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
Executive Chairperson of Hancock Prospecting
Born in: Perth
Foes: Wayne Swan | Rose Porteus | Much of her family
Home Town: Perth
If money talked, Gina Rinehart would have easily the loudest voice in Australia. But Wayne Swan’s just about the only one’s who’s listening, because all she ever tells us is to be nice to miners like her; they make Australia rich.
Sad to say, we’re all much more interested in the mining giant’s battle with three of her four children over $4 billion left to them by their grandfather, Lang Hancock. The kids want Gina dumped as their trustee because she’s starved them of money and told them all to get a job.
Rinehart and her lawyers have busted a gut to keep the gory details secret, but all they’ve done is generate more publicity and ensure every juicy morsel is gobbled up by the papers.
Still, Rinehart has the largest pile in the country and looks willing to use it. If Gina understood the media better, she might get more mileage from her $17 billion fortune. But even though she could afford to buy all of Australia’s newspapers, magazines, commercial TV networks and radio stations, she’ll never be a Murdoch. Her ongoing raid on Fairfax Media -- she now owns about 15% -- has won her a seat on the board, but there's no sign that will change the papers’ editorial stance. And while she’s done better with her 10% of Network Ten, where her good friend Andrew Bolt has been given his own show, she’s lost half her money in the process.
Rinehart hates the carbon tax and mining tax, and is happy to put her money where her mouth is, funding the 2010 speaking tour by climate change denier, Lord Monckton. But she is proof that money can’t always buy love or power.