The final week of the Federal Election Campaign is drawing near, with politicians stepping up their campaigning on a myriad of issues that will impact the everyday Australian in a desperate scramble to the finish. But which election issues have Australian newsrooms reported on during the first four weeks of the campaign?
Across Print, Online, TV and Radio news, the issues dominating media coverage are led by employment, environment, the economy, health, defence and security, the Federal Budget and COVID-19. All states and territories had employment, with 38,708 unique stories, and environment, with 32,845 stories, as the top issues of this Federal Election. However in Western Australia, the economy was the second most prominent issue with 2,737 stories.
The economy was also heavily covered throughout New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, with 11,831 collective items. Online news stories led economic commentary, with a combined 17,131 references, totalling 57 per cent of coverage.
Health was another notable issue gaining media attention across all states and territories, earning 27,550 unique stories nationally, followed closely by defence and security with total coverage of 26,707 items. Similar to economic issues, online coverage contributed to the majority of mentions for health and defence and security, with 16,382 and 16,580 references respectively. Television also accounted for 17 per cent of health’s total coverage and 18 per cent of defence and security’s coverage.
Similar to the political issues at hand, federal politicians have been featured widely in the media throughout the span of the campaign so far. Prime Minister Scott Morrison secured the most coverage across the nation, totalling 63,630 references, leading in all the states and territories, with Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese not far behind on 59,169 stories nationally. Similarly, their respective parties gained substantial coverage, with the Australian Labor Party featuring in 113,361 stories and the Coalition in 101,051 stories.
Online media made up 46 per cent of Morrison’s coverage, and he was prevalent in Queensland with 3,902 unique online stories. Television accounted for a further 25 per cent of his stories, with New South Wales taking the lead in television stories on the Prime Minister, covering him 2,067 times. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese had a similar breakdown of media coverage, with online media volumes accumulating 41 per cent of total coverage and television contributing another 29 per cent.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton attracted a substantial amount of media attention nationwide, with 9,807, 6,775 and 6,134 stories respectively. Online media coverage proved dominant for these three politicians; Frydenberg totalling 5,091 stories, Chalmers reporting 3,361 items and Dutton receiving 2,917 distinct online items.
Online stories in Queensland accounted for 664 of Frydenberg’s distinct stories, followed closely by 650 items in Victoria. Television also contributed to Frydenberg’s media presence, with 2,130 unique stories nationwide, being featured on Victorian television 278 times and on Queensland television 220 times.
Queensland online publications featured Chalmers the most with 451 stories, reflecting Chalmers hailing from the Sunshine State. Similarly, Queensland radio stations reported on the Shadow Treasurer 351 times, followed by 275 distinct items broadcast on New South Wales radio, bringing the total radio news items to 1,582 across the nation.
Dutton attracted similar media coverage across radio and television. Broadcast totalled 2,761 of Dutton’s distinct media items, with South Australian TV generating 172 stories and Queensland radio producing 313 unique stories.
Another politician gaining strong media attention was Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, with 5,805 stories nationally. Generating 853 stories in New South Wales, 51 per cent contributed to online coverage. Joyce was reported 1,125 times on television, predominantly in Victoria and collected 673 print stories, notably in New South Wales and Victoria, contributing to 51 per cent of print coverage.
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Data: Stories mentioning each issue, politician or political party. Syndications removed. Print, Online, TV and Radio. April 10 – May 7.