Climate Change Communication in Australia: The Politics, Mainstream Media and Fossil Fuel Industry Nexus.

David Holmes, Cassandra Star

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this chapter is to analyse the relationships between the Australian fossil-fuel industry, politicians and the news media as a prerequisite for understanding the limits and opportunities for climate change communication in Australia. The dominance of the fossil-fuel industry in Australian society is deeply entrenched, demonstrated by a largely unchallenged discourse about their necessity in the mainstream media, and the role they play in funding the election campaigns of the two largest political parties. This paper draws on the theoretical tradition of political economy to argue that there is a well-defined fossil-fuel industry–political elite–mainstream media nexus, that shapes the reporting of climate change and the policies set by successive Australian governments. Australia has compelling reasons to undertake urgent and effective action on climate change. Yet, as this chapter argues, it is Australia’s exposure to extreme weather events that has ensured a consistently high level of public concern for climate action. Remarkably, public support for strong action on climate change continues to build, including as a defining issue in elections. This is despite a highly concentrated mainstream media that is largely hostile to climate science and emissions reduction initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Communication
Subtitle of host publicationVol. 1. Climate Change Management
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-69838-0
ISBN (Print)9783319698373
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameClimate Change Management
ISSN (Print)1610-2002
ISSN (Electronic)1610-2010


  • Climate change
  • Issue attention drivers
  • politics of climate change
  • Media coverage
  • Australia
  • Politics of climate change


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