It’s not the stories about Liberals being caught rorting the system that have kept John Howard’s election campaign off the rails this week. The damage was done by preventing the story that Mr Howard wanted aired getting the run it otherwise would have.

For journalists, skulduggery in the still of night clearly beats a sober message about the risks of changing government. Hence the story of the spouses of Lindsay being up to dirty tricks pushed the Prime Minister’s National Press Club appearance aside.

And this just at the time when the public is becoming interested and involved in this election campaign for the first time as our chart compiled from a survey of the most read stories on internet news sites shows.

Sydney Morning Herald

  1. Last figures show Howard needs a miracle
  2. Rejection turns to ‘murder’ after TV proposal snub
  3. Taste the difference
  4. Husband behind race hate campaign
  5. Liberal shame over fake pamphlet

The Age

  1. It’s time, say voters, as poll tips big win to Rudd and Labor
  2. As one leader shows he’s rattled, another remains an enigma
  3. Doctor offers ‘tree man’ hope of a new life, warts and all
  4. TV shows facing axe as Hollywood strike bites
  5. Truth beats the idiot culture, says news sleuth

The Australian

  1. Time to think about the future
  2. Rudd to turn back boatpeople
  3. Bogus flyer stunt hijacks final…
  4. Polls deliver mixed messages
  5. Smear scuttles Howard’s day


  • Senior Libs involved in flyer scandal: Albanese
  • Candidate’s husband faces expulsion over flyer scandal
  • Howard makes final pitch to voters
  • Don’t vote Labor: Rudd’s uncle
  • Congresswoman assaults host on live TV

The West Australian

  1. WA braces for schoolies onslaught
  2. Bali bomber’s plea: execute me quickly
  3. Eagles on lookout for new Judd at weekend draft
  4. Woman critical after Mandurah dog attack
  5. Royal treat as giant cruise ship arrives in Freo

Sydney Telegraph

  1. I was trying to save Benji
  2. The Right Brain vs Left Brain
  3. Half-Term Howard half a chance
  4. Girls stranded as sharks circle
  5. It’s no laughing matter, Jackie

Melbourne Herald Sun

  1. Right Brain v Left Brain
  2. Another victim of train violence
  3. Weirder and weirder
  4. Election race a photo finish
  5. Female warder in bash uproar


  1. Honey, I doomed the universe
  2. Libs closing on Labor
  3. Call to sack judge
  4. 50-year-old fire finally put out
  5. Fake leaflet claims new scalp

Courier Mail

  1. Drought-breaking rain coming
  2. We stand behind a man of our…
  3. I have never lied, says PM
  4. Heat on bureaucrat
  5. Kylie cast in bronze

  1. Girls hunted by Byron Bay sharks
  2. Aide names Diana’s five lovers
  3. Wentz sex tape mystery exposed
  4. Top cop’s girl bashed officer
  5. Shark fears as three divers…