A meteoric rise from small town deputy mayor to the leader of the No campaign has led to Jacinta Nampijinpa Price being short-listed for a prestigious prize for political leadership.
The McKinnon Prize announced its nominations for political leadership across three categories: federal, state and emerging leader on Thursday.
Senator Price’s contribution to public life over the previous 12 months did not go unnoticed, and neither did the work of Julian Leeser – the Liberal colleague she replaced on the frontbench after he stepped down to support the Voice.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Assistant Competition, Charities and Treasury Minister Andrew Leigh were also nominated.
Liberal backbencher Bridget Archer, who has repeatedly been willing to cross the floor to vote with Labor and advocated for modernisation of the party, rounded out the shortlist for federal leader of the year.
McKinnon Prize shortlisting committee chair Michael Brennan said this year’s nominations reflected the “changing face of Australia’s political leadership”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Brennan described this year’s emerging leader list – which includes rugby star turned senator David Pocock, Liberal senator Kerrynne Liddle, Allegra Spender, Queensland MP Jonty Bush as well as councillors Anthony Tran and Jasmine Nguyen – as “particularly exciting”.
“I believe each of the nominees have the capacity to inspire future Australian political leaders,” he said.
At a state level, NSW led the nominations with four politicians — former minister Victor Dominello and independent MP Alex Greenwich were recognised alongside Premier Chris Minns and his predecessor Dominic Perrottet.
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas, Tasmanian Labor’s Ella Haddad and NT Attorney-General Chanston Paech were also short-listed for the award.
Mr Brennan said the process of narrowing down the nominations “stimulated a fascinating debate within the committee.”
“I hope it stimulates debate in the community as well,” he said.