Prime Minister Tony Abbott was sticking steadfastly to talking about the international terrorism threat this week, as his ministers continued to battle away in the trenches to try and pass the remaining elements of a budget that is starting to look more and more like the Western Front in 1915 than Canberra in 2014 (purely metaphorically of course). Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was the main mover after he repeatedly warned of tax increases if the remaining spending cuts are not passed, and Education Minister Christopher Pyne after he warned that university research funding may have to be cut. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce outdid them all by telling us we have a deadly skin cancer (purely metaphorically of course).
There are three crossbench senators on this list and one just outside it in 21st (Senator David Leyonhjelm), as it begins to look more and more like names the vast majority of people had never heard of before the election may determine the future of this this country -- much more than the leaders of the major parties. Coverage of the police investigation into rape allegations against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten from the 1980s received no more than a day’s coverage after he went public with the story, following the Victorian DPP's decision not to pursue the case. Politicians from all sides supported Shorten’s decision, and most of the media and the public (there was a relatively small spike on social media and talkback) seem to have agreed on where the boundaries of public interest lie.
Crikey Political Index: August 21-27