Most Mentioned Issues in the Australian Media – 2015

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Most Mentioned Issues in the Australian Media -2015Editor’s Note:  Welcome to this 2015 recap of Australia’s news, powered by iSentia

Australia’s involvement in the conflict in Syria and Iraq increased this year, starting with claims that up to 400 Australians were fighting with Daesh terrorists in the Middle East or actively supporting them from home. The first attack in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo office was followed by former PM Tony Abbott announcing Australia would assist the US with air strikes in Iraq and Syria. National security became a hot topic in local media as the Federal Government announced new laws to ctrack potential jihadists, including storing metadata for up to two years, and police raids revealed an alleged ANZAC Day terrorist plot in Melbourne. Europe tried to cope with hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing the war zone, and a second, larger coordinated Daesh attack in Paris in November, as the conflict entered its eighth year with no end in sight.

Following the unpopular 2014 budget, leadership pressure significantly rose on Tony Abbott when he gave Prince Philip a knighthood, leading to a surprising attempted leadership spill in February with 40% of the party room voting for the spill, despite there being no declared challenger, with much media reporting that Abbott was given six months to improve, with considerable focus on his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. In September, with the government still well behind in the polls and Bill Shorten neck-and-neck as preferred Prime Minister, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull challenged and won the party room vote to become Australia’s fifth prime minister in five years.

After a series of criminal trials in 2006 following their arrest for drug smuggling as part of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were sentenced to execution by firing squad by the Denpasar District Court in Indonesia, with an appeal dismissed in 2011 and pleas for clemency rejected by the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, on 22 January this year and the two men were killed by firing squad on 29 April. The Australian Federal Police was criticised for informing Indonesian authorities about the drug syndicate’s plans rather than arresting them in Australia.

Domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty was named Australian of the Year, with then PM Tony Abbott announcing she would also sit on a Council of Australian Government Panel on family violence, to help implement a national domestic violence order scheme. In March, the government announced $230 million towards the scheme, and a series of domestic violence-related murders received extensive media coverage throughout the year. Organisation Destroy the Joint says 78 women in Australia have lost their lives to domestic violence this year.

The 2015 Cricket World Cup was hosted by Australia and New Zealand in February and March, and after seven weeks of cricket those were the two teams left standing in the final, with England crashing out to Bangladesh in the preliminary stage and early favourites South Africa and India going down in the semi-finals. In captain Michael Clarke’s international swansong, the Australians dominated the final, bowling out the black caps for 183 and getting the runs with more than 15 overs to spare to win their fifth World Cup.

Australia's Most Mentioned Issues in the Media - 2015

Quote of the Year: “I want it to be a surprise for you” – Then Education Minister Christopher Pyne plays coy with Sky News’s David Speers in the soon to become infamous “I fixed it” interview.

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