Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has hit back at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp over claims his government introduced immigration bans similar to Donald Trump, accusing the company of a “bullying culture”.
In a blog post on his official website, Mr Rudd slammed the “Daily Torygraph” and “Courier Fail” over a February 1 article that linked the former Labor government’s 2010 temporary suspension on visa applications from Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum-seekers to the new President’s hardline executive order blocking refugee arrivals and visa applications from seven majority Muslim countries.
The story attacked Mr Rudd and said Labor was guilty of “double standards” for criticising a ban citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen last week.
Mr Rudd said he had not been given an opportunity to comment for the story, but News Corp publications knew they could get away with poor practices and editors had bragged to him of the company’s clout.
“People, corporations, universities, members of Parliament, have learned to fear these same Murdoch papers over the years if you dare challenge the accuracy or fairness of their stories,” he wrote.
“In fact, they have created a culture of fear so that people refuse to stick their heads up.
“This is bad for our democracy. These guys are just as likely to launch a campaign against you on a long-term basis to teach you a lesson not to complain again.”
Mr Rudd, now based in New York, said Sydney’s Daily Telegraph had attacked the same government measures “as amounting to a ‘non-policy”‘ in 2010.
He said Mr Murdoch’s Fox News channel had been a key backer of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and new administration.
“It’s a part of a bullying culture, reinforced by their monopoly position, towards people who have the temerity to challenge them on facts, or oppose their editorial line,” he said.
“Which is why papers like the Daily Torygraph in Sydney and the Courier Fail in Brisbane will continue do the same to people like me and others who don’t just meekly bend the knee.”
“Heaven knows what they do to the people who do not have a social media platform to try to defend themselves.”
Fairfax Media has sought a response from News Corp Australia.
The story Kevin Rudd slams ‘Daily Torygraph’ and ‘Courier Fail’ in fresh News Corp spray first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.