Kelly O'Dwyer

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Kelly O'Dwyer

Kelly O'Dwyer 2017.jpg
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations
Assumed office
24 August 2018
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byMichaelia Cash
Minister for Women
Assumed office
20 December 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byMichaelia Cash
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
In office
19 July 2016 – 24 August 2018
Preceded byHerself (as Assistant Treasurer)
Succeeded byStuart Robert (as Assistant Treasurer)
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
In office
20 December 2017 – 24 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byMichaelia Cash
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Higgins
Assumed office
5 December 2009
Preceded byPeter Costello
Minister for Small Business
In office
21 September 2015 – 19 July 2016
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byBruce Billson
Succeeded byMichael McCormack
Assistant Treasurer
In office
21 September 2015 – 19 July 2016
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byJosh Frydenberg
Succeeded byHerself (as Minister for Revenue and Financial Services)
Personal details
Kelly Megan O'Dwyer

(1977-03-31) 31 March 1977 (age 41)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Jon Mant
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
WebsiteOfficial website

Kelly Megan O'Dwyer (born 31 March 1977) is an Australian politician and Cabinet Minister. She is the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and the Minister for Women[1]. O'Dwyer is the member for the Division of Higgins in the Australian House of Representatives, elected as a member of the Liberal Party on 5 December 2009 at the 2009 Higgins by-election, to succeed a former Treasurer, Peter Costello.[2] In 2018 she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women. [3]

Early career[edit]

O'Dwyer was born in Box Hill and 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 a senior advisor to Peter Costello,[5] then the member for the federal division of Higgins and the Federal Treasurer, later becoming an executive at the National Australia Bank.[6]

Political career[edit]

O'Dwyer in Parliament in 2016

Entry to federal politics[edit]

Costello decided in 2009 not to seek another term of office at the next federal election.[7] On 17 September 2009, O'Dwyer was pre-selected to stand as the Liberal Party candidate for Higgins at the next election.[8] Peter Costello then announced his resignation from Parliament in October 2009.[9] 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.[10] A by-election was held on 5 December 2009. O'Dwyer was considered a "shoo-in",[11] especially since the Labor Party did not contest the seat.

2016 federal election[edit]

At the 2016 federal election, O'Dwyer was re-elected with a two-candidate preferred vote of 57.99% (a swing against her of 2%) and a 52.5% primary vote (a swing against her of 2.4%).[12][13]

A Greens-funded Lonergan seat-level opinion poll conducted from a sample of 1,100 voters in Higgins took place a month out from the 2016 election on 3−4 June. It suggested the Liberal primary vote may have decreased substantially. However, the poll proved inaccurate, with O'Dwyer winning comfortably.[14]

Preselection sexism claims[edit]

In winning preselection, O'Dwyer became the first woman to win Liberal Party preselection for a safe seat in metropolitan Melbourne.[15] 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.[16][17]


O'Dwyer had been serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer in the Abbott Government from December 2014, until the leadership spill of the Liberal Party occurred in September 2015. Malcolm Turnbull won the spill and was sworn in as Prime Minister on 15 September 2015. Turnbull introduced an overhaul of the cabinet, which saw O'Dwyer appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer in the First Turnbull Ministry.[18][19] Following the re-election of the Turnbull Government in 2016, the O'Dwyer was appointed as the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, a name change.[20] O'Dwyer was assigned two additional responsibilities, as the Minister for Women and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, in December 2017.[21] Following the commencement of the Morrison Government, O'Dwyer became the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, in addition to her ongoing role as Minister for Women.[22]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Jon Mant, Executive Director, Australia, of UBS and has two sisters, and one brother.[23][24] Her daughter, Olivia, was born in 2015.[25][26]

On 13 April 2017, O'Dwyer gave birth to her second child Edward, making her the first Cabinet Minister to give birth whilst in office.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  4. ^ a b Lawyers Weekly (2009). Former Freehills lawyer wins pre-selection.
  5. ^ "Official parliamentary biography".
  6. ^ Grattan, Michelle (4 July 2009). "Costello to endorse Liberal activist as Higgins candidate". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Peter Costello's retirement draws praise". AAP. 15 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009.
  8. ^ Harvey, Michael (17 September 2009). "Kelly O'Dwyer secures preselection for Peter Costello's seat of Higgins". Herald Sun.
  9. ^ "Malcolm in the muddle". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 October 2009.
  10. ^ Rogers, Emma (7 October 2009). "Costello quits politics". ABC News. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Anarchy set for Costello's old seat". AAP. 12 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Higgins, Vic". Adam Carr. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Higgins". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  14. ^ 26, scheme=AGLSTERMS.AglsAgent; corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra, ACT 2600; contact=13 23. "House of Representatives division information". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  15. ^ "Costello staffer wins Higgins preselection". AAP. 17 September 2009.
  16. ^ Schubert, Misha (15 September 2009). "Sexism claims in race for Costello's seat". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  17. ^ Schubert, Misha (16 September 2009). "Ex-Liberal minister joins sexism outcry". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  18. ^ "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  19. ^ Taylor, Lenore (21 December 2014). "Tony Abbott cabinet reshuffle moves Scott Morrison out of immigration". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Current Ministry List". Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Fyfe, Melissa (6 December 2009). "O'Dwyer straight out of Liberal central casting". The Age. Melbourne.
  24. ^ "About Kelly". Kelly O'Dwyer MP. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Kelly O'Dwyer - She's arrived 👶 Welcome to the world Olivia! - Facebook".
  26. ^ "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
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
Preceded by
Michaelia Cash
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Preceded by
Bruce Billson
Minister for Small Business
Succeeded by
Michael McCormack