The Australian Financial Review‘s coveted”Most Powerful People of 2015″ list is confusing for a couple of reasons. 

1. Under “Cultural Power”, entities start replacing humans – bringing in “think tanks“, “ISIS” and “big data” under the same umbrella as “Gillian Triggs“.
2. Lee Lin Chin isn’t on there.
3. Lee Lin Chin isn’t on there. 
4. Lee Lin Chin isn’t on there. 

Anyway. Released today, the AFR brought in a 39-strong panel to rank Australia’s biggest “powers” of 2015, under three categories: overt power, covert power and cultural power. 

While team LNP makes up over half of the “overt power” list; last week’s party room coup made for a hasty edit of the cover and list – a brutal, final twist of the dagger for old mate, if we’ve ever seen one. 

How the Turnbull coup affected the AFR Magazine Power cover. #afrmag #power #leadership

A video posted by @afrmag on


The only shred of solace? The print edition went to the presses weeks ago – showing Tony Abbott *still* at #1, corrected by a paper insert. Good one, m8s.


Overall, the list is fairly standard AFR fare—teeming with old white dudes—but it’s the “cultural power” list where things get interesting.

Narrowly beating Triple J and the ABC, ISIS and the “threat of terrorism” was harpooned as the third-highest cultural power in Australia – firmly sticking to the rhetoric that has Australians being more afraid of ISIS than literally anything else. 

Case in point for that ranking being a tad off: 


Read AFR’s power feature in full here; feel free to grab a print copy of the AFR magazine listing Abbott as the most powerful person in Australia (it hits news stands today) and sombrely post it to Onion McGee at your leisure. 

via AFR.