From Waleed Aly to Nicole Kidman: Australia's most culturally powerful named


Waleed Aly, Nicole Kidman and players from the inaugural AFL Women’s season have made the list of the nation’s most culturally powerful people, according to this year’s Australian Financial Review Magazine’s Power List.

For the first time, a separate panel of people esteemed in advertising, publishing and the arts, including actress Rachel Griffiths, Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason and Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah, selected the top 10 people who wield the most cultural power in Australia.

Endemol Shine Australia CEOs Mark and Carl Fennessy topped the cultural power list. 

The brothers are behind some of Australia’s most talked-about television shows including MasterChef, Offspring and Survivor with the AFR claiming they’re “the most bankable TV producers in the country”.

“It's not necessarily people who work in high culture or popular culture, it's about people who are making a statement about what it means to be an Australian in 2017,” AFR editor Matthew Drummond told SBS World News.

Another brother duo to make the list is Danny and Michael Philippou.

Ranked number five on the list, the 25-year-old twins from Adelaide impressed the panel with their ability the younger generation through their home-made videos on their YouTube channel, Racka Racka.

The pair have more than 1 million subscribers and have garnered half a billion views.

“We always just try and do something new and different with every video in a certain aspect of film making,” Michael Philippou said. 

Two female Indigenous figures have also been recognized for their cultural power including actress Leah Purcell who came in at number eight.

“The real standout moment for her [Ms Purcell] in 2017 was her theatrical staging of Henry Lawson's the Drover's Wife, it was a retelling of an Australian classic but from an indigenous perspective,” AFR editor Matthew Drummond said.

Megan Davis
Megan Davis and the Referendum Council ranked number seven on the cultural power list.

Indigenous activist Megan Davis also made the list for delivering the statement 'From the Heart' at Uluru on the issue of constitutional recognition. 

The Women's AFL League made the top 10 for reshaping the game in Australia.

Social commentator and Gold Logie-winner Waleed Aly again appeared on the list commended by the panel for his strong voice on political and diverse issues. 


  1. Carl and Mark Fennessy
  2. AFL Women’s
  3. The Murdochs
  4. Waleed Aly
  5. Racka Racka
  6. Nicole Kidman
  7. Megan Davis and the Referendum Council
  8. Leah Purcell
  9. Rebel Wilson
  10. Leigh Carmichael

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