It’s been a big year. The federal election threw Labor out of power and brought the arrival of the enigmatic parliamentary force that is Clive Palmer, while internationally there’s been a focus on how governments spy on people. New leaders in Iran and the Vatican have ushered in change welcomed by many. And the year has posted its share of whopping mistakes, trials and tragedies, from celebrity twerkers to inappropriately “supplemented” AFL footballers and Tea Party warriors intent on grinding the US economy to a halt.

Welcome to the 2013 Crikeys, where you’re the judge on who should be crowned Crikey’s Person of the Year and Arsehat of the Year. We’ve scoured the globe for the people who changed things for the better in 2013 — whether that’s in politics, business, sport or entertainment — and the people who really stuffed things up. The nominations are …


Peter Fox: policeman who blew the whistle on the sexual abuse of children by clergy; instrumental in bringing about the royal commission on child sex abuse, which started hearings this year.

Edward Snowden: former US spy who revealed details of his government’s extensive surveillance program. Seen both as a hero and a traitor, he was charged by US authorities and is a fugitive in Russia.

Cathy McGowan: giant-killing independent candidate who managed to unseat Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella at the federal election, for the seat of Indi.

Pope Francis: the humility and more liberal attitudes of the first non-European Pope in 1200 years have softened the image of the Catholic Church and inspired hope of reform.

Colin Russell: Tasmanian Greenpeace activist who was thrown into a Russian prison for more than two months for protesting against the drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Angelina Jolie: the mega-star went public with her preventative double mastectomy, sparking a global surge in testing for breast and ovarian cancer (Jolie’s mother died of the latter).

Hassan Rouhani: the new President of Iran has taken a more conciliatory approach to security issues and opened negotiations with critics of Iran’s nuclear program, leading to hopes that tensions may dissipate.

Clive Palmer: written off by many as a buffoon, Palmer stormed to success in the federal election, winning a lower-house seat and balance of power in the Senate from July 2014.

Nova Peris: became the first indigenous women ever elected to the federal Parliament, as a Labor Senator for the NT. Peris gave an inspiring maiden speech.

Satoshi Nakamoto: if he exists at all, he’s the creator of Bitcoin, the digital currency on everyone’s lips as its value soared in 2013.

Adam Scott: after famously choking in 2012, Scott steadied his nerves and became the first Australian golfer ever to win the US Masters Tournament.

Chelsea Manning: US soldier (formerly known as Bradley Manning) who leaked classified documents, mainly to WikiLeaks. She paid a heavy price, being sentenced in 2013 to 35 years’ in prison. After the judgement she came out as a woman.

Ita Buttrose: the indefatigable businesswoman and dementia campaigner was named Australian of the Year, and at the age of 71 has tried her hand at breakfast television.

Glenn Greenwald: American journalist who, while working for The Guardian, teamed up with Edward Snowden to reveal extensive surveillance by US authorities.

Also-rans: Tim Flannery, Peta Credlin, Angela Merkel, Prince George, John Hill (for that interview with Jaymes Diaz), Jeff Bezos for buying WashPo. Nelson Mandela, who for many people is the most inspirational figure of the 20th century, is not nominated because the award is for people who have posted significant achievements in the year 2013.


Charles Saatchi: made international headlines for grabbing his then-wife Nigella Lawson around the throat in a London restaurant, then being generally unpleasant about it.

Jaymes Diaz: Liberal candidate at the federal election whose inability to recall the details of his “six-point plan” on asylum seekers made for the campaign’s best television moment.

Alan Joyce: Qantas has had a tough year, and some sheet much of the blame home to the CEO.

Rebekah Brooks: former Rupert Murdoch-fave and editor of the News of the World whose trial on charges related to hacking the phones of innocent people started this year.

Ian Macdonald: former NSW Labor minister who was found guilty of corruption by ICAC in relation to sweet deals for mates and procuring the services of a prostitute named Tiffanie.

James Hird: AFL Essendon coach suspended from his duties in relation to the Bombers’ supplements scandal (but is he still being paid?).

Bashar al-Assad: the world recoiled at images of Syrian civilians who had chemical weapons used against them. Syrian President al-Assad is held by many to be responsible.

Glenn Druery: the “preference whisperer” helped various microparties game the preference system at the election, leading to several candidates winning a seat despite almost no one voting for them. They will share the balance of power from July.

Mark Textor: during a diplomatic crisis between Indonesia and Australia, the Liberal operative sent a tweet that appeared to liken a senior Indonesian politician to “a 1970s Pilipino [sic] porn star”.

Miley Cyrus: brash 21-year-old US celebrity yowler who performed an infamous twerking routine (a sexualised dance), and regularly wears almost nothing. Seen by some as a brand and marketing genius.

Campbell Newman: the Queensland Premier brought in draconian anti-bikie laws, which critics say breach fundamental rights.

Ted Cruz: Republican Senator and Tea Party luminary who helped shut down the US government in a political gamble that backfired spectacularly.

Clive Palmer: critics say he bought his party into Parliament through a cashed-up campaign, and accuse him of bullying tendencies. His party will share the balance of power from July.

Nathan Tinkler: former high-flying billionaire businessman who has spectacularly fallen from grace.

Also-rans: AEC chief Ed Killesteyn (who presided over an organisation that lost 1370 WA votes at the election), Paula Deen for racist comments, Kim Jong-un, Kim Kardashian, Miranda Devine for blaming environmentalists for a sexual assault.

Plus we’re opening the ballot in our traditional sexiest male / female politician of 2013 (Scott Ludlam’s hair is expected to poll strongly). Now it’s over to you. Jump onto our online survey page and cast your vote by noon on Thursday, December 19. We’ll bring you the results the next day.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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