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
National Secretary, Australian Workers' Union
Born in: Sydney
Foes: Kevin Rudd | Gina Rinehart | Mark Latham
Home Town: Sydney
Self-confident, self-promoting and self-aggrandising, 30-year old Paul Howes is l’enfant terrible of the Australian union movement.
His attention-grabbing ways have won him enemies, but have also put him exactly where he wants to be: at the centre of political debate.
In the past year, Howes’ interventions have helped win generous carbon tax handouts for the steel industry, pushed the government into introducing tough new anti-dumping laws and heaped pressure on the RBA to slash interest rates. Most recently, he helped kick off the debate revolving around Labor's relationship with the Greens, comparing them with One Nation.
A former teenage Trotskyist who left home at 15 and quit school at 17, he’s an ideas man and an alliance builder -- just look at his close, and effective, partnerships with NSW ALP boss Sam Dastyari and incoming ACTU secretary Dave Oliver.
“I expect him to get a federal ALP seat in NSW in the next decade and he’ll be a very formidable opponent in Canberra,” predicts Liberal Party veteran Michael Kroger. “He could easily lead the party.”