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
Lowy Institute founder, Westfield co-founder and FFA chairman
Born in: Czechoslovakia, he migrated to Australia in 1952
Friends: Rupert Murdoch | Bob Hawke | John Howard | Bob Carr | Kevin Rudd
Foes: Clive Palmer
As founder of Westfield and the modern mall, Frank Lowy has had a huge impact on the way we live, shop and work. But that’s just for starters; in 2003, he set up the Lowy Institute for International Policy, arguably Australia’s leading think tank.
The 81-year old entrepreneur, who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1930 and fought the Arabs in Israel after the Second World War, also served as a director of the Reserve Bank for a decade, from 1995 to 2005.
A big donor to both major political parties, he has been courted constantly by Australian prime ministers -- John Howard, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd -- despite recurring problems with the Australian Taxation Office.
To round off his influence, Lowy has long been chairman of Football Federation Australia, which runs soccer in this country. Not to mention he is one of Australia’s richest men, with a fortune of around $5 billion.
However, Lowy keeps a low profile politically, unlike the mining magnates who have so upset Wayne Swan, and his think tank is generally moderate and non-partisan.
But he is a passionate supporter of Israel, founding and chairing Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies, which, according to Antony Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question, "produces research that pushes a hardline, Zionist line on the Israel-Palestine conflict".