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: Sydney
James Packer certainly can't match his famous father for clout. But the war he's waging to build a second Sydney casino shows that he comes from the same powerful gene pool. And it proves the Packer name still rings loud with the nation's decision makers.
The gaming and pay-TV tycoon's $5 billion fortune-- somewhat reduced by a couple of bad bets in US casinos in 2008 -- is also a powerful tool in getting him what he wants, as is his willingness to take risks and create jobs.
Big Jim already has the Liberal premier of NSW, Barry O'Farrell, eating out of his hand on the casino, and he has now enlisted the ALP's dream team, Karl Bitar and Mark Arbib, who did such a brilliant job of seizing control of the NSW Labor party, before they ran it into the wall and wrecked it.
No doubt he's paying the pair extremely well to help him get a hold of Echo Entertainment, owners of Sydney's Star casino.
Whether or not James gets what he wants this time, The Power Index reckons his public campaign says a lot about how much he's changed since his father died in December 2005. At the depths of the GFC in early 2008, there was talk of him being depressed, almost suicidal, and of him cashing it all in or privatising the empire to avoid public scrutiny. Recently, he has looked relaxed and confident in public, and much happier in his own skin. He seems much more mature, much more his own person.
He may never be as powerful as his father, but he appears to finally be out of his shadow.