Member for Higgins[edit]

Costello decided in 2009 not to seek another term of office at the next federal election.[6] On 17 September 2009, O'Dwyer was pre-selected to stand as the Liberal Party candidate for Higgins at the next election.[7] Peter Costello then announced his resignation from Parliament in October 2009.[8] He stated that he chose to retire ahead of the next federal election as a contribution to renewal of the Liberal Party and that O'Dwyer would contribute to this process.[9] A by-election was held on 5 December 2009. O'Dwyer was considered a "shoo-in",[10] especially since the Labor Party did not contest the seat.

Sexism claims[edit]

In winning preselection, O'Dwyer became the first woman to win Liberal Party preselection for a safe seat in metropolitan Melbourne.[11] During the preselection process federal Liberal politicians Sophie Mirabella, Fran Bailey and Helen Coonan claimed that there had been a sexist campaign against O'Dwyer's candidacy, with some preselectors being told that a "leadership seat" such as Higgins was unsuited to a woman and that being elected to a federal seat might endanger her marriage.[12][13]


O'Dwyer had been serving as parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer, until she voted in favour of Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership spill of the Liberal Party held in September 2015. Turnbull was successful and was sworn in as Prime Minister on 15 September 2015. This was followed by a radical overhaul of the cabinet, in which O'Dwyer was appointed to cabinet as Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer. With the re-election of the Turnbull Government in 2016, the Second Turnbull Ministry saw O'Dwyer lose the Small Business portfolio and the title of Assistant Treasurer become the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.[14]

2016 election[edit]

A Greens funded Lonergan seat-level opinion poll conducted from a large sample of 1,100 voters in Higgins took place a month out from the 2016 election on 3−4 June which found the Liberal primary vote had collapsed by over ten percent to a Higgins Liberal record low of less than half of the primary vote at just 44 percent, transferring Higgins in to a hotly-watched contest in 2016, with the Liberals reduced to a marginal two-candidate vote of 53−47 against Greens candidate Jason Ball.[15]

Despite strong opposition by the Greens, O'Dwyer was re-elected comfortably with 52.5% of the primary vote.[16]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Jon Mant and has two sisters, and one brother.[17][18] Her daughter, Olivia, was born in 2015.[19][20]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Lenore (21 December 2014). "Tony Abbott cabinet reshuffle moves Scott Morrison out of immigration". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lawyers Weekly (2009). Former Freehills lawyer wins pre-selection.
  5. ^ Grattan, Michelle (4 July 2009). "Costello to endorse Liberal activist as Higgins candidate". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Peter Costello's retirement draws praise". AAP. 15 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Harvey, Michael (17 September 2009). "Kelly O'Dwyer secures preselection for Peter Costello's seat of Higgins". Herald Sun. 
  8. ^ "Malcolm in the muddle". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 October 2009. 
  9. ^ Rogers, Emma (7 October 2009). "Costello quits politics". ABC News. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  10. ^ "Anarchy set for Costello's old seat". AAP. 12 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Costello staffer wins Higgins preselection". AAP. 17 September 2009. 
  12. ^ Schubert, Misha (15 September 2009). "Sexism claims in race for Costello's seat". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  13. ^ Schubert, Misha (16 September 2009). "Ex-Liberal minister joins sexism outcry". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  14. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (20 July 2016). "Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull unveils ministry with Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt on the move". ABC News. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Federal election 2016: Shock poll result for Kelly O'Dwyer. Is Higgins the 'Indi of 2016'?". SMH. 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  16. ^ "Higgins - Australia Votes | Federal Election 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  17. ^ Fyfe, Melissa (6 December 2009). "O'Dwyer straight out of Liberal central casting". The Age. Melbourne. 
  18. ^ "About Kelly". Kelly O'Dwyer MP. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "Kelly O'Dwyer - She's arrived 👶 Welcome to the world Olivia! - Facebook". 
  20. ^ "Kelly O'Dwyer on Twitter". Twitter. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Costello
Member for Higgins
Political offices
Preceded by
Josh Frydenberg
Assistant Treasurer of Australia / Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
Preceded by
Bruce Billson
Minister for Small Business
Succeeded by
Michael McCormack