Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s astounding media coverage figures dwindled only slightly this week, as his asylum seeker and emissions trading scheme policies headlined the political agenda. Gaining in exposure, Immigration Minister Tony Burke, who features in new ads spruiking the PNG asylum seeker solution, denied the $2.1 million advertising campaign targeting boat people that has blanketed mainstream newspapers, television and radio was intended for Australian voters, insisting the government’s message would filter through to asylum seekers via Facebook and mobile phones.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s reaction to the policy announcement might have painted him as unsure whether he is for or against it and risks reinforcing an image of negativity; while the Greens, led by Christine Milne and Sarah Hanson-Young, branded the PNG deal devastating and must be quietly expecting a bounce in their poll numbers as some non-greenie Lefties drift away from Labor. And by default, the ghost of former prime minister Julia Gillard remain part of the conversation as comparisons to the new Labor regime abound, although former treasurer Wayne Swan seems to have vanished completely. That may continue until the election, the date of which remained a big part of this week’s media speculation.

State premiers are back in the mix too, following a boost in the polls for Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, under pressure from K-Rudd — now the PM has Catholic schools on board — to sign Victoria on for the Better Schools Plan. Meanwhile, SA Premier Jay Weatherill urged Rudd to rewrite the shock changes to the fringe benefits tax on leased vehicles as he pushes councils to buy Holdens in a bid to keep the troubled Elizabeth plant afloat. Senator Kim Carr also shoots up our charts having launched his book, Why Labor?, this week.

Crikey Political Index: July 18-24


Talkback radio callers were true to form this week, giving Abbott and opposition frontbenchers Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey a decent slice of the pie.

Talkback top five


Turnbull is outstripping his mainstream media coverage in the social media arena where, like on talkback, many have been salivating over the notion of a Turnbull v Rudd election.

Social media top five


The arrival of the little prince will rank easily among the most covered media events this year.

Comparisons on media mentions


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey