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Minns and Perrottet jointly win inaugural State / Territory McKinnon Prize for political leadership

The McKinnon Prize 3 mins read

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns and his predecessor, Dominic Perrottet, have been announced as joint winners of the first McKinnon State/Territory Political Leader of the Year.

The McKinnon Prize is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne and has been awarded annually since 2017. The Prize was established to recognise political leaders from all levels of government who have driven positive impact through their vision, collaboration, courage and ethical behaviour.

This year marks the first time a State/Territory category has been introduced. The joint nomination of Mr Minns and Mr Perrottet topped an impressive shortlist of nominees, including NSW MP Alex Greenwich, Tasmanian MP Ella Haddad, South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and Northern Territory Attorney-General Chanston Paech.

The McKinnon Prize was selected by a panel of eminent Australians, chaired by Dr Martin Parkinson (full panel list below).

The section panel noted that although a joint nomination was unusual, the civil, respectful and substance-based campaigning of the two leaders before and during the 2023 state election was a powerful example that demanded recognition.

“Australian voters have for a very long time been frustrated by what they see as an unnecessary and unedifying level of rancour in politics,” Dr Parkinson said.

“Both Mr Minns and Mr Perrottet would doubtless have sacrificed traditional opportunities for short-term political gain by adhering to a respectful campaign based on policies and not personality. The fact that both leaders were able to stick to their ethics despite so much being at stake sets a powerful precedent for other Australian election campaigns.

“When our leaders set a good example at the top it ripples down through all levels of government and, indeed, through the community. A civil tone opens up new opportunities to collaborate and achieve better policy outcomes through consensus.”

Selection panel member Dr Alan Finkel encouraged other leaders to consider the example set by Mr Minns and Mr Perrottet.

“Australia has, thankfully, been able to avoid the worst of the political polarisation that is dividing other nations across the world. But maintaining this record requires politicians to consciously decide to act objectively and respectfully, and Chris Minns and Dominic Perrottet are a fantastic demonstration of this," Dr Finkel said.

“Politics, especially in New South Wales, has never been for the faint of heart. But disagreeing with your opponent on matters of policy does not mean having to seek every opportunity to damage their reputation. The selection panel was extremely impressed that Mr Minns and Mr Perrottet were able to demonstrate that politics can indeed forge ahead with civility.”

McKinnon Prize Selection Panel:

  • Dr Martin Parkinson AC, Chancellor, Macquarie University (Chair)
  • Dr Alan Finkel AC, former Chief Scientist of Australia
  • Georgie Harman, CEO of Beyond Blue
  • Tanya Hosch, Executive General Manager Inclusion & Social Policy AFL
  • Patricia Karvelas, Host, RN Breakfast on ABC Radio
  • Prof. Renee Leon PSM, Vice Chancellor and President, Charles Sturt University
  • Luke Achterstraat, CEO, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia
  • Cathy McGowan AO, Chair, AgriFutures
  • The Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, Partner & Chair of Australia Practice, The Asia Group
  • Ashleigh Streeter-Jones, Founder & CEO of Raise Our Voice Australia (ROVA) and Victorian Young Australian of the Year Finalist
  • David Thodey AO, Chairman, Xero & Ramsay Healthcare and incoming University of Sydney Chancellor
  • The Hon Jay Weatherill AO, Director of Public Affairs with the Minderoo Foundation


The McKinnon Prize is Australia’s independent, non-partisan award for outstanding political leadership. It is a rare opportunity to recognise outstanding Australian political leadership, providing a crucial counterbalance to widespread mistrust and cynicism. The McKinnon Prize was first awarded in 2017. Previous recipients of the McKinnon Prize include Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Dr Helen Haines MP, Hon Tony Smith MP, Mayor Teresa Harding, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and Dr Anne Aly MP.
The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne.

Contact details:

Anil Lambert: 0416 426 722

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