About McKinnon Institute
As leaders today, politicians face a more complex, pressured and difficult job than ever before.
Our programs provide a stimulating and challenging experience for MPs through collaborative and interactive sessions with guest presenters, one-on-one and group work with colleagues and facilitators, and deep dive sessions with former ministers, politicians and public servants sharing their own leadership lessons and reflections.
- Monash academics
- Former MP’s as practitioners
- Senior political staff practitioners
- Leaders with subject matter experts on the panels
- National and NZ presence
Hon Tony Smith
Hon Tony Smith had rare and strong bipartisan support as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the federal parliament, with his performance in the role becoming the benchmark against which others are measured.
Hon Kate Ellis
Hon Kate Ellis served as Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth; Minister for Employment Participation; Minister for the Status of Women and Minister for Sport under the Rudd and Gillard governments. In her book Sex, Lies and Question Time, published in early 2021, Ms Ellis calls out negative impacts on women of political culture, and argues for change.
Ian Walker served as Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts in the previous LNP government in Queensland. Prior to his election he enjoyed a successful legal career, in addition to his extensive work in the community.
Grant was the co-Founder and Executive Director of MessageMedia, Australia’s largest cloud based, business SMS solution provider and a leading player in the global market. The financial success of MessageMedia led to the creation of the Susan McKinnon Foundation in 2015. After nearly two decades working in technology and following the sale on MessageMedia in 2021, Grant now focuses his time and entrepreneurial flair on the work of the Susan McKinnon Foundation.
Hon. Prof John Thwaites AM
John is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and ClimateWorks Australia. He was the Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999-2007.
Sam runs the Susan McKinnon Foundation, joining as their first employee. She joined the philanthropic sector after over a decade in brand and marketing.
Prof. Sharon Pickering
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education
Sharon is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Senior Vice President of Monash University. She previously served as Dean of Arts at Monash University and prior to that as the Head of the School of Social Sciences.
Hon Prof. Chris Pearce
Chris is Managing Director of Pearce Advisory. He serves on a number of not-for-profit boards and is an adjunct professor at Deakin University. He was a federal MP from 2001 – 2010 and during this time served in the ministry as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer.
Meet the team
Prof. Rod Glover
Rod’s deep passion is public policy. This includes roles as Deputy Secretary (Innovation and Projects) in Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and as Senior Adviser to an Australian Prime Minister.
Margaret was appointed CEO of the McKinnon Institute in 2019, and is a former member of the State Parliament of Victoria. Prior to Margaret’s election, she worked as an industrial advocate, a federal government advisor, and as a communications professional.
Prof. Anne Tiernan
Head of Research & Professor of Political Leadership
Professor Anne Tiernan is a political scientist, author and public commentator with three decades’ experience in academia, federal and state government and consulting. Her research focuses on the work of governing.
Head of Engagement
Darren has served as a Chief of Staff in the office of federal and state cabinet ministers, and in corporate affairs roles in the energy, resources and banking sectors.
Manager, Communications & Events
Amy has worked in the political sphere for almost a decade; leading communications programs, advocacy campaigns and coordinating large scale events for state and federal members of parliament.
Finance and Operations Manager
An experienced client engagement specialist with extensive experience across a variety of sectors in relationship, account and project management positions.
Matt has been Policy Director for three NSW Premiers over the last decade, Chief Operating Officer for health insurance company Manchester Unity, and a senior advisor for Westpac and the Australian Energy Market Commission.
As Project Officer, Naomi assists with many facets of program development from conception to completion. Working closely with the academic team to build a new digital learning space for alumni, Naomi works hard to ensure a smooth learning experience for MPs across all McKinnon programs.