Friday, November 1, 2013

Rupert Murdoch in tightly controlled Lowy Lecture as phone hacking trial plays out

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has used Tony Abbott's elevation as Prime Minister to highlight Australia's emergence from a nation once riddled with "stuffy, narrow-minded elitism".
Speaking at the annual Lowy Lecture, Mr Murdoch pointed to the Prime Minister's open Catholicism to highlight how "class pretensions" in Australia once discriminated against Catholics.

Listen to Brendan Trembath's report from this morning's "AM".

Watch the address here from ABC News 24
"Thankfully, Australia has emerged from its inauspicious colonial beginnings to become a proud nation, a nation that overcame those primeval prejudices," Mr Murdoch told an exclusive audience in Sydney's town hall.
"We have a perfect example: Many of you will remember a day when a Catholic was rare in a Liberal cabinet.
"Those days are now behind us. And Prime Minister Tony Abbott is part of the proof."
Rupert Murdoch with Frank Lowy                                                                Photo: Peter Ryan

In a wide ranging address, Mr Murdoch said Mr Abbott was "assuredly right" to nominate Indonesia as one of Australia's most important relationships because if its proximity and size.
And he urged "a friendly and open relationship" with China but signalled concerns about a possible economic contraction in the world's second biggest economy.
Mr Murdoch's most passionate comments were about the need for greater education for all Australians.
"You can't have a competitive, egalitarian meritocracy if only some of your citizens have the opportunity for a good education," Mr Murdoch said.
"In a world as competitive as ours, the child who does not get a decent education is condemned to the fringes of society.
"I think all Australians agree that this is intolerable.
"So we must demand as much of our schools as we do of our sports teams – and ensure that they keep the Australian dream alive for every child."

                                                                                                                          Photo: Peter Ryan

Mr Murdoch's comments about his media interests were brief given the high profile phone-hacking trial playing out in London.

"You can't have a free democracy if you don't have a free media that can provide vital and independent information to the people," Mr Murdoch said.
He described himself as a "disruptive influence" and that he had "always been a firm believer in providing the public with choice and access to quality content".
Mr Murdoch singled out "disruption" as a driving force in the creation of Sky News, Fox News and The Australian which he established in the mid-1960s.
                                                                                                                              Photo: Peter Ryan

Mr Murdoch also had his self-deprecating moments.
"In this country, I have a reputation as a man who occasionally likes to jawbone," he said.
Mr Murdoch revealed he wears a "jawbone" bracelet to electronically keep track of how he sleeps, moves and eats.

Journalists were restricted to covering Mr Murdoch's speech only and were denied access to guests attending the event.
Lone protester  Peter Knox                                   Photo: Peter Ryan

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