In December 2009 Kelly was elected to represent the people of Higgins following the retirement of former Federal Treasurer the Hon Peter Costello AC.
Kelly was appointed as the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services in the Turnbull Government in July 2016. In December 2017 she was also appointed as the Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service. She is a member of Cabinet and also serves on Cabinet’s Expenditure Review Committee (ERC).
She served as the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer from September 2015 to July 2016, and was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer from December 2014 until being appointed to Cabinet in 2015.
During her time as Minister for Small Business, Minister O’Dwyer and the Turnbull Government introduced unfair contract protections for small business, established the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, abolished the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, and announced the amendment of section 46 of the competition law to level the playing field for small businesses. As a member of the Expenditure Review Committee, she also ensured small businesses benefited from the 2016-17 Budget’s tax cuts and expanded small business tax concessions.
She was Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics from 2013 to 2015.
Kelly has been 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, 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 locally in Higgins with their children Olivia and Edward.