It was a week of leaders sticking by their men in the wake of controversy, across state and federal politics.
The PM scored his highest weekly volume for the year following a big week in parliament. Assistant Treasurer Senator Arthur Sinodinos was unsurprisingly in second place as the controversy over his involvement in Australian Water Holdings continued to rage, the opposition spending most of its time trying to involve Tony Abbott in the controversy, as oppositions are inevitably wont to do. The continuing drama over the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, along with debate about the China Free Trade Agreement pushed the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss up to the unfamiliar heights of third.
The electoral drama in South Australia is over, with the Labor Party to continue in government with the help of rural independent Geoff Brock, despite only receiving 47% of the two-party preferred vote, which was about the same as Kevin Rudd got in the last federal election. Just as, in hindsight, John Howard may have wished he hadn’t had a senate majority in his last term, Tony Abbott may be quietly happy that the pressure is now lessened on getting major reforms through COAG quickly. Premier Jay Weatherill may become a very handy excuse.
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie is the other smoky in the list after he was attacked by resigning Queensland Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff for revealing details of a conversation he had with Court of Appeals President Margaret McMurdo after she criticised the lack of female judiciary appointments. So far Premier Campbell Newman is standing by his man.
Crikey Political Index: March 20-26
Talkback radio was the only medium where Tony Abbott’s volume dropped this week, with the honours spread widely, ten others in our list being mentioned in 30 calls or more this week.
Talkback top five
George Brandis was the ennemi du jour following his comments defending the right of bigots to be bigoted, which was immediately followed by the announcement of changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. The social media response was as calm and reasonable as it always is.
Social media top five
The danger of lifting a player’s legs in the air in a tackle hit home hard after Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon broke his neck last weekend. The rugby codes have got tougher on these tackles, but this shows why it needs to be a red card offence every time until they are gone completely.