And the Chester goes to … UniMelb understands that (sooner or later) good policy is good politics

A new award will reward emerging and established political leaders who have significantly served the community by providing policy leadership. The $20 000 awards are provided by the McKinnon Foundation and the University of Melbourne. UniMelb VC Glyn Davis will chair the ministry-sized selection panel, which includes Julia Gillard and John Howard. The McKinnon Foundation is the creation of Sophie Oh and Grant Rule (co-founder of messaging service Message Media).

“The McKinnon Prize celebrates political leaders at all levels of government, recognising those who have driven positive change and sparking a national conversation about the role of politicians and our aspirations for leadership in Australia. We believe these inspirational leaders exist, and that now is the time to shine a light on what they are doing,” Professor Davis says.

But what to call the trophy? CMM reckons the Chester, for 21st president of the United States Chester Arthur, a machine politician who came accidentally to office and upset the establishment by supporting reform of his own power-base, the patronage-riddled civil service. President Arthur still has a rotten rep but what he did was great policy and brave politics –Arthur’s predecessor was assassinated by an aggrieved factional foot-soldier who wanted a job.


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