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: Nambour, Queensland
Friends: Bill Ludwig
Wayne Swan delivers the budget, craves a surplus and is lucky enough to run one of the world’s healthiest economies. But is he really the World's Greatest Treasurer, as Euromoney magazine recently claimed?
Mark Latham, who gave him the shadow treasurer’s job in 2004, once branded him "insipid", "unfamiliar with basic economic terminology", and beset by "nerves and anxiety".
Cheryl Kernot, who knows him from Queensland days, told The Power Index, "People in Canberra don't think he's good, even on the Right. And he's been appallingly weak in supporting Julia Gillard on the mining and carbon taxes."
And a former treasurer told us, "The Treasurer's words are much more important to the markets than those of the Prime Minister. But I don't think anyone has told Swanny. He's gone into Treasury as if he's still on the campaign trail."
Witness his recent whinging about those evil mining billionaires making life impossible for Labor.
So is he as bad as his critics say, or as good as his gong? Answer: he's competent at best, with few skills as a salesman, no reforming zeal and almost zero star quality.
His saving grace, says one ex-Labor staffer is, "He's not stupid enough to think he can run Treasury. He does what he's told, which means he doesn't do anything radical, but he doesn't get too much wrong."