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
Premier of New South Wales
Born in: Melbourne
Home Town: Sydney
The NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell holds the key to change in the country’s biggest state. Unfortunately, up until recently he’s decided to bar the door instead, which makes him powerful, but for all the wrong reasons.
BOF is a cautious, conservative politician who is happiest when he’s setting up inquiries and delegating his powers to people like former premier Nick Greiner … then ignoring their advice.
Mostly it’s been a barren first year in office, which has earned him the unflattering nickname “Barrier O’Farrell”.
Perhaps that moniker has stung O’Farrell into action, because he’s started getting things done. This year he has raised billions selling off the state's electricity generators, signaled the death knell for the widely-loathed monorail and slashed public service numbers.
However there those who still say he’s doing his best to stop Sydney building a much-needed second airport. To cap it all, he’s been up to his armpits in the Star Casino scandal, starring his (now former) communications director, Peter Grimshaw.
One thing Bazza has done is to persuade the NSW parliament to ban political donations from trade unions, companies and special interest groups, which will make it even harder for Labor to get back into power.
Baz’s latest light bulb moment is to get people who want to fly to Sydney, to fly to Canberra instead and catch a new fast train. Even his Liberal Party mates say it’s a ridiculous idea.