Prime Minister Julia Gillard leads the media coverage stakes as usual this week, not least for announcing a $12 billion budget black hole. Pushed for detail on how it might be filled, Finance Minister Penny Wong was back in the headlines calling for tax reform, including a levy for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, while defending the PM for foreshadowing tax increases without releasing detail. 

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was quick to attack Labor’s tax reform — the carbon and mining taxes in particular — but was as quick as the government to hedge on detail, moving away from pie-in-the-sky surplus-speak in the event he gains government, and ruling out a rise in the GST. Suddenly, it seems, both sides of politics have accepted that the point of fiscal policy is to use it to help the country adapt to changing circumstance. 

Further north, news of Clive Palmer’s reformation plans for the United Australia Party forced federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, to play down any threat to his own party. The biggest loser is likely Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, who has plenty of seats to lose, quite likely on the rise following his proposed asset sales for that state. 

Also charting were independent MP Tony Windsor calling for a referendum on gay marriage, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek discussing abortion drug RU486, and anti-gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon calling the Tom Waterhouse affair to account.

Crikey Political Index: April 25 to May 1

Lower numbers than usual in our political talkback measurement, with Anzac Day the main focus.

Talkback top five

Tony Abbott is outranking Gillard week-in week-out for social media coverage, his coverage in the Twittersphere in the negative overall. Meanwhile K-Rudd, whose coverage is gradually fading, kept it local, focusing on Queensland issues.

Social media top five

Odds on this isn’t going to end well.

Comparisons on media mentions

Peter Fray

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