Issue Press Radio TV Internet Total
Drought/water supply 108,376 253,702 67,964 57,824 487,866
Climate Change 51,649 167,313 57,458 83,452 359,872
IR laws 35,374 176,440 58,759 62,367 332,940
Iraq 32,539 155,068 64,687 77,864 330,158
Federal Election 47,794 136,228 56,823 58,231 299,076
Interest rates/housing affordability 33,615 90,246 49,208 43,287 216,356
Equine influenza 10,012 77,926 29,039 52,356 169,333
APEC 8,894 80,974 40,386 31,302 161,556
David Hicks 9,133 81,564 29,717 40,814 161,228
Dr Mohamed Haneef 4,648 74,633 32,258 38,511 150,05

Climate issues dominated the Australian media in 2007, with the continuing severe drought and debate over the future of the Murray Darling Basin easily garnering the most coverage over the full year.

The Howard Government’s announcement of a $10 Billion plan at the beginning of the year, aimed at overriding state jurisdictions and promoting a single plan for all water resources in the country’s main river system was fiercely debated throughout the year. Climate Change itself became a key issue in this election year, with virtually a report a week signalling greater dangers and more rapid climate change occurring as the Government attempted to battle a perception of being well behind world opinion on the issue.

Industrial relations laws, popularly known as WorkChoices, was the other main political battleground of the year, with both unions and business groups spending millions of dollars on campaigns to support their points of view.

Iraq has been at the top of this list for the past four years, but was pushed down to fourth by domestic concerns as Australia’s military focus moved to Afghanistan, although continuing high levels of violence, particularly in the first half of the year, kept the war in the news.

In what many media commentators called the longest Federal election campaign ever, Australians went to the polls on 24 November after a six week official campaign and an eleven month actual campaign, Kevin Rudd leading Labor to their first Federal victory in 14 years. Interest rates were a constant bugbear for the Howard Government this year, with three rises leading to intense scrutiny of the Government’s promise in 2004 to keep interest rates at record lows, as the media focused on falling levels of housing affordability, particularly in the outer suburbs of Australia’s largest cities.

Unusually, the only sports issue to make the overall top ten this year was the devastating equine influenza outbreak that hit the NSW and Queensland racing industries in August this year. The Sydney portion of the Spring carnival was cancelled entirely leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue for the industry, although the Melbourne carnival was able to avoid the epidemic.

APEC leaders met in Sydney in the first week of September with climate change again a key element on the agenda and trade issues seemingly sidelined, while the policy discussions were largely overshadowed by the ABC’s satire program the Chaser breaching security.

The future of David Hicks was closely followed by the media in the first half of the year, Hicks eventually coming to trial after more than five years at Guantanamo Bay and accepting a plea bargain that saw him convicted of supporting a terrorist organisation and moved to Adelaide’s Yatala prison to serve a short further sentence. He will be released at the end of this month.

Another terrorism case had an entirely different outcome after all charges were dropped against Gold Coast Dr Mohamed Haneef, who had been accused of involvement in the foiled plot to bomb several British airports in July this year. Magistrates strongly criticised the AFP for their handling of the case and the Immigration Minister’s decision to withdraw Haneef’s visa was overturned on appeal.