Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is calling for a Royal Commission into the abuse of power in Australian media.
In a scathing op-ed published by The Sydney Morning Herald, Rudd slammed News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, claiming his interference in Australian politics is nothing new.
The opinion piece follows a tumultuous fortnight in Australian politics and media, with the ABC first accusing Murdoch of deliberately pushing out former PM Malcolm Turnbull, and then losing its managing director and chairman.
According to Rudd, “If ever there was a case for a full royal commission into the abuse of media power in Australia, it is now”.
“Let’s start with the ABC,” he begins.
“Murdoch despises the ABC for ideological and commercial reasons. The fact the Liberal Party Federal Council recently adopted a formal resolution for total privatisation of the ABC underlines Murdoch’s and the Liberals’ common approach.
“But rather than a full frontal assault, what the Liberals have done is stack the board, slash the budget (resulting in the loss of 1,200 staff) and pressure management to get rid of difficult journalists,” he added.
Rudd then goes on the Murdoch attack, accusing the media mogul of constantly swaying voters and meddling in Australian politics.
“Then there’s Murdoch. Owning nearly 70 per cent of Australian print, in addition to Sky, it is now clear Murdoch used this power ruthlessly to run a campaign to depose Malcolm Turnbull in favour of Peter Dutton – only to end up with Morrison as the consolation prize.”
“The Murdoch media, through systematic bullying and intimidation, have successfully created a culture of fear in Australian public life.
“People know that if you attack them, they then set out to destroy you.
“And it’s worked. That’s why most politicians, corporates, academics and journalists decide to keep their heads down.”
For Rudd, enough is enough, with the former PM calling for a “far-reaching royal commission covering not just the abuse of media power in pursuit of personal gain, but also examining future models for public and private media ownership – to preserve the press and democratic freedoms on which our nation has been built.”
Read the opinion in its entirety here.