McKinnon Prize shortlist reflects the changing face of Australian politics

| February 9, 2024

The McKinnon Prize, an independent and non-partisan award for outstanding political leadership, has announced the shortlist for its annual awards. This list includes a number outstanding political leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds, united by their delivery of effective political leadership and to inspire the next generation of Australian leaders.

After extensive deliberation, the 2023 McKinnon Prize’s Shortlisting Committee (see below) has shortlisted political leaders from all levels of government.

The McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year Shortlist includes Jonty Bush MP, Senator Kerrynne Liddle, Senator David Pocock, Allegra Spender MP, and Cr Anthony Tran and Cr Jasmine Nguyen in a joint nomination.

The McKinnon State and Territory Political Leader of the Year Shortlist is Hon Victor Dominello, Alex Greenwich MP, Hon Eloise ‘Ella’ Rafia Haddad MP, Hon Peter Malinauskas MP, the Hon Chanston ‘Chansey’ Paech MLA, Hon Chris Minns MP and Hon Dominic Perrottet MP (joint nomination).

The McKinnon Federal Political Leader of the Year Shortlist comprises Bridget Archer MP, Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Julian Leeser MP, Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Hon Clare O’Neil MP and Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

“These Prize Shortlisting nominations reflect the changing face of Australia’s political leadership,” said McKinnon Prize Shortlisting Committee Chair Michael Brennan.

“The list this year includes a number of politicians who were motivated to enter political life to make a difference in one particular area, while all nominees have demonstrated civility during heated debate and a willingness to work collaboratively.

“This year’s Emerging Leader list is particularly exciting and I believe each of the nominees have the capacity to inspire future Australian political leaders.

“Judging the quality of political leadership is obviously an ambitious undertaking. Wrestling with this shortlist stimulated a fascinating debate within the committee and I hope it stimulates debate in the community as well.

“As Australians we tend to be pretty sceptical about our political leaders. While that can be healthy, it’s also important to recognise examples of leadership excellence. Trust in our political leaders has been falling for some time, and without this trust, belief in our system of government can erode and necessary reforms become impossible to achieve.

“The McKinnon Prize is an unapologetically positive initiative designed to encourage constructive discussion about our expectations of political leadership. I look forward to seeing the final result determined by the Selection Panel.”

The Selection Panel will meet soon to decide on the winners of the Prize across its three categories – Federal, State and Emerging Political Leaders – measured against the Prize’s criteria. The Prize recipients will be announced following the Selection Panel meeting.

The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne.

The McKinnon Prize is judged by a unique Shortlisting Committee and then Selection Panel of prominent and accomplished Australians. By assembling a unique judging panel drawn from across the political spectrum the McKinnon Prize proves that genuine consensus is possible in the modern era.

This year the Shortlisting Committee comprised Michael Brennan, the CEO of the e61 Institute as Chair; Anthony Benscher, the Managing Director of Barton Deakin; Wendy Black, Head of Policy at the Business Council of Australia; Phillip Coorey, the Political Editor of the Australian Financial Review; David Cross, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Vice Chancellor at UNSW; Emma Dawson, the Executive Director of Per Capita; Ryan Liddell, a Managing Partner of Principle Advisory; Shayne Mallard, Director City Futures at Liverpool City Council; Bronwyn Pike, CEO of Uniting Vic Tas; Nicholas Reece, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne; John Scales, the Founder of JWS Research; and Lenore Taylor, the Editor of The Guardian Australia.