A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.
Social responsibility

Kevin Rudd launches a petition for a Royal Commission into media diversity

Here is the official notice re this petition calling for a Royal Commission into media diversity, which could be called a Royal Commission into News Corp., which was launched by Kevin Rudd half an hour ago:

Petition EN1938 – Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media

Petition Reason
Our democracy depends on diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news. But media ownership is becoming more concentrated alongside new business models that encourage deliberately polarising and politically manipulated news. We are especially concerned that Australia’s print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership. This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting. Australians who hold contrary views have felt intimidated into silence. These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate. Powerful monopolies are also emerging online, including Facebook and Google. We are deeply concerned by: mass-sackings of news journalists; digital platforms impacting on media diversity and viability; Nine Entertainment’s takeover of the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald; News Corp’s acquisition (and then closure) of more than 200 smaller newspapers, undermining regional and local news; attempts to replace AAP Newswire with News Corp’s alternative; and relentless attacks on the ABC’s independence and funding. Professional journalists further have legitimate concerns around unjust searches, potential prosecution, whistle-blower protection, official secrecy and dispute resolution that should be comprehensively addressed. Only a Royal Commission would have the powers and independence to investigate threats to media diversity, and recommend policies to ensure optimal diversity across all platforms to help guarantee our nation’s democratic future.

Here is Rudd’s tweet, which includes a video explainer:

It’s a bold move to take on Murdoch as plenty have found. Personally, I’d like to see the proposed Royal Commission happen. I think it could be helpful for our democracy.


Join the discussion

  1. Mike Trickett

    Great move Kevin. Some winding back, or breaking up of the Murdoch influence in the country is well overdue. The bias and plain lies his newspapers and TV get away with is in the poorly regulated Australian media is a disgrace.


  2. Peter

    Thank you for this info Mark. I have attempted to sign and received an email back saying “Click here to confirm your signature” which I have tried to respond to but I do not yet get an explicit response confirming my Signature has been accepted. I will keep trying to get though. I believe the website appears to be overloaded and from what I see. The website claims delays because of Covid. Just as Lord Rupert uses Covid as an excuse to support and drive his changes. Scotty are you listening


  3. Peter

    Further I tried your link above, “Here is the official notice re this petition” and this is what I got ”

    Page not found

    There seems to be a problem finding the page, please try the search at the top of the page or the useful links below.

    If you clicked a link on the APH website and are seeing this page you can report the broken link via our contact page.”

    I can not but help but wonder if Scotty has arranged all this to prevent people signing this petitions etc which he would not approve of.


  4. Colin

    All a bit late as Rupert’s influence is rapidly waning.

    Newspaper sales in freefall with closures gathering frequency. His peak was when there was no alternative, now there is alternative a plenty.

    His Foxtel / Sky model is also under threat and looks overpriced compared to competitors – Netflix, Stan, Disney, Amazon are outpacing him.

    Must be something else in this. Rudd political point scoring ?


  5. Graeme Day

    Colin, Ibekieve you’re right. Murdch has sold most of his World wide Papers except his Aussie base and N.Y.
    He may have a few more -not many.
    Fox is under threat and the Fmily Dyansty in tatters as James and Elizabeth don’t an active role anymore.
    this leaves Justin to carry the load.
    The obvious is also happenning and that is print media is dissipating or being reduced thus having much less public sway than that of yesteryear.
    All print has bias and maybe this is what is causing these papers to fail faster than the natural course of this type of business dissipation would effect.
    Who would really know.


  6. Graeme Day

    It is also interesting to note that where News Corps main influence in print QLD, SA. VIC. all are State Labor Governments. Does this means Murdoch is achieving his own demise?
    If so then I doubt we’ll see a Royal Commission into this outcome. Logically it doesn’t stack up more lik as you say Colin, could be pollitical point scoring from a sore loser.


  7. Mark Fletcher

    The hashtag #MurdochRoyalCommission is currently trending #2 in Australia and garnering much discussion, and support.

