Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says that after coming to the conclusion that News Corp was running a “protection racket” for the Coalition, he was inspired to launch a petition calling for a royal commission into the media empire of Rupert Murdoch.
Less than 24 hours after Mr Rudd ‘s announcement on Saturday morning, nearly 6,000 people signed the petition, leading to some glitches on the website of the Australian Parliament as people tried to sign it.
Although other parliaments across the globe have a “signature threshold” for applications, Australia does not, meaning that the Parliament or the federal government would not be allowed to act on the petition.
On Saturday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who was Mr. Rudd ‘s close political ally, did not comment on whether he agreed with the former prime minister, with his office referring inquiries to Michelle Rowland, Labor ‘s contact spokeswoman. Senior Labor sources said it was unlikely that the opposition would back Mr. Rudd ‘s call for a royal commission.
Mr Rudd, who courted and earned the support of News Corp in the 2007 federal election, called the business a “democracy cancer” and said that his “passion for the country’s future” prompted the move.
Murdoch would exploit the news reports to characterise us as poor economic managers while my government generated one-fifth of the size of Morrison’s deficit and still kept Australia out of recession.
Mr. Rudd said there was a need for some kind of government interference, but a royal commissioner could determine the exact regulatory model.
He said many people were afraid to speak up in Australian society, including in rival media, for fear of being threatened by the media outlets of News Corp.
“Even when people are wrongly reported and defamed by Murdoch, the truth is there is now a culture of fear in Australia whereby very few people are prepared to speak up against Murdoch for fear of what their media empire will do to you,” Mr Rudd said.