International matters dominated news over the past seven days with the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MHL370, leaving Prime Minister Tony Abbott well ahead of the pack. However, strong press coverage of economic news kept Treasurer Joe Hockey a tick ahead of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, despite her determination to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a very stern clip over the ears.

Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is probably thrilled to be sitting outside the top ten. Surely this is the final flame-out for former WA Opposition Leader and now former Treasurer Troy Buswell, resigning after crashing his ministerial car into his own gate. It doesn’t come at the best of times for WA Premier Colin Barnett, facing plenty of internal and external criticism and just weeks before the redo of the WA Senate election. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was the other main mover after the backed media deregulation.

And as we reach the halfway point of the final week of campaigning for our two smallest states’ upcoming elections, the polls continue to look grim for incumbent Premiers Jay Weatherill (South Australia) and Lara Giddings (Tasmania). If the Liberals do win both elections, that will leave ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher as the highest Labor executive office holder in the land, virtually the same position the Liberals found themselves in at the end of 2007 with Campbell Newman as Lord Mayor of Brisbane. There’s now a fairly established history of these rotating cycles of political dominance, so based on that will it be wall to wall Labor sometime in the early 2020s? As predictions go, it’s probably no more loopy than most.

Crikey Political Index: March 6-12

Three state Liberal politicians in this list this week, for widely varying reasons, as talkback continues to stick to primarily local issues post September 2013.

Talkback Top Five

Abbott dominates as Scott Morrison falls off this list for the first time this year, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s allowance of grazing in national parks getting the latte set all a-Twitter (despite TV news almost completely ignoring the issue).

Social Media Top Five

Every bit as much of a politician as anyone mentioned above, background chatter swirled around the announcement that Andrew Demetriou would be leaving the AFL CEO position at the end of the season. By any objective measure it has been a long and successful tenure overseeing a code that has fairly strict boundaries, but has thrived within them.

Comparison of media mentions

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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