McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year 2021

Mayor Teresa Harding

Mayor Teresa Harding was named the 2021 McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year for her work in improving transparency and public accountability in political institutions.

Throughout 2021, Ms Harding improved integrity and transparency through transforming the Ipswich City Council and in doing so rebuilding the trust and respect of her constituents.

A former member of the armed forces, Ms Harding entered local politics in March 2020, tasked with bringing a fresh start to a Council that had been beset by allegations of corruption. Within 12 months, Ms Harding demonstrated her ability to lead and inspire public confidence in local government. She did this by launching the Transparency and Integrity Hub (TIH) which championed the need to adopt a global best practice approach to open and transparent public sector financial management.

The 2021 Selection Panel commended Ms Harding for her work to introduce transparency reforms and noted her leadership to improve the accountability of officials elected to local government, particularly amid an unprecedented period of pandemic-related disruptions.