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iSentia Index: schools, trains dominate as Rudd fades

The Greens are the model supporters of the government’s education and high-speed rail plans, but Liberal state premiers are having none of it. And what’s happened to Kevin Rudd?

China agreement in hand but still polling poorly, the Labor government this week turned to education, as PM Julia Gillard and Schools Minister Peter Garrett vowed to legislate the $14.5 billion Gonski school reform package, despite hostility to the plan in WA and Queensland.

Set for a showdown at Friday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting, WA Premier Colin Barnett said he would be “nuts” to sign up for the Commonwealth’s offer of an extra $300 million when NSW schools would reap $3.2 billion, while Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said neither his government nor the Commonwealth could afford it.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese — who warned of further budget cuts to fund the education reforms — garnered national headlines when he released a study proposing a $114 billion fast train rail network be built between Brisbane and Melbourne. Greens leader Christine Milne was a big supporter of these government initiatives, saying her party would do “whatever it takes” to get the education reforms though Parliament, and the fast train would “make an amazing difference”.

Not so shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, naysaying the rail network and hammering proposed tertiary funding cuts in the Gonski plan. Also making news was Barnaby Joyce, preselected for a lower house seat and set to run against Tony Windsor.

Crikey Political Index: April 11-17

The Mad Katter called for armed patrol boats with missiles to monitor asylum seeker vessels after a boat made landfall at Geraldton Harbour.

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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has been shading Gillard in social media circles over recent weeks, while K-Rudd’s media coverage continues to decline.

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A tough week for the Bombers coach James Hird who fronts Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigators and handles allegations he was injected with problematic substances.

Comparisons on media mentions

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