The families of Australians killed in the Malaysian Airlines MH17 disaster could be forced to wait for weeks for the return of their loved ones remains, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says, as Australia steps up efforts to secure the crash site.

Big dogfights over very little bones

The height of partisan turmoil in the House of Representatives last year was occasionally punctuated by news of the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan, and a later start to Question Time as the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, would pay eloquent tribute, followed by an equally eloquent statement by the Leader of The Opposition, Tony Abbott, invariably commencing with a conscious association of himself with the prime minister's remarks, followed by some nice words of his own. Perhaps another politician – maybe the local member of the dead soldier – would also reflect on those who had lost their life in the service of their country.

Voters believe Abbott can make things happen

The voters' ranking of Tony Abbott on the last of 11 leadership attributes is the one that offers the Coalition most comfort as he faces awesome challenges on multiple fronts.
President Barack Obama's response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine reflects the conclusion of US officials that time, evidence and world opinion are increasingly on his side as he takes on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Politicians rank between door-to-door spruikers and insurance salespeople as a profession inspiring trust. Maybe this reputation is deserved, the mounting cost of deliberate obfuscation, spin and outright lies. But part of the real reason politicians are regarded so poorly must be because honesty so rarely brings reward.

Who are Young Labor and Young Liberal?

Learning how to hate, build and articulate policy argument and campaign are the qualities members of the major parties youth branches are exposed to.
Children in immigration detention will remain locked up until a controversial temporary visa is allowed through the Senate, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has told an inquiry.
The federal government will trial companies having a greater role in the school system, which could lead to technology and mining companies - and even McDonald's - being drafted in to bolster science, technology, engineering and maths education.
Australians feel more tasered than surprised by the Abbott government's first year in power.
The Crime and Corruption Commission has put an end to one of the latest rounds of political tit-for-tat by announcing it will not investigate either Clive Palmer or Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.
In March 2011 Naoto Kan, then Japan's Prime Minister, found himself living a politician's worst nightmare, as he struggled to manage one of the world's worst nuclear crises after a tsunami triggered a reactor melt-down at Fukushima, on the country's  eastern seaboard. 

Arts funding shake-up welcome news

Life for small arts organisations should become easier following this week's arts funding restructure, according to the Australia Council for the Arts.
The federal government will attempt to put the debate over data retention and metadata to bed with a policy paper likely to be issued as early as Friday.