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
Manager of Opposition Business and the Liberal Party's key powerbroker
Born in: Adelaide
Foes: Nick Minchin | Cory Bernardi
Home Town: Adelaide
“Poodle”, “mincing” and “loathed” are just some of the epithets used to describe Christopher Pyne MP. But now Nick Minchin has sheathed his sword, the bumptious boy from Adelaide is the Liberal Party’s leading powerbroker.
Not only is the South Australian MP Tony Abbott's number one supporter and top tactician, the two have been friends for more than a decade. ''It's the Jesuit connection,'' says one seasoned journalist who has watched them break bread together many times.
Pyne and Abbott are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Even so, while Chris is a republican, a Costello supporter and leader of the Liberal Left, like many Catholics he shares Abbott’s hard line on drugs, abortion and stem-cell research.
Pyne’s power is drawn from his formidable media contacts, immense energy and insatiable appetite for self-promotion. He also commands an army of willing foot soldiers working hard at grassroots level to advance his cause.
Once famously described as “the most annoying person in Australia” (two-thirds of 22,672 respondents to a 2010 poll for The Age clicked, “Can’t stand him”) he is still a great asset to his leader as an enforcer, messenger, whipper-in, and tireless spruiker for the Opposition cause.
When the Coalition takes power in 2013, as it surely will, Pyne will be even more powerful. Make nice with him if you get the chance.