For The First Time In 21 Years, State Premiers Knock The PM Off Number One Spot In AFR’s Power List

For The First Time In 21 Years, State Premiers Knock The PM Off Number One Spot In AFR’s Power List
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

The premiers of the four most populous states have pipped the Prime Minister for No.1 spot in The Australian Financial Review Magazine’s annual Power Issue.

Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mark McGowan have become more powerful than the PM in the view of a majority of members of AFR Magazine’s Power Panel. It marks the first time since the inaugural power list in 2000 that the Prime Minister is not perceived as the country’s most powerful person.

The panel elected to combine the four premiers into a joint entry for the top position on the power list, noting that each rules over their respective state like a fiefdom.

“The pandemic has resulted in a real shift in how power is exercised within the federation,” said Financial Review Editor-in-chief Michael Sutchbury.

“That’s based on the extreme risk aversion within the population, which the premiers have responded to.”

The cover of the Power issue consists of a giant QR-code – a technology that has become essential to life in Australia in 2021 – which takes the reader to an augmented reality magazine cover that displays either a state premier or the PM, depending on the reader’s location.

The Power list is divided into three categories – Overt, Covert and Cultural – which are debated at length by panels of well-connected decision-makers drawn from across Australia’s political and business spheres as well as from sports and the arts.

Joining Premiers Andrews, Berejiklian, McGowan and Palaszczuk on the Overt list are Prime Minister Scott Morrison (No.2), Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (3), state Chief Health Officers (4), Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe (5), Brittany Higgins (6), Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce (7), Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn (8), Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (9) and Defence Minister Peter Dutton (10).

Australian of the Year Grace Tame is listed as the most powerful person on the Cultural list, which also features tennis champion Ash Barty (2), actor Chris Hemsworth (3), Olympic medallist Emma McKeon (4), singer The Kid Laroi (5) AFL Executive Tanya Hosch (6), film and TV producer Bruna Papandrea (7), The Betoota Advocate (8), Bangara Artistic Director Stephen Page (9) and Professor Mary-Louise McLaws (10).

The edition of the Power Issue also features an exclusive interview with the co-chairs of ATAGI, revealing the inside story of how the messaging around the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine got mangled, doing irreparable damage to the vaccination rollout.

In his first sit-down profile story since taking the helm of the OECD, former finance minister Mathias Cormann invites AFR Magazine into his Parisian headquarters to discuss his new role, tax reform, climate change and going from political warrior to diplomatic administrator.

There is also a revealing profile on the most successful female politician in Australian history, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Immensely popular in the sunshine state and a divisive character outside, Premier Palaszczuk sits down over brunch to talk about her ‘fortress Qld’ approach and tensions with other Premiers.

The augmented reality featured was built by Unbnd.

The Australian Financial Review Magazine Power Issue is available nationally on Friday, October 1 and on


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