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
Leader of the Opposition
Born in: London, England
Home Town: Sydney
Tony Abbott is a storyteller and that’s the secret of his success as Australia's most effective ever Opposition Leader.
Yes, he narrowly lost the 2010 election. But since then he’s deployed a limited arsenal to devastating effect. He’s been relentlessly negative; creating simple, effective narratives about the government and Julia Gillard.
His greatest creation remains the reframing of the emissions trading debate into one about a "great big new tax" that intimidated Rudd. Labor has been unable to find a response to his tactics.
Abbott is prone to changing his position on even the most important issues, having maintained at various times that the planet was cooling, that a carbon tax was the best means of climate action and that Rudd's CPRS should be passed.
But this lack of intellectual consistency has been one of his greatest power assets -- especially given it’s allowed him to craft narratives about his opponents.
So can he tell positive stories as well as he can tell the negative ones? That’s a question that may not need to be answered before the next election; such is the Coalition's lead that there may be minimal pressure to offer a full suite of detailed policies.