mckinnon institiute
Political Leadership For 20212022-03-03T11:39:33+11:00

Political Leadership for 2021

An online professional development course for MPs.

HomePolitical Leadership For 2021

Political Leadership for 2021 (PL2021) is an online professional development course for MPs. It gives MPs the tools and insights based on experience from those who have led before. Content is based on real life examples and practical case studies.

As well as hearing from expert speakers there will be ample opportunity for interaction and discussion, MPs will also receive supporting references, case studies and short videos.

PL2021 is open to all NSW state MPs, after more than 60 NSW and Victorian MPs participated in 2020.

The course focused on being an effective MP in a post-COVID world. It included sessions on leadership; the COVID era and your role as an MP; MPs mental health and wellbeing; delivering policy reform; and how MPs can influence reform. The course is designed to be flexible, so MPs can choose sessions to fit their interests and availability.

PL2021 Course Dates

Each online session runs for 90 minutes.

  • Session 1: Friday 15 October 2021
  • Session 2: Friday 22 October 2021
  • Session 3: Friday 29 October 2021
  • Session 4: Friday 5 November 2021
  • Session 5: Friday 12 November 2021
  • Session 6: Friday 19 November 2021
  • Session 7: Friday 26 November 2021
  • Session 8: Friday 3 December 2021

The total cost of PL2021 is $1,000 (plus GST).

Other activities


Party elders to guide and support.

Alumni Network

Enabling ongoing connections for Fellows and participants, to build the McKinnon Institute community.

Research & Publications

Curating McKinnon Institute’s unique knowledge base of political leadership.

Marketing & Events

Tailored events and communications to build participants’ networks and knowledge.


Ministers reflect

The Institute for Government in the UK is often an excellent source of insight on [...]

Find out more

What our graduates say about us

When I was first asked to be a part of this course, I thought two things — firstly, do I really need to do this, and secondly, do I have time for this?

Well, the answer to the first question was yes — I absolutely needed to do this, and the answer to the second part of the question — I have to find time to do this, there's no excuse. We've never experienced a situation like COVID-19, whether as a Member of Parliament and as a member of the community. It's something that we are learning to deal with.

So what the McKinnon Institute team are doing is absolutely brilliant and we need you to keep doing it, and we need to be encouraging our colleagues to attend more of your courses. So, thank you for putting this all together.

John Ajaka

Former President of the NSW Legislative Council
Political Leadership for 2020 Graduate

In a year of so many obstacles and unprecedented events such as drought, bushfires and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, the course provided a unique environment to help shape our approach and objective thinking, as we are tasked with responding to these crises.

The expert guest speakers across the various panels and modules of the course were brilliantly diverse and well versed in their fields. They provided excellent first-hand experience, advice and challenges for us to consider, for which I am grateful.

Please know that I shall have no hesitation in commending the course to colleagues and political affiliates considering undertaking professional development. Raising the standard for our civic leaders is vital and the opportunity to participate in such a forum is most worthwhile.

The Hon. Natalie Ward MLC

Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General
Parliament of New South Wales
Political Leadership for 2020 Graduate

If you’d like to know more, we’d love to hear from you.

If you would like to get involved and find out more about our upcoming courses,
please get in touch with our team who can assist you.

Enquire Now

PL2021 Course Program

Session 1 & Session 8 are compulsory sessions. You will select a minimum of 4 elective sessions of your choice in line with your preferences and professional needs. Your selections will be confirmed upon course registration.

The COVID era and your role as an MP
Friday 15 October 3:00 – 4:30PM AEDT
One of the world’s leading policy researchers shares his analysis of the nature of the COVID shock, how governments have responded and the emerging challenges they will soon have to meet.
Professor Paul ‘t Hart – ANZSOG, Utrecht University, Netherlands School of
Public Administration
An electorate office that works
Friday 22 October 2:00 – 3.30PM AEDT
The usual stress of electorate offices is amplified by the impact of COVID, prolonged fatigue and working remotely. Sharon Bent has worked with MPs and their staff over many years, and offers some practical tips to help you navigate these challenges.
Sharon Bent – Organisational psychologist & executive coach
Frameworks for decision making
Friday 29 October 2:00 – 3.30PM AEDT
Politicians frequently need to make a decision that has significant impacts on the lives of others. Often these decisions must be made to tight deadlines, on the basis of contested or uncertain evidence and taking into account the reasonable but conflicting rights and interests of a range of parties. So how can we have confidence that we have made a good decision?
Peter Mares – Lead Moderator, Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership
Authentic leadership in times of uncertainty
Friday 5 November 2:00 – 3.30PM AEDT
In a world of great uncertainty, authentic leadership is needed to build trust with partners and those you wish to serve. This session will share with you practical tools that can help you to do this effectively.
Professor Richard Hall – Deputy Dean, Leadership and Executive Education,
Monash Business School
Keeping it real: MP mental health
and building resilience
Friday 12 November 2:00 – 3.30PM AEDT
Maintaining good mental health and building resilience as an MP – real life insight and professional advice.
John Brogden AM – CEO, Landcom; National Board Chair, Lifeline & Former
Leader of the Opposition, New South Wales
Dr Deidre Anderson – Sports Psychologist
How MPs can influence reform (Part 1)
Friday 19 November 2:00 – 3.30PM AEDT
Using practical examples, this session explores the practical strategies and tools local members have at their disposal to have policy influence.
Janelle Saffin MP – Member for Lismore, Parliament of NSW
How MPs can influence reform (Part 2)
Friday 26 November 2:00 – 3:30PM AEDT
Senator Dean Smith was the 2017 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year for his role in Australia’s marriage equality debate. Through this case study, he will describe how personal commitment and a willingness to recognise diverse views can help to shape policy, political and societal change.
Senator Dean Smith – Senator for Western Australia
After 2020: Where to from here?
Friday 3 December 2:00 – 3:30PM AEDT
What might a COVID-normal future look like and what are the old and new challenges that may yet return to the centre of the policy and political debate? How might our policy and political institutions need to evolve if they are to be capable of meeting such challenges?
The Hon Jay Weatherill – Former Premier of South Australia
Melinda Cilento – Chief Executive – Committee for Economic Development
of Australia (CEDA)
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