    When you consider that the federal government has given Murdoch businesses $40M in recent years while cutting the ABC budget and cutting funding for the National Library and the federal Audit office, there is smoke to investigate.

    As for Murdoch’s reach in Australia, it is considerable. You only have to look at their approach to climate matters, banking regulation and their disinterest in an ICAC to understand the synergy between News Corp. interests and the interests of this government.

    I don’t make this comment to seek anyone to agree with me. Murdoch is one of those topics on which people have their views. I have mine. He has been bad for our channel and he is bad for democracy the world over in my view.


  8. Jonathan Wilson

    I think the biggest sign of just how much political influence Murdoch has in this country is the way the government is pushing this “news media bargaining code” where the government wants to force tech companies to share deep trade secrets of how their proprietary algorithms work with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and News Ltd.


  9. Graham Jackson

    Sign me up


  10. Andrew T

    A hypocrite, a megalomaniac and a loser.
    The media was terrific when it suited him and he used it to the max. The fool should just shut up and enjoy his wife’s wealth.


  11. Ann Hunter

    Agree wholeheartedly


  12. Margaret Walker

    Agree this is a matter of urgency.


  13. Graeme Day

    Murdoch’s Dynasty is dead it’s over A Royal Commission would achieve only the waste of money spent on it.
    What are we going to do about the future of the industry -look ahead towards new concepts -new image and better on-line and retail procedures appealing to our lost community.
    i don’t know if anyone saw the Murdoch Dynasty /Guardian show on ABC the past 3 weeks It cerainly said all that Rudd is repeating and also what is said here.
    The point is it’s out there It’s already been exposed-move on Mr Rudd you had two chances to do what they did in England . You had the power yet to lose is this why you didn’t want to do it then? one wonders.


  14. Jamie Henderson

    Apparently Mr. Rudd believes the only voice allowed in the Australian media should be a socialist one.


  15. Peter

    Jamie Rudd has not said that at all. Reach any of the murdoch rags or listen to any of their tv news programs and you realise the extent to which they seek to interfere in our politics. A royal commission would provide evidence and then it would be up to the government of the day to act.


  16. Tony

    Glad to help out with this. Many studies, academic and others, have detailed the rank bias and misinformation that the Murdoch media has disseminated under the pretence of factual reporting.

    It’s about time their power and influence in manipulating politics in this country was examined. I strongly commend this petition to all.


  17. PJ

    The government simply needs to ensure there is equal access (probably free) to a reliable news source similiar to AAP. Then it is up to media outlets to disseminate and even the general public to read the news direct from the newswire. Newspapers and other media is ultimately about entertaining the consumer. It’s impossible to convey all the news especially in newspapers so editors have to pick what they think their readers want to know about and add entertainment like opinion columns. Murdoch media has it’s current audience and is unlikely to attract more, so it’s primary concern is to give current customers what they want. Unfortunately that is skewed to the right (probably to far now) but it does form a balance to the centre left ABC.

    The power of Murdoch is waning both through audience attrition (the are literally dying), access to new customers and low to no profits in newsprint. Murdoch holds onto his Australian media companies more out of sentimentality. They all ready preach to the converted and aren’t amassing new followers, any influence they have is dwindling by the day even by their own hand eg The Australian price rise.

    Rudd has to pick up his dummy and go back to his hole of irrelevance. He like Abbott aren’t the messiah they were in the right place at the right time. Just like Biden is now.


  18. Jeff

    People saying Murdoch’s influence is waning are kidding themselves. The politicians keep giving Murdoch businesses cash while at the same time cutting funding to the most trusted news outlet in Australia.

    I support the petition for a royal commission. What we need is genuine and independent assessment of the situation. I am not a fan of Rudd but good on him for sticking his neck out. At least he is doing something about it.


