(Image: AAP, Private Media)

If you think climate action has been absent from the election campaign so far, you’re right. New data from Isentia shows how the most important issue facing Australia is being ignored by the major parties and the media, just weeks after large areas of northern NSW suffered repeated record floods.

In the weeks since the election began, climate change has been, respectively, the 7th, 6th and 5th most commonly mentioned topic in coverage — and climate received little mention in the debate this week (beyond Anthony Albanese’s focus on “clean energy”) or afterwards.

That suits both sides: the Coalition wants no mention of climate lest it remind voters in urban seats of the comprehensive failure of so-called Liberal moderates to press for effective climate action within a denialist federal government. And Labor treads carefully on the issue for fear of alienating a small number of regional voters — indeed, its biggest climate announcement of the election so far has been to insist coal miners would never be subject to requirements to reduce emissions.

Both sides are also recipients of large donations from fossil fuel companies, and former politicians and staff from both sides can be found working for fossil fuel companies, vividly demonstrating the phenomenon of state capture at work.

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And the loudest voice in climate coverage in the election campaign? News Corp commentators have long attacked the ABC for being obsessed with climate issues, but in fact it is News Corp that has the highest volume of coverage. In the last seven days, according to Isentia, 12% of News Corp’s election coverage — bearing in mind it is the dominant media company and operates across television, print and online — was devoted to climate, compared to 8% of the ABC’s.

In fact, the ABC devotes little attention to climate: the cost of living and Medicare have been the two biggest issues in the ABC’s election coverage, as they have been for News Corp. A federal ICAC, and the Solomons debacle, were the next two most frequent subjects for the ABC.

(Despite The Australian’s purported focus on national security, Isentia data shows News Corp has almost completely ignored the Solomons disaster, giving it far less coverage than, for example, its continued hyping of the Albanese “gaffe” from the first week.)

Aged care also received more coverage from both the ABC and News Corp than climate.

The low priority the ABC accords climate doesn’t merely discredit the News Corp lie about the ABC being obsessed with it, it suggests the ABC is now so cowed by the Coalition that it is reluctant to give sufficient priority to an issue that should be at the top of any list of crucial election issues, especially for a public broadcaster.

Instead, it has handed the running on climate to a company that operates as an arm of the fossil fuel industry.

What of other outlets? Liberal-aligned Kerry Stokes’ Prime Media also ignores climate change almost completely — just 4% of its coverage in the last seven days related to climate issues. In contrast, rural media group ACM devoted 16% of its coverage to climate issues — equal with Medicare and behind only an integrity commission. At Nine, climate came third on 13% behind cost of living and an integrity commission.

So, only ACM and, to a lesser extent, Nine are giving appropriate weight to the most important election issue, while News as always remains in denialist mode, and other right-wing groups like Kerry Stokes’ completely ignore it.

And at “Your ABC”, the most important issue affecting you over the long-term (and, for all too many, increasingly the short-term) struggles for a mention — further evidence that something is now deeply rotten within the national broadcaster.