As soon as Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Immigration Minister Scott Morrison came out a couple of weeks ago and declared that the boats had effectively been stopped, the conditions for a renewal of the issue were set, and the mid-ocean handover of 400-odd Sri Lankan asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan navy (and the government's refusal to talk about any of the details) lit the fuse for the professional media and social media. Morrison received the highest amount of web news coverage for the week as the High Court stepped in and stopped a second boat from being turned over to Sri Lankan authorities. The renewed focus also brought Opposition Immigration Spokesperson Richard Marles into the list for the first time since the election.
Meanwhile in "on land" matters, the new senators had varying levels of exposure in their first full week in the job. Tasmanian PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie stole an early march in the profile raising stakes and got herself all the way up to fourth on the ladder with some strong language about the PM. The media has also focused on her as the most likely PUP Senator to go "off the range" and perhaps follow her own agenda rather than sticking to the PUP hymn sheet. Although with the day-by-day changes in the PUP policy platform, it’s a pretty hard hymn sheet to follow.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Greens Leader Christine Milne jumped up the list as the government failed in its first attempt to have a quick vote on the repeal of the Carbon Tax, and PUP Leader Clive Palmer added more and more conditions to his repeal of that, the mining tax, and most of the government’s budget savings measures.
Crikey Political Index: July 3-9