In Australia, we tend to be good at pointing out what we don't like about our leaders.

However, we believe it is vital to identify, honour and engage in conversation about the admirable qualities and accomplishments of outstanding leadership. That is what the McKinnon Prize seeks to do.

The McKinnon Prize is a rare opportunity to recognise outstanding Australian political leadership, providing a crucial and constructive counterbalance to widespread cynicsm.



Senator the Hon Penny Wong

McKinnon Political Leader of the Year

Senator the Hon Penny Wong has been named the 2022 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year for her swift progress in re-setting Australia’s foreign policy agenda and restoring important bilateral relationships in a challenging geopolitical environment. Senator Wong is the only recipient to have been recognised twice, having been named the 2018 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year.

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Dr Helen Haines MP

McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year

Dr Helen Haines MP has been named the 2022 McKinnon Emerging Leader of the Year for her commitment to integrity in politics, her dedication to serving her electorate and her considerable impact as a “community-driven” leader on the national stage.

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2022 McKinnon Prize Recipient Video

Danielle Wood: A note from the Shortlisting Committee Chair 

Good political leadership is critical if we are going to meet the daunting policy challenges confronting Australia. So, we should celebrate great leadership where we see it. That’s why I was delighted to chair the Shortlisting Committee for the 2022 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership.

The Shortlisting Committee whittled down an impressive longlist of nominations from the public, business, and community groups to just six for the Political Leader of the Year award and five for the Emerging Political Leader of the Year prize.
You are unlikely to agree with the policies or politics of everyone on the shortlist. But I hope you will agree they have shown integrity, vision, capacity to collaborate, and above all changed the country for the better within their sphere.

Political Leader of the Year Shortlisted Nominees

Hon Anthony Albanese PM

31st Prime Minister of Australia
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Bridget Archer MP

Member for Bass
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Hon Linda Burney MP

Minister for Indigenous Australians
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Alex Greenwich MP

Member for Sydney
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Hon Matt Kean MP

Treasurer of New South Wales & Deputy Minister for Energy
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Senator Hon Penny Wong

Minister for Foreign Affairs
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Emerging Political Leader of the Year Shortlisted Nominees

Geraldine Atkinson & Marcus Stewart

Co-Chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria
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Dr Helen Haines MP

Member for Indi
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Senator David Pocock

Senator for the ACT
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The Teal Independents 

Members of the House of Representatives
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Cr Anthony Tran

Mayor of Maribyrnong City
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Selection Panel

Catherine Livingstone AO FAA FTSE (Chair)

Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney
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The Hon John Brumby AO

Former Premier of Victoria
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Professor Tom Calma AO

Chancellor of University of Canberra
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Peta Credlin AO

Political Commentator at Sky News Australia
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Dr Alan Finkel AC

Chair of Stile Education, Chair of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Biotechnology
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Caitlin Figueiredo

Co-Chair of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
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The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer

former Cabinet Minister and member of the Australian Parliament
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Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM

Chancellor of Macquarie University
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Annika Smethurst

State Political Editor at The Age
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Doug Taylor

CEO of The Smith Family
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Dr Julie Wells

Vice-President (Strategy and Culture) at The University of Melbourne
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Shortlisting Committee

Danielle Wood (Chair)

CEO of the Grattan Institute
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James Copsey

Partner at KPMG Australia
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David Cross

CEO of Blueprint Institute
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Patricia Karvelas

Host of RN Breakfast, ABC Radio National
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Phillip Coorey

Political Editor at the Australian Financial Review
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Ben Oquist

Director Climate and ESG at DPG Advisory Solutions
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Michael Perusco

CEO of Berry Street
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Nicholas Reece

Principal Fellow with Melbourne School of Government at The University of Melbourne
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Innes Willox AM

Chief Executive of Australia Industry Group
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John Scales

Founder of JWS Research
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