22 February 2023 – The shortlist for the 2022 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership was announced today, featuring a variety of achievements in leadership, but one strong theme. Leaders who responded to the needs of their local communities – and pent-up demand for action on key issues – were recognised by the Shortlisting Committee, validating that 2022 was indeed the “year of the citizen”.
While major parties are strongly represented, the 2022 shortlist reflects the seismic changes in our politics in 2022, with Australians responding to a diversity of leaders across all levels of government who listened, engaged, and collaborated to drive positive outcomes for their constituents.
While the Prize is designed to recognise positive impact, it is no coincidence that the shortlist includes many leaders who were focused on the big issues of 2022, such as action on climate, integrity in governance, representation, and diversity, which were also rewarded electorally.
Last year, Australians voted for leaders with long term-vision and courage, and for leaders who would fight for them in their local electorates and communities, to truly represent them. The shortlist includes leaders who have changed our entire political landscape, those who are breaking new ground and new ceilings, advocating for matters important to their communities, and leaders who responded to natural disasters shoulder-to-shoulder with their constituents.
Elected representatives with more than five years in elected office at a local, state and territory or federal level can be nominated for the McKinnon Political Leader of the Year.
The shortlisted leaders for the 2022 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year are:
• Hon Anthony Albanese MP
• Bridget Archer MP
• Hon Linda Burney MP
• Alex Greenwich MP
• Hon Matt Kean MP
• Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Fiona Patten MLC has been recognised with an honourable mention by the McKinnon Prize Shortlisting Committee for her significant achievements and impact over her parliamentary career.
The McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year recognises elected representatives at a local, state and territory or federal level with fewer than five years in elected office.
The shortlisted leaders for the 2022 McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year are:
• In a joint nomination, Geraldine Atkinson and Marcus Stewart, Co-Chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria
• Dr Helen Haines MP
• Senator David Pocock
• In a collective nomination, the Teal Independents
• Councillor Anthony Tran, Maribyrnong City Council
Danielle Wood, Chair of the 2022 McKinnon Prize Shortlisting Committee and CEO of the Grattan Institute, said good political leadership should be recognised amid ongoing policy challenges facing the nation.
“While you might not agree with the politics or policies of everyone on the shortlist, what is very clear
is each political leader showed qualities of great leadership the McKinnon Prize aims to represent,”
Ms Wood said.
“The shortlist has displayed integrity, vision, and collaboration, and within their areas of influence
have demonstrated courage to change our country for the better. This is worth celebrating.”
McKinnon Prize Patron and former prime minister the Hon Julia Gillard AC said the shortlisted
nominees reflected how very different leaders are representing the interests and priorities of their
“Understandably and correctly, Australians expect a lot from their political leaders. The shortlisted
nominees highlight the positive work our leaders are tackling at all levels of government,” Ms Gillard
“It’s this sort of leadership and contribution which I hope inspires the next generation to stand up and
participate in meaningful, democratic discourse.”
McKinnon Prize Patron and former NSW premier the Hon Mike Baird AO expressed support for the
diversity of leaders represented by the shortlist, and the variety of impact felt across the political
“This year’s McKinnon Prize shortlist demonstrates the diversity of good leadership, particularly
emerging leadership, across the country,” Mr Baird said.
“From a local level to our Federal Parliament, we don’t expect to see the same style of leadership
from every leader. 2022 saw different approaches to leadership which connected with communities.
This year’s shortlist certainly shows that.”
Recipients of the 2022 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership will be determined by a Selection Panel
of distinguished Australian leaders later this month.
The Panel will be looking for stories of real impact and achievement, where peoples’ lives were made
better through an ability to demonstrate vision, work across partisan divides, build coalitions and
collaborate to achieve positive outcomes.
Previous recipients of the McKinnon Prize include the Hon Tony Smith MP, Mayor Teresa Harding,
the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and Dr Anne Aly MP, amongst others.