Hillsong power in determining sound of Xmas. It’s difficult to ignore the role of the Hillsong Church when determining who really runs Christmas in Australia. The Church not only commands the attention of its followers at this time of year, but can also dominate the music charts and put on some of the country’s most extravagant Christmas pageants.

More than 20,000 people attend Hillsong Church services in Australia every week, a far cry from the 700,000 Catholics who regularly attend mass, according to a national count by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2006 (although some studies suggest Catholic Church attendance has declined since then). — Angela Priestley (read the full story here)

Santa Clive Palmer puts on a party. With his snowy hair and corpulent figure, mining magnate Clive Palmer has always been a hirsute month away from approximating Father Christmas. But now it’s the mineral magnate’s extravagant end-of-year parties that have staff calling him “Santa Clive”.

The billionaire rock kicker threw what was being billed as the “greatest show on earth” for his workers at the Yabulu refinery in Townsville on Friday night. But the GFC must be hitting the BRW Rich Lister hard, because there was nary a Benz in sight. — The Power Index (read the full story here)

Best and worst of 2011 for the wealthy. And so we come to the end of another fascinating year following the wealthy of the world. If I had to pick a theme of 2011 it would be caution. We’ve seen relatively few big deals or aggressive moves, as rich list members are seemingly intent on just getting through the choppy conditions in the global economy.

However, there have still been plenty of highlights and quite a few lowlights. Here are our awards for 2011 … — James Thompson (read the full story here)

From the vault: James Sutherland. Cricket’s glitzy new domestic Big Bash League launched last week. And while crowd numbers have been below expectations, TV ratings are good.

Today we release our profile of the man leading the Twenty20 charge, James Sutherland, from the vault. — Tom Cowie (read the full profile here)

Peter Fray

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