The intense focus on the future of Qantas moved Deputy PM and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss up 22 places this week, the announcement of drought assistance also adding to his coverage. Qantas was also the explanation for Opposition Transport Spokesperson Anthony Albanese’s rise, with the opposition refusing to support the government’s planned changes to the Qantas Sale Act
to allow more foreign ownership. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s strong criticism of Qantas management and opposition to changes also pushed him well up the list. With Fairfax MP Clive Palmer and the Greens also signalling opposition, the Senate looks like a pretty big stumbling block for the government's plans.
The focus on matters other than asylum seekers (although it didn't exactly vanish as an issue this week) pushed Immigration Minister Scott Morrison down a spot and saw the PM’s coverage bounce back over the 30,000 mark for only the second time this year. It also pushed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten up to the more usual spot for his position, snaffling around a third of the PM’s volume of coverage.
Interestingly, in the two states with imminent elections, the opposition leaders both received more coverage than the premiers. It looks like the media have already decided which names they will need to be following for the next three or four years in South Australia and Tasmania, and it’s not South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill or Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings.
Crikey Political Index February 27 - March 5