Dean Smith wins the inaugural McKinnon Prize Political Leader of the Year

Liberal Senator Dean Smith has been awarded a new prize for political leadership.

Senator Smith was named the inaugural recipient of the McKinnon Prize Political Leader of the Year. The award is given by the Susan McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne.

Among the judging panel was former prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Howard, alongside a group of business, political, education and sport leaders.

Senator Smith was recognised for his work in promoting marriage equality and driving Australia’s landmark reform in 2017.

The award is only eligible to people who have been in office for less than five years. It was acknowledged that Senator Smith pushed forward with his beliefs despite opposition from within his own party and built consensus with politicians from all parts of the political spectrum.

“It’s my hope the award will encourage others to have the confidence of their convictions and to recognise the opportunities that can be realised by looking beyond traditional partisan lines,” Senator Smith told The Australian Financial Review.

Former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard praised Senator Smith’s work.

“If we are to rebuild the confidence of Australians in their democratic institutions, parliamentarians must be prepared to work issues through on their merits, and never lose sight of the fundamental values of decency and fairness that have always been our foundation.”

“Dean won because of the bravery he showed in campaigning on an issue that was divisive within his own political party. He also showed personal fortitude in the way he advocated for a yes vote around Australia,” Gillard said.

OIP Staff

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