The Prime Minister always comes first in these lists, but no-one has dominated the volume of coverage to this extent since Kevin Rudd’s last full year as Prime Minister in 2009. Rudd was still riding high at that stage, but 2014 has been a far more mixed brew for Tony Abbott, ending the year well down in the polls and with the sort of internal rumblings we heard about virtually every week during the Gillard government starting to surface in the media.

A lot of people left politics or had greatly reduced coverage with the change of government last year and a couple of other misadventures this year — Rudd, Gillard, Swan, Albanese, Carr, Burke and O’Farrell are all out of the list, so all of the movements are green, and with a higher representation of non-major party politicians, not just PUP leader Clive Palmer, but also now Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie, reflecting the Senate difficulties faced by the government.

Apart from those new to the list for obvious reasons like Lambie and NSW Premier Mike Baird, it’s been a big media year for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, unsurprisingly given the domination of international news for much of the year, and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison moves into the top five, while Treasurer Joe Hockey moved to the more usual spot of third, with a huge focus on this year’s troubled budget process. There were also big moves up for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, generally praised for the Medibank Private float, and Attorney-General George Brandis, who struck trouble with freedom of speech laws and privacy laws, particularly when it came to explaining metadata.

Only one of the Top 20 is certain not to be on this list next year, former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, but recent history would suggest there will be considerably more changes than that. There are of course two state elections to be held, but many might think there’s more chance of movement in Federal ranks, despite 2015 not being an election year.

Crikey Political Index: 2014

Clive certainly got the talkback callers excited in 2014, most of them not happy about his criticisms of the government and general demeanour. Independent (formerly PUP) Senator Jacqui Lambie just missed out and Scott Morrison a long way down the list.

Talkback Top Five

Tony Abbott was even further ahead on social media than the professional media, just a tick under three million comments, the majority of which were not favourable. A much higher focus on asylum seeker issues here.

Social Media Top Five