As we leave behind one of the most politically-charged years in recent memory, the 2021 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership will again be decided by a diverse selection panel of some of Australia’s most distinguished leaders.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former New South Wales Premier Mike Baird are among a select group of eminent members forming the selection panel. The panel will determine which Australian politicians delivered outstanding leadership and positive impact in 2021 – based on a rigorous set of criteria focused on driving change for the benefit of the whole nation – during a year of historic challenges.
Indeed, an Ipsos poll of 1,000 Australians conducted in late September 2021 by The McKinnon Prize showed nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Australians believe Federal and State Governments had not collaborated well during the pandemic, exposing fault lines in our century-old Federation.
Speaking shortly after his appointment to the panel, Mr Baird said he believed the Prize celebrates the type of political leadership Australia needs most.
“Leadership is about being authentic and true to yourself. A good leader must follow what they are passionate about and understand that people matter. The Prize rewards leadership that inspires and unites people, not just the leadership that gets someone elected.
“That is the political leadership we need to see more of – leaders who are principled and values-driven to pursue the best possible public policy for their community, state and country,” Mr Baird said.
Ms Gillard said that the Prize represents the shared goal of generating community dialogue and understanding of the challenges of politics and leadership.
“As we look to recover from a tumultuous period of health and economic crises, we are looking for leaders who drive positive change through vision, collaboration, courage and decisiveness – and we should celebrate these values and behaviours when we see them”, Ms Gillard said.
“The McKinnon Prize recognises those who display visionary, courageous and collaborative leadership, and in doing so, prompts a discussion about what constitutes good political leadership.”
In addition to Ms Gillard and Mr Baird, the selection panel will include journalists Laura Tingle and Peta Credlin, Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney (and Chair of Commonwealth Bank) Catherine Livingstone, Chancellor of Macquarie University and former senior public servant Martin Parkinson, Co-Chair of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition Caitlin Figueiredo, Chancellor of the University of Canberra and Kungarakan elder Tom Calma, Founding Partner of BGH Capital Robin Bishop, and OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn. Former diplomat and public servant Dennis Richardson, will chair the panel.
“Deliberation by the McKinnon Prize selection panel is always a robust discussion between some of Australia’s most distinguished leaders. As panel members we come from different backgrounds and industries, bringing diverse perspectives on leadership, but what is unique about this forum is the respect and appreciation for the expertise each member contributes to recognise the best political leadership across our nation,” Mr Baird said.
The selection panel will be looking for stories of real impact and achievement, where peoples’ lives were made better through an ability to cross partisan divides, build coalitions and collaborate to achieve positive outcomes.
The panel will meet in next month to determine the McKinnon Political Leader of the Year and the McKinnon Emerging Leader of the Year.
About the McKinnon Prize
The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership is a non-partisan and independent award that recognises two outstanding Australian political leaders each year. It is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne through the Melbourne School of Government.
Selection Panel for 2021 McKinnon Prize
- Dennis Richardson, Former diplomat and public servant (Panel Chair)
- Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister
- Mike Baird, Former New South Wales Premier
- Laura Tingle, Journalist
- Peta Credlin, Journalist
- Catherine Livingstone, Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney and Chair of Commonwealth Bank
- Martin Parkinson, Chancellor of Macquarie University and former senior public servant
- Caitlin Figueiredo, Co-Chair of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
- Tom Calma, Chancellor of the University of Canberra and Kungarakan elder
- Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest founder
- Robin Bishop, Founding Partner of BGH Capital