Australia’s Most Mentioned Issues in the News (March 5 – 11, 2016)

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Editor’s Note:  Welcome to this weekly recap of Australia’s news, powered by iSentia

Australia's Most Mentioned Issues in the Media - 3.11

Federal government MPs are reportedly making contingency plans in case the May budget is brought forward by a week as the Prime Minister considers a July double-dissolution election over blocked anti-union corruption bills. July would be the earliest the government could call an election as it waits for its Senate voting reforms to pass and see microparties voted out.

Former world number one tennis player Maria Sharapova admitted on Monday to failing a drug test at the Australian Open, claiming she had continued to take the drug meldonium after it had been banned because she had neglected to read an email that included an updated list of banned substances. Former World Anti-Doping Agency boss Dick Pound said the positive test should be a wake-up call for tennis. The 28 year old is facing a four year ban.

Politicians including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and PM Malcolm Turnbull attended the Mardi Gras festival in Sydney last weekend, the first time in Australian history a sitting Prime Minister was in attendance. The Labor Party’s float had a message of support for same-sex marriage, and Attorney-General George Brandis told Sky News on Sunday the government would hold a plebiscite, estimated to cost $160 million, on same-sex marriage before the end of the year, if it won the federal election.

Journalist Niki Savva’s new book The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government detailed a “perception” in the former federal government that Tony Abbott was having an affair with his chief of staff Peta Credlin. Senior Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells confirmed she confronted both Abbott and Credlin about such rumours, and said both denied the affair. Savva has since called for Abbott to “disappear into the sunset” and criticised his recent comments on leaked defense information.

Many US Republican politicians are aghast at the increasingly likely prospect of Donald Trump becoming the official presidential nominee of the party as he has continued to rack up primary wins across the country, while self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders is continuing to push Democrat favourite Hillary Clinton, recently winning Michigan in spite of the polls showing an easy Clinton win.

Quote of the week: “So spare me the lectures about ethics, dignity, loyalty… from those who won something very precious, then destroyed it in record time.” – Author Niki Savva in The Australian, after she announced her book was in its second reprint in less than a week.

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