Volume 4, Issue 6, (Originally published on Monday 2 September 2013)
Kelly O’Dwyer MP is the Liberal member for the seat of Higgins, replacing former Treasurer Peter Costello following a 2009 by-election. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2000 with degrees in Arts and Law, forging a successful career as a solicitor, political advisor and banking executive. Since entering the Parliament, she has shown a particular interest in economics, finance and deregulation.
DM: Why did you decide to study law?
KO: Because like so many people who study law – I wanted to change the world (hence the current job).
DM: What was your time like at Melbourne Law School?
KO: I loved it. I enjoyed everything about Melbourne University and became actively involved not only in the Law Students’ Society but also more generally on campus, serving on the Student Union Council, acting in student plays, participating in mooting competitions, running the schools debating program. I also did a bit of study as well!
DM: What did you do after finishing your law degree?
KO: I did my articles at Freehills and then practised as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Freehills. I have also worked in banking at the National Australia Bank.
DM: What was it like working as a senior advisor to Peter Costello?
KO: Working for Peter was a wonderful opportunity and I learnt a lot from him. I worked as his Senior Adviser responsible for advice on corporate law, competition law, foreign investment and microeconomic reform. His is a career I really admire – he was able to do a very difficult job with great intelligence, integrity and humour.
DM: What has been your proudest achievement as an MP?
KO: In three and a half years – my proudest achievement has been doing my job in representing my constituents in Higgins and getting outcomes that improve their lives. I have so many lovely notes from people who I have been able to help, and this gives me tremendous satisfaction. I have also had the opportunity to write a chapter in a book published recently by Melbourne University Press called Future Proofing Australia.
DM: You previously served on the HoR Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. In your view, where is law reform most urgently needed?
KO: I share the Leader of the Opposition’s view that there is a strong need ensure that there is increase transparency and accountability in registered organisations.
DM: You were also a member of the HoR Standing Committee on Economics. What are the main economic challenges facing Australia in the medium to long term?
KO: There are many but I will highlight just two.
First, the need to improve our competitiveness as a country. We need to create an economic environment where business can grow, innovate and invest. Confidence needs to be restored and a critical component of that is to restore a stable and predictable policy approach in Government, in addition to freeing both business and civil society from the deadweight costs of unnecessary red tape and regulation.
Second, to increase female participation in the workforce in Australia to that of our OECD competitors which will, in turn, help grow our economy.