He’s won as many elections on the trot as Bob Hawke and John Howard. His fourth election win came amid scandal yet he still managed to leave the Opposition for dead and now looks set to rule for the next 100 years. He is the master of managing his media, he is an accomplished public performer, he resonates with his electorate, he marginalises or mangles his Opposition (what Opposition?), he’s the master of his brief, he moves quickly when problems arise and cuts his ministers swiftly if they stuff up, he’s great at working the room, he is one of Australia’s all-time political pragmatists and is clearly the second-best operator in the business of politics in contemporary Australia. We are of course talking about Peter Beattie, the plain-talking Queensland everyman, state premier, and Crikey Politician of the Year.

Crikey readers say:

“Alexander Downer, the Foreign Minister who only reads diplomatic cables when he’s waiting for a plane.” — Niall Clugston 

2005 Winner: Prime Minister John Howard

The judges for the Politics section of the Crikey Honour Roll 2006 were Eric Beecher, Christian Kerr, Charles Richardson and Thomas Hunter.

Peter Fray

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