Division of Higgins

The Division of Higgins is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria for the Australian House of Representatives. The division covers 41 km2 (16 sq mi) in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. The main suburbs include Armadale, Ashburton, Carnegie, Glen Iris, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Murrumbeena, Prahran and Toorak; along with parts of Camberwell, Ormond and South Yarra. Though historically a safe conservative seat, Higgins was won by the Liberal Party by a margin of just 3.9 percent over the Labor Party at the 2019 election, the closest result in the seat’s history.[1]

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Higgins 2019.png
Division of Higgins in Victoria, as of the 2019 federal election.
MPKatie Allen
NamesakeH. B. Higgins
Electors111,035 (2019)
Area41 km2 (15.8 sq mi)
DemographicInner Metropolitan

In June 2021, the AEC announced that the electoral division would include the locality of Windsor at the following federal election, but that part of the suburb of Glen Iris and the suburb of Hughesdale would be transferred to the Division of Kooyong and Division of Hotham respectively.[2][3]

The current member for Higgins, since the 2019 federal election, is Katie Allen, a member of the Liberal Party of Australia.


H. B. Higgins, the division's namesake

The division was created in 1949. Like other seats in inner-eastern Melbourne, Higgins has historically been a stronghold for the Liberal Party. It is considered a "leadership seat," in part because the seat's first two members, Harold Holt and Sir John Gorton, were Prime Ministers of Australia in 1966–67 and 1968–71 respectively.

Higgins is the only Division to have been held by two Prime Ministers. This occurred when Holt went missing while Prime Minister, and then-Senator Gorton used the ensuing by-election to transfer to the House. It has only been out of Liberal hands for eight months in its existence, when Gorton became an independent to protest Malcolm Fraser becoming Liberal leader.

More recently, the seat was held by the longest serving Treasurer of Australia and former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Peter Costello, who was a prominent member of the Howard Government. Costello resigned from the seat on 19 October 2009, and was succeeded in the ensuing by-election by Kelly O'Dwyer, who would go on to become a minister in the Abbott and Turnbull governments.

O'Dwyer retired in 2019. At that election, Labor came reasonably close to winning this seat for the first time ever, with their highest two-party preferred vote in the history of the seat (46.12%). Liberal candidate Katie Allen, however, saw off a challenge from barrister Fiona McLeod, despite suffering a swing of six percent, making Higgins marginal against Labor for the first time ever. Allen became the first Liberal candidate to come up short of an outright majority on the first count. High-profile Greens candidate and former Australian Rules footballer Jason Ball also contested the seat, receiving almost a quarter of the vote.

The seat is one of the few to have produced two federal Treasurers; Holt and Costello served as Treasurers during their respective tenure in Higgins.

Another member Kelly O'Dwyer had a stint as Assistant Treasurer.[4]


The division is named after Justice H. B. Higgins (1851–1929), who was a Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly (1894) and president of the Carlton Football Club (1904). He was a founding Member of Australian House of Representatives, serving as the Protectionist member for Northern Melbourne and was the Attorney-General in the Watson Government (1904). He went on to become a Justice of the High Court of Australia (1906–1929)


Image Member Party Term Notes
    Harold Holt
Liberal 10 December 1949
17 December 1967
Previously held the Division of Fawkner. Served as minister under Menzies. Served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1967. Died in office
    John Gorton
Liberal 24 February 1968
23 May 1975
Previously a member of the Senate. Served as Prime Minister from 1968 to 1971. Served as minister under McMahon. Did not contest in 1975. Failed to win a Senate seat
  Independent 23 May 1975 –
11 November 1975
    Roger Shipton
Liberal 13 December 1975
19 February 1990
Lost preselection. Retired
    Peter Costello
Liberal 24 March 1990
19 October 2009
Served as minister under Howard. Resigned in order to retire from politics
    Kelly O'Dwyer
Liberal 5 December 2009
11 April 2019
Served as minister under Turnbull and Morrison. Retired
    Katie Allen
Liberal 18 May 2019

Election resultsEdit

2019 Australian federal election: Higgins[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Katie Allen 48,091 47.86 −3.72
Labor Fiona McLeod 25,498 25.38 +8.85
Greens Jason Ball 22,573 22.47 −1.72
Animal Justice Alicia Walker 1,729 1.72 +0.15
Sustainable Australia Michaela Moran 1,338 1.33 +1.33
United Australia Tim Ryan 1,249 1.24 +1.24
Total formal votes 100,478 97.99 +1.74
Informal votes 2,063 2.01 −1.74
Turnout 102,541 92.37 +1.49
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Katie Allen 54,139 53.88 −6.09
Labor Fiona McLeod 46,339 46.12 +6.09
Liberal hold Swing −6.09


  1. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal/2019/guide/higg
  2. ^ corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=10 Mort Street, Canberra ACT 2600; contact=13 23 26. "Step 6. Announcement of final boundaries – Victorian federal redistribution". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ https://antonygreen.com.au/2021-federal-redistribution-boundaries-finalised-for-victoria/
  4. ^ https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/federal-election-2016-under-fire-kelly-odwyer-scuttles-twitter-joke-while-peter-costello-rushes-to-her-aid-20160625-gprqtb.html
  5. ^ Higgins, VIC, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 37°51′32″S 145°02′49″E / 37.859°S 145.047°E / -37.859; 145.047