There's Some Harsh Reality For Kevin Rudd Waiting In The AFR's Latest Power List

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Power is great fun when you have it; there’s a fulfilling sense of place and authority and everyone, even if they don’t like you, treats you with some respect.

The trouble is that power rarely lasts and when it’s taken away it hurts.

The pain and triumphs are revealed today in the Australian Financial Review’s 2013 Power List.

Sitting comfortably as expected in the top spot is Prime Minister Tony Abbott with his old sparing partner Kevin Rudd down the ladder behind (ouch) Julia Gillard.

“Truth be told, this was a year in the analysis of power in Australia where scepticism, if not cynicism, was the prevailing mood,” says the Financial Review.

“Not just in politics but in business and culture, whether it was the lack of humanity in the asylum seeker debate, misogyny in politics, drugs in sport, casual racism, or the banal disinterest of many voters.

“There were, after all, three prime ministers in four months and none came close to having the kind of approval rating that spoke of trust in their leadership.”

Here’s the main players in 2013:


Tony Abbott, Glenn Stevens, Joe Hockey, Rupert Murdoch, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Big four bank CEOs, Barry O’Farrell, Tony Shepherd/Jennifer Westacott, Jac Nasser/Andrew Mackenzie


Ian Watt, Peta Credlin, Noel Pearson, The pollsters, Brian Loughnane/Mark Textor, Christopher Pyne, Grattan Institute, David Gonski, Heather Ridout, John Howard


Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, David Walsh, Andrew Demetriou, Massive open online courses, Penny Wong, Graham Tuckwell, Julia Gillard/Anne Summers, Adam Goodes, Wayne Blair, Ben Quilty

Power can also be found, and attained, away from politics and culture. Captains of industry have it, so do tech heads, legal eagles and sporting heroes.

The odd refugee from the landed gentry still hold on to power and many Australians have the world as their stage.

“There are many Australians working overseas who are talented dealmakers, teachers or visionaries who make the world sizzle with possibility, but only a few manage to move the needle,” says the Financial Review.

“What became evident when narrowing this list is that the most powerful expatriate Australians live in English-speaking countries, mainly the UK or the United States. There are few Australians in important positions in Asia and this is worrying, given the geographical epicentre of power is shifting to the region.”

Entertainment Tsar Rupert Murdoch, as you would expect, tops this list. Missing is Sir Michael Hinze, the London-based Australian hedge fund manager.

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