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Kelly O'Dwyer wasn't perfect, but she was a champion for women and paid the price for it

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Kelly O'Dwyer's first speech to Parliament in 2009 contained big clues about how she would walk away from it just 10 years later.

The newly elected member for Peter Costello's old blue-ribbon Melbourne seat of Higgins, O'Dwyer concisely highlighted the tricky balancing act of raising a family and forging a career.

"No one has yet worked out how to be in two places at once - so there are no simple solutions," she said. "Indeed, the right solutions vary from family to family."

Kelly O'Dwyer at work with son Edward after his birth in 2017.Credit:Simon Schluter

For O'Dwyer - one of the Morrison government's most senior ministers and a mother of two young children - the competing pressures were proving difficult despite the best efforts of her and husband Jon. During maternity leave in 2017, O'Dwyer continued to attend cabinet meetings, and two copies of the same children's book were often purchased; one was placed in O'Dwyer's ministerial office in Canberra, the other at home in Melbourne.

But the Industrial Relations Minister knew she was missing key moments in the lives of........

© Canberra Times