Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s coverage fell significantly for the first time this year, but that was mainly owing to several of his cabinet colleagues sharing plenty of the limelight this week. It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were pointing out Health Minister Peter Dutton as possibly the most invisible senior minister in the Abbott government, and now here he is at number five with a bullet as Medicare, its future viability and the possibility of a co-payment being introduced became the biggest federal topic of the week.

Treasurer Joe Hockey may have been trying to help out his mate from the Shire (Immigration Minister Scott Morrison) by announcing the country was on the road to penury (a Banana Republic perhaps?) last Friday, but it didn’t save Morrison from a ton of media heat when he was forced to announce that initial reports he had provided from Manus Island about the details of where an asylum seeker died and the location of the riots themselves weren’t particularly accurate.

Opposition Defence Spokesperson Stephen Conroy leapt into the top 20 after accusing the military head of Operation Sovereign Borders General Angus Campbell of being part of a political cover-up. The government was quick to call for Conroy to be “disciplined” by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull moved up the list as the latest polling showed him well ahead of Abbott as preferred leader of the Liberal Party, while Finance Minister Matthias Cormann denied all knowledge of a PR firm being appointed to help push through the privatisation of Medibank Private.

Crikey Political Index February 20-26

The asylum seeker issue finally got a bit of airplay on talkback this week, with Scott Morrison finding plenty of defenders, but a few brickbats as well.

Top five talkback 

Meanwhile, the issue of asylum seekers and Manus Island was absolutely massive on social media. Scott Morrison came close to getting more mentions than Tony Abbott for the first time, while the drought package got Barnaby Joyce a rare spot in the social media top five.

Top five social media

Suicide is the single leading cause of death for Australians under 45. It has been for decades. We need to be careful about conflating what many would call Australia’s most under-reported health crisis too closely with the nevertheless important issue of cyberbullying.

Comparison of media mentions