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
Premier, South Australia
Born in: Adelaide
Friends: Mark Butler
Home Town: Adelaide
With Labor out of power in all the major states and flailing federally, Jay Weatherill is the best thing the ALP’s got going for it.
Despite fears he would be seen as a puppet of the right wing powerbrokers who installed him as South Australia’s premier, the left-wing ex-lawyer has proved to be a shrewd, pragmatic and decisive leader since replacing the more colourful Mike Rann last July.
Under Weatherill’s watch, SA Labor has steamed ahead of the Liberals in the polls and notched up some significant policy wins -- including the creation of an Independent Commission against Corruption (an idea long-derided by Rann). He’s also legalised public holiday trading on Christmas and New Year’s Day and shaken up economic policy by announcing he will prioritise infrastructure spending over maintaining the state’s AAA credit rating.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have been delighted by his threat to launch a high court challenge unless more water is returned to Murray Darling Basin.
It’s a long time until the next election in 2014, but he has a strong chance of taking Labor to a fourth term.