Top End politicians normally love it when someone in Canberra notices them. Normally. With a Territory election around the corner, Labor Chief Minister Clare Martin is less than happy with the coverage her tax comments received last week.

The day after the Budget, she made her views on Kim Beazley’s tax stance perfectly clear. “I can understand why Federal Labor is opposing the… tax cuts in the Budget, because if you are on the lowest incomes you get $6 and if you’re on the highest incomes you get considerably more,” she told the ABC. “I wouldn’t be opposing tax cuts.”

Martin’s remarks have been running strong in media coverage of Labor’s Budget response ever since – and have been gleefully pounced upon by Treasurer Peter Costello.

Back in the Territory, Country Liberal Party leader Denis Burke has used them to talk up a split between Martin and Beazley. He’s thrown around lines about the “Labor Party in disarray” and suggested Martin “obviously doesn’t support her federal leader” in the local media.

All of which is good politics – but might mean Burke needs to tweak his election pitch, too. One TV news gave his comments a great run – which was then promptly undermined in the ad break by a CLP ad attacking Martin for being told what to do by Canberra and not standing up for the Territory.