The announcement of the Prime Minister's new hard-line asylum seeker policy had all the trademarks of a classic political how-to: carefully placed leaks throughout the week and then a bombshell new policy at at 4.30pm on a Friday, when most journos had already headed to the pub, leaving minimal time for immediate scrutiny but still enough minutes to splash big with it in that evening's news.
The coverage must have kept Kevin Rudd content, with his "Rudd Solution" -- which ensures that asylum seekers arriving by boat will never be resettled in Australia, even if found to be genuine refugees -- receiving supportive mainstream media coverage.
Ten News was first with the announcement at 5pm. Sandra Sully introduced the story: "But first, it could be his most important policy of the election. And now we know how Kevin Rudd plans to stop the illegal smuggling of refugees into Australia."
Cue footage of a woman screaming and video of the battered Christmas Island cliff boat wreck, as journalist Matt Moran announces: "The prospect of death at sea hasn't stopped thousands making the journey to Australia. Now Kevin Rudd is adding more reasons for asylum seekers to think again."
Over at Seven News, Mark Riley reported the news -- "Arrive by boat, leave by plane, on a one-way-ticket to PNG ... It's aimed at smashing the people smuggler's business" -- before noting that the focus could now return to when the election would be held.