Skip to content
Government Federal, Local Government

Aussies urged to nominate excellent political leaders for McKinnon Prize

The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership 3 mins read

Australians are being urged to put forward excellent political leaders for the 2023 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership, with nominations for the prestigious award now open.

The McKinnon Prize is Australia’s independent, non-partisan award for outstanding political leadership, recognising leaders who have shown vision, courage, collaboration and ethical behaviour. Three prizes will be awarded this year: 

  • The Political Leader of the Year prize (Federal) – for elected federal representatives with more than five years in office
  • The Political Leader of the Year prize (State / Territory) – for state and territory elected representatives with more than five years in office
  • The Emerging Political Leader of the Year is for federal, state, or local elected representatives with fewer than five years in office

In 2022, Foreign Minister Penny Wong received the McKinnon Political Leader of the Year prize for her work to rebuild Australia’s diplomatic relationships. Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP, claimed the McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the year prize for her commitment to integrity in politics and involving her constituency in her national policy work.

McKinnon Prize Ambassador the Hon Jill Hennessy said: “As Australians, we tend to be good at pointing at what we don't like about our political leaders, but we should also recognise and discuss the qualities we admire. That's what the McKinnon Prize seeks to do.

“Scepticism can be healthy, but Australians' trust in their political leaders has been falling. Without this trust, our system of government can falter and necessary reforms become impossible to achieve. The McKinnon Prize is an unapologetically positive initiative that we hope encourages national discussion about our expectations of political leadership.”

“McKinnon Prize judges are looking for political leaders who have either thought outside the box, worked well with others across the aisle, shown courage by following their principles, or acted with integrity and respect.

“Nominees that really will stand out are those who have brought about a positive change. So if you think that’s your local state or federal member, or someone elected to your local government, please do put them forward.” 

Tony Smith, 2021 McKinnon Prize recipient and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “While Australians hold a diversity of political views, I believe our understanding of commendable leadership crosses the political divide. 

“The McKinnon Prize has demonstrated this over the years by recognising the likes of Labor Senator Penny Wong, independent MP Dr Helen Haines, former Liberal MP Greg Hunt, Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John and local leaders from across the country.

“I’m confident the public will find no shortage of excellent political leaders to nominate for the awards this year.”

Nominations can be made via the McKinnon Prize website and will close on 17 November. Shortlists will be announced in February and winners will be announced in March.

Nominees must be an elected member of a local, state or federal Government. 

Nominees for 2023 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year (Federal and State/Territory) must have been elected into political office prior to 1 January 2019.

Nominees for 2022 McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year must have been elected into political office on or after 1 January 2019.

The McKinnon Prize is judged by an ideologically broad panel of esteemed former politicians – as well as a diverse group of business figures, journalists, and civil society leaders. The McKinnon Prize Shortlisting Committee is chaired by Michael Brennan, CEO of economic research institute e61. The McKinnon Prize Selection Panel is chaired by Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Chancellor of Macquarie University. Both panels are politically balanced.

McKinnon Prize Selection Panel 2023

McKinnon Prize Shortlisting Committee 2023

Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM (Chair

Michael Brennan, CEO, e61 (Chair)

Sharan Burrow AC

Wendy Black, Head of Policy, Business Council of Australia

Peta Credlin AO

James Copsey, Partner, KPMG Australia

Dr Alan Finkel AC

David Cross, CEO, Blueprint Institute

Tanya Hosch

Phillip Coorey, Political Editor, Australian Financial Review

Patricia Karvelas

Tom Crowley, Political Journalist, The Daily Aus

Prof. Renée Leon PSM

Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz

Ryan Liddell, Managing Partner, Principle Advisory

Cathy McGowan AO

Shayne Mallard, Director City Futures, Liverpool City Council

The Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO

Bronwyn Pike AM, CEO, Uniting Vic.Tas

Ashleigh Streeter-Jones

Nicholas Reece, Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne

David Thodey AO

John Scales, Founder, JWS Research

The Hon Jay Weatherill AO

Lenore Taylor, Editor, The Guardian Australia


Visit the McKinnon Prize website to nominate and find out more:

About the McKinnon Prize

The McKinnon Prize is Australia’s independent, non-partisan award for outstanding political leadership. It recognises political leaders from all levels of government who have driven positive impact through their vision, collaboration, courage and ethical behaviour. It is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne.


Contact details:

Charlie Moore: 0452 606 171

More from this category

  • Government Federal
  • 29/05/2024
  • 20:40
Susan McKinnon Foundation

APS must show it has changed by implementing the lessons from Robodebt: new report

The Australian Public Service must use the Robodebt experience as a prompt to revisit its values and draw lessons for the future, according to a new report by the Susan McKinnon Foundation (SMF). Robodebt was a painful episode in Australia’s history, and to prevent a recurrence, its lessons must be embedded in the daily practices of the Australian Public Service. A new report by the Susan McKinnon Foundation synthesizes the ten key lessons from Robodebt, based on a direct analysis of the Royal Commission transcripts. The Susan McKinnon Foundation partnered with Professor Emeritus Richard Mulgan to analyse the findings of…

  • Energy, Government Federal
  • 29/05/2024
  • 15:25
RMIT University

Net-zero bill to focus on the transition of energy workers: RMIT expert available

The Net Zero Economy Authority Bill is being debated in parliament again today. An RMIT expert can comment on the pathway to net-zero. Dr Manoj Datta, Electrical and Electronic Engineering “There should be a clear national plan to phase out coal and gas-based power generation. “The Net Zero Economy Authority Bill does not discuss or show a clear pathway to net-zero; rather, it is about forming or creating an authority that will mainly facilitate the transition of energy workers currently working in coal or gas power stations. “This authority will have no legislative powers to shut down or request the…

  • Animal Animal WelfareRights, Government Federal
  • 29/05/2024
  • 13:53
Vets for Climate Action

A small step for our animals – now for the bigger leap

Veterinarians call for the Federal Government to do more to protect animals - by changing Australia's environment laws to make sure they can protect our wildlife from climate change harm. The Federal Government has today introduced legislation into Parliament to set up Australia’s first national Environment Protection Agency, known as Environment Protection Australia (EPA). "While we commend this first step, we are urgently calling on our Government to introduce a comprehensive package of nature law reforms to protect our unique wildlife and their habitats," said Vets for Climate Action CEO Stefany Goldring. "Without stronger amendments to our federal environmental laws,…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.