After a year of discovering who really runs Australia, The Power Index is finally set to reveal the country's fifty most powerful people.
Throughout July, Paul Barry and The Power Index team will be counting down the most influential people in the nation from business, media, politics, sport and culture.
The Power 50 / 2012
News Limited columnist
Born in: Adelaide, South Australia
Friends: Gary Gray | John Roskam
Foes: Larissa Behrendt | Jelena Popovic | Bob Brown
Home Town: Melbourne
No matter what you think of his provocative views, News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt should not be underestimated; he’s writes with more verve than any other conservative commenter, he’s got his own political TV talk show and he blogs like a man possessed.
No-one else in the country uses the medium as effectively to ram home a point, whip up outrage, tear down opponents and mobilise his supporters than Bolt.
"He converts the doubters, he makes arguments for people -- that's why he's influential," says Liberal party grandee Michael Kroger (who tried to enlist Bolt to run for parliament).
Union boss Paul Howes and Mark Latham also rate him as a devastating advocate for the conservative cause. He’s been particularly successful at undermining trust in the science of man-made climate change and fomenting opposition to a carbon tax.
That said, Bolt’s influence has declined since we named him our most powerful “Media Megaphone” a year ago. MTR, the Melbourne radio station he appeared on daily, has folded, and Channel Ten’s The Bolt Report is easily out-rated by the ABC’s Insiders. He’s also less inclined to air his views on race since the Federal Court found him guilty of racial discrimination last September.