The McKinnon Institute for Political Leadership is Australia’s only organisation dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of political leadership through professional development for members of Australia’s parliaments. Founded in 2019, it is a partnership between Monash University and the Susan McKinnon Foundation. The programs are designed and delivered with academic rigour combined with pragmatic practitioner expertise – with the goal of providing courses tailored to be highly relevant and full of implementable insights for MPs.
What we’re working to achieve
We believe outstanding political leadership is crucial in a world-leading, resilient democracy. Our leaders need to navigate an increasingly complex policy landscape.
The McKinnon Institute for Political Leadership (the McKinnon Institute) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that was established to provide outstanding professional development for members of Australia’s federal, state and territory parliaments.
How we are doing it
The McKinnon Institute is a partnership between Monash University, one of Australia’s and the world’s leading education and research institutions, and the Susan McKinnon Foundation.
The McKinnon Institute is Australia’s only organisation dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of political leadership by building the capability of members of parliament at the federal, state and territory level. The insight and knowledge provided through its programs serve MPs throughout their political careers: from election through to ministerial office.
Experienced political leaders, including former ministers, senior advisors and public servants who have experienced the demands of the job, share their knowledge and insights through the Institute’s courses, creating a stimulating and challenging experience for participating MPs.
Current Programs offered by the McKinnon Institute include:
- New MP Training: A program conducted in partnership with parliaments to supplement existing induction programs.
- Political Leadership: An online professional development course for members of Australian parliaments (federal and state). The program is tailored each year to the current context. The theme for 2022 was ‘Leading through Uncertainty’.
- Advanced Political Leadership (APL): Australia’s first advanced leadership course for members of parliament who are potential ministers in the short to medium term. APL is a selective, cohort-based program that supports participants to reflect on the role of ministers in our governance structures, their personal leadership needs and challenges, and the strategic policy challenges they and Australia will face over the decade ahead.
The McKinnon Institute currently has nearly 160 alumni from across Australia, and from every state and federal parliament.
Key past and present program presenters include:
- Hon. Mike Baird AO
- Prof. Julie Battilana
- Farayi Chipungu
- Blair Comley
- Prof. Ian Harper AO
- Ben Hubbard
- Hon. Jenny Macklin
- Sir Geoff Mulgan CBE
- Prof. Anthea Roberts
- Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO
- Jeff Whalan AO
- Danielle Wood
Alumni attend events hosted by the Institute featuring high calibre speakers, such as former British PMs the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, the Rt Hon David Cameron and the opportunity to hear from former President Barack Obama.
A highly eminent, bi-partisan team leads the McKinnon Institute:
- Margaret Fitzherbert (CEO)
- Prof Rod Glover (Academic Director)
- Hon John Thwaites AM (Director)
- Hon Chris Pearce (Director)
- Sharon Pickering (Director)
- Grant Rule (Director)
- Sam Mellett (Director)
Having launched its first programs in 2020, the McKinnon Institute now plans to expand its current offering over the coming years including to incorporate initiatives that aim to attract more diversity into our parliaments.