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
Chief of staff to Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Born in: Bendigo, Victoria
Friends: Julia Gillard | Steve Bracks
Home Town: Melbourne
Ask Labor insiders about Ben Hubbard and you'll hear the same words again and again: organised, well-liked, calm, policy-focused.
While blokey and bawdy -- a frequent dropper of the 'f' bomb -- he's not bad-tempered.
"I can't imagine anybody not liking Ben," says a former senior Gillard staffer. "It's hard to think of a bad thing to say about him," remarks a former ALP national secretary.
Hubbard helped the PM manoeuvre the carbon and mining taxes through a hung parliament -- both legislative triumphs. And there's no doubt he's made Gillard's office a smoother, more cohesive unit by setting up clear structures to deal with bureaucrats and ministers.
But Hubbard is not just an administrator, he's the prime minister's chief political adviser. And there's no escaping the Gillard government's political blunders. They all lead to one conclusion: Gillard is being given poor advice -- or she's receiving sound counsel and ignoring it.
Just look at the failure to foresee the fury that Gillard's decision to break her "no carbon tax" promise would unleash, or the Australia Day tent debacle.
Still, the PM, who convinced him to leave a plum job running the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction Taskforce, trust shim implicitly. While she remains in power, he’ll be one of the most influential people in Canberra.