Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spent most of the week in Kiev and Amsterdam, leading coverage across radio and television as the chaos surrounding the MH17 crash site continued, with international police still unable to get to the site as Ukrainian government forces push Russian separatists into a smaller and smaller corner. Bishop has received widespread praise for her handling of the issue, with former Howard government minister and now ubiquitous pundit Peter Reith opining in Fairfax outlets that she should be the next Liberal PM. Some commentators on social media, remembering her period as shadow treasurer, chose to disagree.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison leapt back up the list to third (it's been a yo-yo couple of months for Morrison) as 157 Tamil asylum seekers were finally landed on Australian soil after many weeks at sea, preempting another High Court decision. Morrison insisted they were economic refugees rather than fleeing persecution, while India has agreed to accept the return only of Indian citizens among the group if they are found to have no claim for asylum.
It seems Victorian ALP apparatchik Kosmos Samaras has never heard of the term "theft by finding", thereby throwing a spanner in the wheels of the Labor juggernaut, which on recent polling was looking at a landslide victory in less than four months’ time. How much effect "tapegate" will have on Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews' chances of becoming premier remains to be seen, but it certainly pushed him way up our list this week, with current Victorian Premier Denis Napthine on the front foot virtually for the first time since he took the role, and star of the tape (former premier Ted Baillieu) making a cameo in our list for perhaps the last time.
Crikey Political Index: July 24-30