  19. Graeme Day

    My Post 14 poses I wonder why Rudd didn’t do something when he had the power to do so as P.M.
    Typical he is asked the same question and answer s it in the Sun Herald today’s edition page 9 “Prior to 2010 Murcdoch campaigned against Labor most of the time but not all of the time.
    My job as Labor Leader then aws to try to maximise our coverage . However, since 2010, it’s gone 100 per cent against Labor.”
    It suited when it suited to gain power but 10 years later it does not.
    Me thinks Politics on both sides play the media game and the media play it back in spades.
    Wake up Austrlia think for yourseleves if you don’t like it don’t buy it. Vote by your purchase preference and just see the difference believe me they like Kevin will change to suit the climate of the people and the party


  20. Peter

    Graeme when you purchase now there is little or no choice left especially in Qld. As to new choice look to the Liberal and National Party reaction to Malcom when he let in the Guardian.


  21. Graeme Day

    Agreed, however the unsaid point in my post is that years ago the Labor Party (Keating) broke up the Televison -Radio-Print and Magazine ownership as it had too much power with too few owners.
    Print media was their obsession then. Still is with Rudd.
    HoweverI believe that too much control of power results in revolution and back fires upon those that impose it.
    We are seeing this with COVID restrictions as well.
    News dopimnates the press in the very States that have Labor Premiers. Which supports my observation.
    the Public have alternative information and frankly are sick of News publications -they are failing because of underconsumption. This is the public tating we don’t want this.
    Rudd stated his position in the newspaper (NINE) today and also it opined that the Labor Party would NOT support a Royal Commission.
    this to me may indicate that Rud has sought their input and was refused by Albanese by referring his concerns elswhere to answered.
    Parties of all Political persuasion are Media Junkies especially print as it is permanent and not debatable whereas T.V. presenters and Radio can talk back and forth.
    We are lucky in this Country that we can have much open discussion which allows free thinking and more discussion this then says out loud “don’t buy crap”
    the public has spoken and Kevin wants blood- Should have “Manned up” when he was in Power. The reason he wasn’t there long was his own Party and again he got a second chance. Malcolm and Abott -same -same.
    If QLD don’t want Murdoch’s papers then they will continue to not purchase them.
    They don’r but Fairfax/NINE either.
    Having preferred political parties is always going to create division however the public by and large can turn off the T.V. and/or Radio and not buy the paper.
    It’s a shame because once it was respected. How times have changed.


  22. Jim

    History is irrelevant Graeme. Murdoch is a cancer plain and simple. The proposed royal commission will reach its own findings. It is a wise move that is long overdue.

    I respect the newsagents in England who stopped selling the Sun.


  23. Peter

    Jim you are right and Lord Rupert has kept control of the assets that allow him to control and direct the political media discussion/propaganda. Just look at his Dailys in Australia and Sky TV.

    Lord Rupert now also has an Escape clause in the form of James should Trump loose control in the US. James has donated to the Democrats/Bidden which was one of the Reasons Lord Rupert ejected him. However James is now cooling his heals in wings should Trump loose control and would be an acceptable person to Bidden/Democrats if they manage to wrest control from what is an institutionalized Gerrymander.


  24. Graeme Day

    Jim this isn’t history I am talking about it’s fact The Sun when it replaced the disgraced “News of The World” (which Murdoch closed due to it’s phone hacking)only (to go into losses as great as $60 $70 billion last year.There isn’t going to be a Royal Commision into Murdoich press -deserve as he may it ain’t going to happen.
    I am a realist and Labor has stated they won’t support one. This was today tomorrow it may change -I doubt it and the reasons I have stated I don’t know where you get the historical part of it from the present is “Print media is stuffed” and if you are a newsagent you know this better than anybody It’s beien slowly declining since Television was introduced in Australia and now a new revolution nailed it to the wall. It’s goodnight nurse.
    Having said that I can only say that NO Governement is going to pass a bill through Parliament for a Royal Commission into Rupert Murdoch. i am not saying this to stick up for Murdoch or that he doesen’t derserve one it’s just that one it’s not in their best interest and two society has moved on -Read all about it oops can’t read all about it. but it’s true.
    as for the newsagents in England not selling the Sun they did so because they could and this is the point here we can’t as there is not the competition to replace those sales. Fairfax/NINE have the opportunity to expand except thay too are losing market share.
    In general it’s best to Channel emotion into something worth building upon not chasing yesteryear.


