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
Founder, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation
Born in: Melbourne
At 81, Rupert Murdoch can still fly into Australia to sack his right-hand man, rip apart the front pages, terrify his editors and have them hanging on his every word in case they should fail to catch a passing wish.
Meanwhile, his 175 newspapers around the world dutifully spout his views -- on the Iraq War at least -- and back whatever political leader he decides to endorse, be it George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, John Howard or even Kevin Rudd.
Rupert doesn't have to tell everyone exactly what to do, because his editors -- who are an incredibly loyal bunch -- are constantly trying to second-guess him and keep him sweet.
The big question now about Murdoch is how much his power will be damaged by the News of the World hacking scandal in the UK. We wouldn't expect him or his emissaries to be as welcome with the British government as they were between May 2010 and July 2011 when they met ministers twice a week on average. But whether the examination and excoriation will really spell the end of Murdoch power is too early to say.
However, even back in Australia, politicians and the media no longer fear Murdoch's News Ltd as much as they did, and more have been prepared to stand up and criticise.
Eventually, Rupert must slow down (or die), but if he lives as long as his mother, Dame Elisabeth, he'll have at least another 22 years to rule the roost, unless the hacking scandal or the evidence he provided at the Leveson inquiry, (the public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press), knocks him off his perch.
But as his interrogation during the inquiry has shown, he’s looking fitter and sharper than he has for many years.