The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership was established in 2017 to recognise political leaders at all levels of government who have driven positive impact through their vision, collaboration, courage and ethical behaviour. The purpose of McKinnon Prize is to advocate for our democracy by acknowledging and encouraging good political leadership. Over the past five years, The McKinnon Prize has recognised the work of leaders who build trust, inspire others and ultimately contribute to better policy and quality governance.
What we’re working to achieve
The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership (The McKinnon Prize) was established to advocate for our democracy by acknowledging and encouraging good political leadership.
We believe identifying great leadership and recognising leaders who work in a collaborative and bipartisan manner to pursue their vision for Australia, builds trust, inspires others and ultimately contributes to better-quality policy and higher-quality governance.
How we are doing it
The McKinnon Prize was established in 2017 to recognise political leaders at all levels of government and across the political spectrum who have driven positive impact through their vision, collaboration, courage and ethical behaviour.
The McKinnon Prize is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne.
We believe acknowledging great leadership and recognising leaders who work in a collaborative and bipartisan manner to pursue their vision for Australia, builds public trust, inspires others and ultimately contributes to better quality policy and higher quality governance.
A uniquely independent, non-partisan award, The McKinnon Prize is the first of its kind in Australia, and seeks to:
- Recognise politicians at all levels of government who have successfully tackled vital issues of public policy, overcome adversity, and achieved real change for the public good.
- Encourage others to pursue courageous and visionary political leadership despite the challenges they may face.
- Motivate a national discussion about our expectations of political leadership in this country.
Each year The McKinnon Prize recognises outstanding Australian political leaders in two categories:
- The McKinnon Political Leader of the Year: Long serving politicians with over five years in office, whether leaders in local communities or on the national stage, are eligible for this category.
- The McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year: this category recognises recently elected federal, state, territorial or local elected representatives, with less than five years in office.
The McKinnon Prize is awarded each year from a pool of public nominations through a rigorous and transparent selection process
The criteria for The McKinnon Prize reflect a leader’s ability to put their country’s needs first, their vision, ethical behaviour and their capacity to collaborate and embrace non-partisanship to deliver positive impact.
Fundamental to The McKinnon Prize are the diverse perspectives and expertise contributed by each member of the Shortlisting Committee and Selection Panel. These bodies are the custodians of the Prize and comprise of distinguished and respected Australians. Members represent the political, government, media, non-profit and corporate sectors (amongst others) ensuring a range of expertise and perspectives.
Former Prime Minister, Hon Julia Gillard AC and Former Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird are Patrons of The McKinnon Prize.
Overtime, the McKinnon Prize Selection Panel has included Former Prime Minister, Hon John Howard AM, Martin Parkinson AO, Catherine Livingstone AO, Tom Calma AO, John Brumby AO, Peta Credlin AO, Laura Tingle and Dennis Richardson AO amongst others.
Recipients of The Prize include:
- Hon Penny Wong, Political Leader 2022
- Dr Helen Haines MP, Emerging Political Leader 2022
- The Hon Tony Smith MP, Political Leader 2021
- Councillor Teresa Harding, Emerging Political Leader 2021
- The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Political Leader 2020
- Dr Anne Aly MP, Emerging Political Leader 2020
- Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Political Leader 2019
- Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Emerging Political Leader 2019
- Senator Penny Wong, Political Leader 2018
- Senator Jordon Steele-John, Emerging Political Leader 2018
- Senator Dean Smith, Political Leader 2017
- Councillor Vonda Malone, Emerging Political Leader 2017
Key People / Partners
Chair, McKinnon Prize
Selection Panel 2022
Catherine Livingstone AO