  25. Graeme Day

    Jim Peter
    Whilst you may be right the proposed royal commission is an after the known situation so it’s not an investigation even if all the conspiracy theories are correct.
    And they may well be. This is a people problem.
    Will you call on al newsagents to abn the newspaper over principal -no it’s your living and not te right to censor the product. So let’s someone else called the Govt do it.
    I tell you and Peter nailed it neither party is going to call a royal commission on the Press. Not here not in America.
    Trumps gone and Biden’s a fool –
    Abe said you can fool all the people one time some of the people all the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time..
    Amen – Trump has run his race and Biden couldn’t beat time with a stick. So what’s the answer when society is split 50-50?
    Blame some else ?
    Surely there is a better answer? Bank shares haven’t suffered.


  26. Mark Fletcher

    As of right now, 7:21am, October 12, 2020, 76224 have signed the petition.


  27. John Uren

    Try as I might, over the last two days, the petition will not accept my signature.


  28. Peter

    I tried to sign twice on Saturday with no success when I tried to verify my signing with the the provided process. i succeeded in signing on Sunday with verification.

    Today Monday 12/10 Page 4 Sydney Morning Herald discusses the website failure under “CBD, Rudd may inquire if Murdoch RC ever gets up”.


  29. Marie Woolnough

    I would like to add my name to the petition into the Murdoch Presst,but I do not think the Morrison govt. will do so Poor Leigh Sales was criticised by Sky New. How dare she treat
    our Prime Minister like that. Scott Morrison said she was treating him like Labor. The commentator then went on to say she would bend her knee to Malcolm Turnbull, whom they also disliked. You may try Jim Chalmers or Katy O’Gallager or the Greens or even Malcom Turnbull, or Alan Wilkie or the Centre
    Alliance.Malcom Turnbull did not like the Murdoch Press. Fox News ran a dreadful campaign against Obama with even given incorrect information agains his policies.

    lLabor. The commentator then went on to say she would bend her knee to Malcolm Turnbull whom they dislike, because he tried unsuccessfully to bring in climate change. I remember Turnball saying to Leigh she was a commentator and he was a position. Leigh keeps to her guns regardless of what side of politics a person comes from.


  30. Murray

    whilst at it how about we have a royal commission into the ABC for their far left agenda ? Rudd was the media darling with the newspapers in the lead up to his election win and for a short time after, the papers then went after him when everyone realised Rudd was a Dudd. He was quite happy to accept the medias help to get to PM. Now they are against him because he is an absolute looney , its now a problem


  31. Peter

    What a stupid comment murray. Stick to the facts. The proposed royal commission would be good for our democracy. Murdoch is not against Rudd since Rudd is not running for election.


  32. Murray

    Peter, people have the right to choose what they want to read or watch. If you are from the looney left you have the SMH, Guardian , SBS and ABC to name a few. Just because mainstream media doesnt suit Kevins agenda he has a problem with it. I dont see him asking for a commission into the bias from ABC


  33. Andrew T

    Jim @ 23
    “You respect the newsagents who have stopped selling the Sun”
    What a classic comment. So you as a newsagent have decided which of the newspapers is suitable for me to read. I think that is called communism.
    Stupid comment


  34. Jim

    I don’t own a newsagents Andrew. I agree with you, your comment is stupid.


  35. Peter

    Andrew T with the closure of Newspapers especially in QLD Lord Rupert is dictating what they read there is that Communism as well ?


  36. PJ

    Someone choosing to not sell something is an example of a free market, the antithesis of communism.


