Rupert Murdoch quarrels with Australian Prime Minister Abbott

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Once upon a time, Rupert Murdoch and Australian politician Tony Abbott were close friends. However …

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Rupert Murdoch turns on golden boy Tony Abbott over Australian PM’s failure to show ‘courage and leadership’

Talk of climate change and a series of gaffes has left the premier vulnerable

Oliver Poole

Sunday 23 November 2014

Fourteen months ago, Rupert Murdoch‘s papers championed Tony Abbott as he headed for election victory to become Australia’s prime minister. Yesterday, that mutual admiration came to an abrupt end as the media baron’s most influential newspaper labelled him “languishing”, “looking flaky” and not “hard enough”.

An editorial in The Australian upbraided Mr Abbott for lacking an “authoritative voice” and failing to show “courage and leadership”. It said: “Mr Abbott must regroup, trust himself and speak with purpose. Right now his insipid default setting is losing the people.”

During the 2013 election campaign, the Murdoch press in Australia was accused of bias by Kevin Rudd, leader of the incumbent Labor Party. An analysis of coverage in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph by ABC’s Media Watch claimed that, in the first week of the election campaign, half of the paper’s 80 stories were slanted against the government, with none against the conservative opposition. Over the next two weeks, it said, 59 stories were against the government, while only four were slanted against the opposition. Just three stories were said to have been in favour of the government.

Australian broadcaster and journalist Mark Colvin described The Australian‘s attack as a “remarkable turnaround”.

“The portents for Mr Abbott as he approaches his second Christmas as prime minister look a lot less promising,” he said. “And when, in the same editorial, it asks, ‘Is Mr Abbott hard enough?’, The Australian has inevitably kindled speculation that Murdoch‘s editors may have a successor in mind,” Mr Colvin added. With two years until the next election, however, any major challenge to Mr Abbott’s leadership would be a surprise.

Before Mr Abbott entered politics, he worked as a journalist for The Australian and, to mark the paper’s 50th anniversary in July, he described it as Rupert Murdoch‘s “gift to our nation”. Mr Murdoch had previously hailed Mr Abbott as an “admirable, honest, principled man”.

The editorial came after the Australian prime minister said that climate change was an “important subject”, following talks with the French president François Hollande, last week. He had previously stated that, in his opinion, climate change was “absolute crap”.

Mr Abbott had faced pressure to place climate change on the agenda of the recent G20 meetings of world leaders in Brisbane.

Last week, Mr Abbott made the mistake of referring to China as Tasmania during a dinner with President Xi Jinping as he summed up the details of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. It was one of a number of gaffes during his tenure. In May, he was caught winking at a radio host in the middle of an interview when a phone-sex worker called into the programme. The incident was broadcast live by ABC.

Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef: here.

Editorials and commentary have appeared in the Australian press over the past week expressing the rising frustration in ruling circles with the failure of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Liberal-National government to implement the austerity measures demanded by big business: here.

Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott swallowed his pride yesterday and abandoned a plan to reshape the country’s universal healthcare system by charging patients a fee to see their doctor: here.

After several weeks of conflicting messages and visible rifts in his government, Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday abandoned one of the most detested measures in the May budget—the imposition of a $7 upfront fee to visit a doctor. However, the government now plans to slash just as much off health spending—$3.5 billion over four years—by coercing GPs, and other medical practitioners, into charging fees by reducing and freezing the rebates they receive under the Medicare health insurance scheme: here.

The Liberal-National Coalition government in Victoria was thrown out of office in Saturday’s state election, becoming the first government to be ousted after just one term of office in that state since 1955. The result in Australia’s second most populous state intensifies the crisis confronting the federal Coalition government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Bitter hostility in the working class toward Canberra’s May budget and its cuts to education, health, welfare and other basic services intersected with similar opposition to Victorian Premier Denis Napthine’s own austerity measures: here.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott survived a vote this morning of Liberal Party parliamentarians for a spill of leadership positions, but the intense political uncertainty surrounding the government will continue. The challenge to Abbott’s leadership, just 17 months after the Liberal-National Coalition won office in September 2013, is another indication of the political volatility being fuelled by the rapid deterioration of the Australian economy and widespread popular opposition to the government’s agenda of austerity: here.

Australian PM Tony Abbott labelled ‘most incompetent’ western leader by US think tank: here.

After three weeks of public controversy over her travel and accommodation expenses, Bronwyn Bishop resigned yesterday as Australian parliamentary speaker. The scandal, which first emerged over a helicopter ride costing $5,227 from the city of Melbourne to the nearby regional centre of Geelong, was prominently featured in the media, along with demands by the opposition Labor Party for her removal. Bishop’s resignation is a blow to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who stood by his close ally throughout. The affair has again highlighted fractures within Abbott’s Liberal Party and the ruling Liberal-National Coalition government. Senior ministers either criticised Bishop or refused to publicly back her: here.

11 thoughts on “Rupert Murdoch quarrels with Australian Prime Minister Abbott

  1. Murdoch, to maintain power hops from one position to the next depending on what fickle decision he has a take on, in the case of Abbott, I agree with Murdoch, Abbott, has been seen as potential material to become as a the leader, unfortunately as he came to power has shown how narrow his mind is as he fumbles to work out a nations problems with inappropriate simplicity and inability to show true leadership.


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