The death of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has dominated the last 24 hours of political coverage, but it had been a quiet week in any case, with four main movers up the list. Opposition Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Tanya Plibersek leapt up to a very rare appearance in the top five with strong criticism of the Government’s decision not to send any medical teams to West Africa to help contain the Ebola epidemic, with almost all support having come from the US, Britain and France to date.

You would think it was the imminent privatisation of Medibank Private that pushed Finance Minister Mathias Cormann up to sixth. Instead it was his turn at the belligerent statement of the week, getting plenty of coverage for calling Opposition Leader Bill Shorten an “economic girlie man”. Cormann has been flogging his Schwarzenegger sound-alikeness like a deceased equine animal, proving once again that Finance Ministers generally don’t make great comedians.

The other two big movers were Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry, after they surprised no-one by reversing their decision on forcing people wearing burqas to watch Parliament from behind glass.

Crikey Political Index: October 16 -22

Yet again talkback was relatively quiet in political terms this week. PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie still rated on the dial and Tanya Plibersek copped some flak for suggesting we could do a bit more in West Africa.

Talkback Top Five

Not a lot to report in online social channels either, with the “girlie man” comment raising a few Twitter titters.

Social Media Top Five


I remember seeing Mark Holden at the Sydney Town Hall in 1977. He had an immaculately tailored suit and a red rose in his lapel, he was the most sophisticated looking person I’d ever seen. Show business ain’t a friendly boss.

Comparison of media mentions

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey