Having floated a whole host of scary spending cuts and an increase in tax, the government now seems to be trying to find the suitable middle point to retreat to on many of them, and working out which ones to abandon entirely. Either way the PM and Treasurer totally dominated coverage over the last seven days, with Tony Abbott clicking over the 60,000 comments mark on social media while Joe Hockey led radio coverage and was only a couple of hundred mentions behind across all news media. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann jumped into the top five as he hit the interview trail defending the “budget emergency”. The polls suggest a big backlash for the government, but how permanent that will be beyond the budget remains to be seen.
Former NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher was the latest Liberal to get caught up in ICAC allegations, with claims that he was involved in laundering of property developer donations, which are banned in NSW. What is happening at ICAC keeps threatening to become a widespread serious conversation about how politics is funded in Australia, but whether anyone outside political and media circles is paying enough attention for both major parties not to just ride it out is another question. The one thing for sure is that the general vibe about politicians and how politics is conducted has probably sunk to new, very deep lows from an already subterranean point.
Crikey Political Index: May 1-7