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Australian Current Affairs

Australian Prime Minister accuses Rupert Murdoch of anti-government campaign


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken a dig at media mogul Rupert Murdoch, questioning whether commercial interests are behind his opposition to Labor’s National Broadband Network policy.

The News Corporation executive chairman used Twitter to say that he liked the “ideal of the NBN”, but questioned how the multi-billion dollar policy would be paid for.

Both Communications Minister Anthony Albanese and Mr Rudd responded on Twitter to the comment, but the Prime Minister followed up again during a media conference in Brisbane today.

“It’s for others to ask the question why Mr Murdoch really doesn’t want the National Broadband Network to be connected to everyone’s home and everyone’s small business premises,” Mr Rudd told reporters.

“Does he sense it represents a commercial challenge to Foxtel – which is a major cash cow for his company – or not?”

Mr Rudd’s comments come a day after Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which is owned by News Corp, published a front-page editorial urging voters to “kick this mob out”.

“I think he’s (Mr Murdoch) made it fairly clear through one of his editors the other day that he doesn’t really like us and would like to give us the old heave ho and get his mate Mr Abbott in,” Mr Rudd said.

“In terms of his views and his determination to see Mr Abbott elected as prime minister and his determination to see the end of myself – it’s a free country, he’s entitled to those views.

“I’m sure he sees it with crystal clear clarity all the way from the United States.”

News Corporation issued the following statement:

“Any suggestion that the editorial position of our newspapers is based upon the commercial interests of Foxtel demonstrates a complete ignorance of both our business and of Foxtel,” it read.

John Howard enjoyed the Telegraph’s headline

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard says all politicians face criticism from time to time, but added that he enjoyed the Daily Telegraph’s headline.

“I thought it was a good front page,” he told a lunch time audience in Sydney.

“I think the average Australian would say (that) if you start whinging at the beginning of a campaign about the media treatment, you’re a bit sensitive.

“You’ve just got to cop that in Australian politics.”

At the end of the 2007 election campaign, the Daily Telegraph endorsed Mr Rudd, saying the Labor leader had shown a commitment to the future.

Yesterday’s editorial acknowledged the newspaper’s previous support for Mr Rudd, but said “Labor (had) squandered that opportunity, and is trying now to present itself as the answer to problems of its own creation”.

Source: ABC Online – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd questions whether Rupert Murdoch’s criticism is financially motivated
 
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