They may not punch with the same force of the past, they may no longer punch at all, but any round-up of Australian Political Fixers would be incomplete without mentioning the men who made fixing an art form. So where are they now and what can they still do? We’ve got the latest on all your favourites including Graham Richardson, Robert Ray, Brian Burke and Karl Bitar. — Paul Barry

Packer hands Coonan spot on Crown board. Anti-pokies senator Nick Xenophon has bewailed Helen Coonan’s decision to take up a lucrative position on the board of James Packer’s Crown Casino only days after resigning from the upper house.

Crown’s hiring of Coonan, a former senior Howard government minister, will give the gambling juggernaut muscle on both sides of the political divide after it appointed former ALP national secretary Karl Bitar to a top lobbying post earlier this year. — Matthew Knott. Read the rest here.

Gillard no match for Rinehart in Forbes most powerful. Gina Rinehart is more powerful than the Prime Minister, according to Forbes magazine, which has named the mining magnate as the 19th most powerful woman in the world, ahead of Julia Gillard at No.23 and Westpac CEO Gail Kelly at No.32.

According to Forbes, Rinehart is breaking free from her “mold of ultra-wealthy heiress” to use her wealth for influence — notably her “campaign against Australia’s environmental reforms, including taxes on extractive industries like mining that have a heavy footprint”.

Such pulling power is a little different to say, Melinda Gates, who in the No.6 spot is credited with applying her name to the world’s “wealthiest and most generous private foundation, investing in poverty eradication, public health and education”. – Angela Priestley. Read the rest here.

Next week, The Power Index gets noisy as we unveil the Top 10 Most Powerful Megaphones. See the list of contenders here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey