Sydney Power: Alan Jones at #8. Some people believe Alan Jones is the most powerful person in Sydney, but we beg to disagree. Loud and angry doesn’t shape the city, even if politicians like to keep him sweet. And despite The Parrot’s weekly audience of nearly half-a-million listeners, five out of six people in Sydney never listen to him. And that’s just counting those who sit by the radio (where he’s beaten by the ABC and Today FM). Plenty more never bother to turn it on.
Nevertheless, the veteran shock jock, who ranked No. 2 in our recent Megaphones list, can be hard to ignore, as he rants and raves and scolds and scorns, strafing his targets with a hail of derision. Politicians, journalists and bureaucrats who incur his wrath are branded “liars”, “dopes”, “idiots”, “stooges”, or “disgraceful” and “utterly stupid”. Those he disagrees with are regularly ridiculed, bullied and abused.
Off air, Sydney’s long-time king of the airwaves is even more relentless, pestering politicians and important decision makers with endless correspondence and complaints, which they have to answer. As former NSW premier Kristina Keneally tells The Power Index: “There’s not a politician in Australia who wouldn’t take his call.” — Paul Barry (read the full profile here)
Shareholders urged to purge Murdoch. Shock waves from the News of the World phone hacking scandal continue to batter the defences of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Yet another leading advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services is urging News Corp’s big shareholders to purge Rupert and 12 of his 14 fellow directors from the family-dominated company at its annual meeting in Los Angeles in nine days time.
ISS joins the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and international advisers Glass Lewis & Co, which both want six News Corp directors, including Rupert Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, removed. — Paul Barry (read the full story here)
Why is Bob Katter wagging parliament? “Every vote in a hung parliament counts”, so the mantra goes — yet Bob Katter has been absent for almost half of all parliamentary votes since the last election. The maverick Queensland independent has been absent for 78 divisions, or 45% of all votes, in the hung parliament, according to a paper by the Parliamentary Library.
By contrast, Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie did not miss any votes. Rob Oakeshott missed seven, Tony Windsor 15 and WA National Tony Crook nine. Bob Katter’s acting chief of staff, Jen Eliot, told The Power Index this morning that she believed most of the votes were on procedural matters. — Matthew Knott (read the full story here)
Chief scientist Chubb flexes his muscle. Ian Chubb has only been chief scientist for five months, but he’s already shaping up as a more outspoken and influential advocate than his predecessor, Penny Sackett.
Sackett, a mild-mannered former astronomist, was well-regarded in the scientific community but had a low public profile and little sway in Canberra. She revealed, after her February resignation, that she had never met Julia Gillard in her capacity as Prime Minister and had only briefed Kevin Rudd once during his time as PM. — Matthew Knott (read the full story here)