By Jim Hayes
Kevin Rudd did the right thing to call out Rupert Murdoch as a “cancer eating away at the heart of Australian democracy.”
He should know. He has personally been a victim of the media tycoon. Murdoch is a man with the power and willingness to make or break governments, every major policy applied by those holding office these days, only comes about through Murdoch endorsement.
Take industrial relations reform. John Howard was backed to come up with WorkChoices, and the Abbott and Turnbull governments encouraged to bring it back in some form, despite rejection from the Australian community. The essence of this policy has always been to rake away rights at work, to push down the wages share in the wealth Australian society creates. This means that Rupert Murdoch and his network of billionaire mates get more.
Another major flagship policy with the Murdoch name on it, is climate change, centred around the support for fossil fuels and doing the least possible to cut down carbon emissions.
The same applies to the treatment of refugees coming into Australia by boat.
There is more here than doing personal business and the exercise of power. Rupert Murdoch has a view of the world that has much more in common with his Third Reich German counterpart Joseph Goebbels.
A trademark of this view of the world is to downgrade certain communities as being less worthy and to blame them for real or imagined ills. It plays on the fanning and manipulation of fear to impose a political agenda.
A second trademark is an abhorrence for the notion that important decisions should be made collectively and that everyone has a right to participate. In its place is an appetite to rely on the power of an elite and an increasing use of law and order as a weapon of political power.
These are changes, which Rupert Murdoch has been trying to bring about and recent governments have been obediently trying to put into place. Last week’s stunt by Peter Dutton, had the shadow of News Corp’s boss behind it. What else was it, but an attempt to lift he realisation of Murdoch’s dream another notch. It might not have quite worked out this time. He did out a prime minister though, and reminded his successor, Scott Morrison of who is still in charge.
The dream to remake Australia into the image of Rupert Murdoch’s view of the world, remains a serious danger to Australia’s future. This is the reason why, Kevin Rudd is right to out him.
Rudd has called for a royal Commission. Perhaps this could be part of it. On its own and through a compliant government, it is unlikely to get off the ground. Even if it does, it is hard to imagine that it would be given the teeth to make any serious difference.
The Murdoch influence can be combated by building a strong grass roots movement that exposes and holds back the power and influence of the Murdoch machine, and targets political leaders in its service.