Politicians of all parties were talking immigrants this week, but whereas the opposition was raising the spectre of dangerous asylum seekers, the Prime Minister wants 457 visa holders at the back of the jobs queue.\
The Battle For Rooty Hill was the only show in town this week, and chart leaders Prime Minister Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott walloped the competition in the media coverage stakes. Abbott was typically incensed about foreigners but, hold the phone, this time he was defending them against an “assault” by the PM, who promised to crack down on the 457 foreign worker visa system.
Few in the media missed the irony, and neither did the PM, who — - while hardly on the moral high ground herself yesterday — suggested it was Abbott who was typically whipping up fears about asylum seekers. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten joined the consensus, slamming “fear mongering” by opposition spokesman on immigration Scott Morrison, who gained his highest entry ever to our chart by suggesting police and neighbours be told when asylum seekers on bridging visas move into the area.
Independent MP Tony Windsor may have summed it up best, saying: “I think both [Gillard and Abbott] are playing what they believe is a card that resonates in the electorate and that’s roughly based around racism.” Interesting if it does resonates in the key marginals of western Sydney, which is home to the seventh-largest percentage of foreign-born people in the world (most who vote).
Others making headlines this week included MPs Chris Bowen, Jason Clare and David Bradbury, all who have seats in western Sydney and are accompanying Gillard on the stump. Oh, and let’s not forget one Kevin Michael Rudd, who, despite doing nothing, was still the third most mentioned politician from Cairns to Cottesloe.
Crikey Political Index: February 28 to March 6
WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has again beaten Premier Colin Barnett in talkback radio coverage, but that’s not likely to win him this week’s state election.
Talkback top five
Scott Morrison was largely lambasted by the Twitterati this week, following his comments on asylum seekers on visas entering the community.
Social media top five
It’s fitting that the late journalist Peter Harvey was remembered most prominently on television, the medium that made him a household name.