Evaluating prime-ministerial performance: The Australian experience

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This chapter reviews the results of a series of rankings of Australian prime ministers. The chapter contextualizes that review within a discussion of the reluctance in Australia towards systematic and comparative leadership of prime ministers and an associated grudging attitude towards proclaiming leadership virtuosity. Indeed, the chapter highlights a vein of insecurity in Australia about the calibre of its national leadership, as encapsulated in a famous homegrown aphorism that ‘Australia is a lucky country run by mainly second-rate people who share its luck’. Despite this apparent pessimism, the chapter shows that a defining characteristic of nearly all of Australia’s highly-rated prime ministers is that they have been initiators of a new national macro-policy settlement. In short, they have been transformative leaders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Prime-Ministerial Performance
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Perspectives
EditorsPaul Strangio, Paul 't Hart, James Walter
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780199666423
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Australian prime ministers
  • leadership rankings and ratings
  • prime-ministerial reputations

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