Steele-John’s good leadership praised
Greens Senator for WA Jordon Steele-John has been recognised for his contribution to Australian Federal politics being named the McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year.
The 24-year-old from Baldivis has had a rollercoaster 18 months since replacing Scott Ludlam in the senate following the dual citizenship affair, and received the award for the politician with less than five years in office for his outstanding leadership on disability advocacy.
The McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership was started in 2017 to help recognise, reward and inspire visionary, collaborative, courageous and impactful political leadership in Australia by celebrating examples of great political leadership and to foster a higher standard of political leadership.
The award is supported and delivered through a collaborative partnership between the Susan McKinnon Foundation, a philanthropic organisation set up by Melbourne businessman Grant Rule and his wife Sophie Oh in 2015, and the Melbourne School of Government.
The selection panel for the award includes former prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Howard as well as distinguished business, political, education and sporting leaders.
Mr Steele-John said he was thrilled to receive the recognition.
“It is time to acknowledge that our political system is made up largely of people whose lives and experiences look nothing like those of the community they are supposed to serve,” he said.
“I accept this award not as a Senator but as a proud disabled man and youth rights activist who now has the honour of bringing the voices and demands of our movement to the heart of the Australian democracy.
“To tackle the very real challenges of our time — from climate change to economic inequality to political corruption — diversity and equality must be at the heart of our politics.”
He cited former Greens leader in the WA State Parliament Giz Watson and fellow WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert as political leaders who’ve inspired him but in personal terms said the leader who inspired him most is his mother, Tracey.
Mr Steele-John pushed for a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability and was last week successful in his efforts, with the Federal Government allocating more than half a billion dollars in funding — the most a royal commission has received.
Mr Steele-John said it had taken almost five years for major parties to agree to a commission, and said he doubted it would have happened without a disabled person in the Parliament.
“Sharing the experiences and stories of disabled people is absolutely critical, and is the only way we will achieve justice,” he said.
To give feedback on the terms of reference for the royal commission, go to dss.gov.au/disabilityroyalcommission.
Greens Senator for WA Jordon Steele-John.