Everyone in political circles a while back used to love to talk about “the narrative” and there was undoubtedly a strong narrative across much of the media this week — that the federal government has had a pretty terrible couple of weeks and overall, a pretty bad year as well. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his senior ministers have spent the last couple of days repeating what a good year they think it has been, with the boats all but stopped, the carbon tax and mining tax gone and free trade agreements signed across northeast Asia.

From most media commentators’ point of view, the poor and worsening polls, the inability to get many of the most high profile changes in the budget through the senate and the Coalition loss in Victoria after just one term trumps those issues, and it does seem that punters remain very much focused on the hip pocket nerve and domestic issues when they are answering pollsters questions at the moment.

That Victorian election win of course pushed new Premier Daniel Andrews up the list, with most immediate focus on what will happen to the East-West Link contracts and whether federal issues had much to do with the result, federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten taking the unprecedented step of jumping up to run through all the reasons why they did before letting the new Premier up on stage to actually claim his victory.

The latest focus of budget woe was the tertiary education reforms, which failed to pass through the Senate after Palmer United Party Senators voted against it, with PUP Senate Leader Glenn Lazarus asking Education Minister Christopher Pyne to stop texting him, while Health Minister Peter Dutton also jumped as the GP co-payment kept being buried then disinterred, then buried again, then …

Crikey Political Index: November 27 – December 3

Not too many surprises on the talkback list this week, the incoming and outgoing premiers of Victoria up there, Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie still around and about, but Tony Abbott a mile ahead in mentions.

Talkback Top Five


Christopher Pyne and University changes were far more the issue of the week online, Lambie and PUP leader Clive Palmer well down the list.

Social Media Top Five


It hasn’t had much coverage, but renowned theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking reckons if we let artificial intelligence research go too much further, we’ll basically end up in a Terminator movie. Scary.

Comparison of media mentions: