Kelly O’Dwyer was elected in a by-election in December 2009 at the age of 32 to represent the seat of Higgins, her local electorate, following the retirement of former Federal Treasurer the Hon Peter Costello AC.
Kelly is the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull Government.
Kelly served as Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics from 2013 and was a Committee Member from October 2010. The Committee has oversight of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Kelly is Chairman of the Australia-United States Parliamentary Friendship Group and Convenor of the Australia–Americas Network, encompassing North, Central and South America.
Kelly is the founder and Chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Women in Science, Maths and Engineering. In addition, Kelly serves as an Ovarian Cancer Ambassador, a Dementia Champion, Patron of the Stonnington City Brass and Patron of the East Malvern Junior Girls Football Team.
Kelly grew up in Emerald, in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. She was educated at Presbyterian Ladies College in Burwood and went on to attend Melbourne University, graduating with Honours in Law and an Arts degree majoring in history. Upon leaving university, Kelly embarked on a legal career at Freehills, where she practised in corporate law.
In 2004, Kelly commenced as an economic policy adviser to the Federal Treasurer. As an Adviser, and then Senior Adviser, she was responsible for several key policy areas including competition law and competition policy, foreign investment, private equity, corporate and securities law, financial market conduct, corporate governance, accounting policy issues and consumer protection.
After the 2007 Federal Election, Kelly undertook a role as an executive at National Australia Bank, where she was involved in building a new business area. Kelly is a former board member of Bowls Australia and has also been a member of the Victorian Advisory Council of Camp Quality, an organisation that supports children and families affected by cancer.
Kelly has represented various organisations in leadership forums such as the Australian Israel Leadership Forum, Australian Davos Connection Leadership Retreat, the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, the Asialink Australia-Asia New Leader’s Program, and the Rambam Fellowship Program.
Kelly is married to Jon and they live in Higgins in South Yarra. They recently celebrated the birth of their first child Olivia.