Public funding is required in the plebiscite in order to give the Yes and No sides an equal airing, according to Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton, but evidence suggests that the group is referenced more in the media than its biggest opponent, Australian Marriage Equality.
Shelton yesterday said that the $7.5 million up for grabs to each side was less than he had been expecting, but it was important to provide the funding in order to give his side a chance to air its arguments — which at this point seem to be slippery slope arguments about Safe Schools and marriage equality.
But according to data provided to Crikey by media analytics company Isentia, the Australian Christian Lobby gets more mentions in the media than Australian Marriage Equality.
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Over the past year, the Australian Christian Lobby (checked on its full name to exclude mentions of ACL injuries) was mentioned a total of 2380 times in newspapers, radio, TV, and online, compared to 2041 mentions of Australian Marriage Equality. ACL garnered close to 200 more mentions in the newspapers, and 22 more mentions on TV.
The stats don’t say whether the mentions were positive, neutral or negative, but they highlight that the ACL has as big, if not a bigger platform for its views to be expressed than the biggest marriage equality proponent in Australia.
ACL got the most mentions on Guardian Australia (76) followed by Gay News Network (66), Crikey (66, sorry about that) and ABC Online (59). In terms of broadcast, ABC News 24 and ABC774 Melbourne mentioned the ACL more than any other outlet, with 39 mentions and 36 mentions over the past year, respectively.
AME received most mentions on Guardian Australia (107) followed by Gay News Network (94), and Star Observer (38). The only broadcast outlet to make the top 15 for AME was 6PR in Perth, with 30 mentions.
Turnbull will today introduce the plebiscite legislation, but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to recommend to the Labor caucus to vote against the plebiscite, all but ensuring its defeat in the Senate. The matter will go before the next Labor party room meeting in early October. — Josh Taylor