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
Born in: Melbourne
Foes: Greg Sword | David Feeney
Home Town: Melbourne
Small, friendly and charming, Bill Shorten looks like a cuddly koala, but watch out; he can scratch. In 2010, the former union boss was one of the MPs who knifed Kevin Rudd, working two mobile phones from a Canberra restaurant as he marshaled the numbers for Julia Gillard.
Since then, he’s stuck close to the new PM and been given a seat in the cabinet, adding the important job of workplace relations minister to his superannuation and financial services portfolio.
Bob Hawke and Kim Beazley both picked the ambitious Mr Shorten long ago as a potential Labor leader. Apparently he shares their high opinion. ''Bill is a future champion,'' the late Senator John Button once quipped. ''I know that because he's told me.''
So, will he get what he’s after? Quite possibly; Blinky Bill impresses people he deals with, has great communication skills, is an excellent negotiator, and oozes sincerity. He’s also got the backing of the powerful Australian Workers Union. But he has plenty of enemies who say he’s not to be trusted.
On his climb to the top, Bill set up the ShortCons faction with his old mate Stephen Conroy, which now dominates the ALP Right in Victoria. Like most powerful factional leaders, his hands aren’t clean, but he has got charisma, and he may have principles. The ALP could do far worse.