  37. Mark Richardson

    This petition just like Rudd is going nowhere.

    Rudd sits in his Queensland ocean front mega mansion pontificating climate change and Murdoch what a hypocrite.

    Those wanting a good dose of the lefts dictatorial lunacy there is a show on TV every day around 11.00am it’s called the Andrews Sutton Show, they have just celebrated 100 shows. This show has it all the lies, deceit, arrogance and of course no real plot. It is also a reality show as unfortunately over 800 poor souls have lost their lives businesses and families have been destroyed.

    Rudd has been given oxygen here under the guise of right wing bias in the media but that’s ok it’s not really political is it !!


  38. Andrew T

    @#37 PJ

    Are you serious
    If you’re a car dealer and decide not to sell one of the most popular cars because you hate the politics of that country is free market?
    I call that lunacy of the left.
    If you’re now deciding what your customers can or cannot read then surely you’re not arguing that’s a free market.

    Mark Richardson SPOT ON


  39. Mark Fletcher

    It’s interesting to see folks outside Victoria usually the most opinionated about what happens in Victoria.

    The call for a Royal Commission is healthy. 173,537 Australians have signed it so far.

    It’s disappointing that people claim a left or right bias.

    The reality is that the concentration of media ownership in Australia is greater than any other democracy. I don’t like this, our democracy suffers for it.

    Add to this the interference of the Murdoch press in elections, like we are seeing right now in Queensland and and we should be concerned.

    Now, Mark, I agree that what has happened in private nursing homes is dreadful. These are federal government controlled. They are run for profit. The 200+ state owners and run nursing homes have seen very few deaths, because they are well run, not run for profit.

    As the aged care royal commission found just on a week ago, the federal government that had said repeatedly they had a plan for covid in federally controlled nursing homes did not have a plan. That, right there, is the failure that led to 800 deaths. Yet, media bias is not seeing the story on the front page. That is political inteferenence.


  40. David

    I agree PJ. These blitherers about free market and newspapers are the same people who would want papers shut down if they publish views with which they disagree.

    Occasionally, when a cover is particularly distasteful, I will place a newspaper so it is not easily found. It helps me sleep at night.


  41. Peter

    Re Mark #40
    Quote”Add to this the interference of the Murdoch press in elections, like we are seeing right now in Queensland and and we should be concerned.”

    Look at Fox/Rupert’s efforts in the US for its huge and Gross Interference. It puts Rupert’s interference achievements in the UK and Aus to shame for effort and size.


  42. Ken

    I am a traditional Liberal voter. The whole family has been since the party was started by Menzies.

    I don’t see the Royal Commission proposal as being Labour versus Liberal. I don’t see it as a political move.

    Kevin Rudd is right in what he says and right to create this petition. I think it is time we get a better understanding of the concentration of media ownership.

    I do think the Murdoch companies have too much of a say and I do think that they abuse that. One only has to look at the Daily Telegraph to understand how far the Murdochs and shifted News Corporation from being a news business. I stopped buying that newspaper two years ago and am better off for it.


  43. Mark Fletcher

    219,159 signatures.


  44. Graeme Day

    i have never bought the Telegraph and the Daily Mirror was not allowed into our home let alone the Truth (Ezra Norton)
    This leaves The Australian and The Financial Review which I buy. and read objectively.
    Most other printed News is outdated or irrrelevant buy the time it reaches you.


  45. Graeme Day

    It’s not whether the principle is right or wrong- It’s political and the Royal Commission into Media will never happen.
    Kevin is be a hyppocrite He rode the tiger and when he was Circus Ring Master he fostered the beast and now that he not wanted in the arena he wants to change the beast.


  46. Peter

    0822 hours on the 14 10 2020 Number of Signatures and counting 220,872. I


  47. Murray

    Peter, you say 220872 people have signed. That means 24779128 people haven’t signed it. ( working off a population of 25 million ) But hey, the minorities seem to be winning in this snowflake world we live in now


  48. Peter

    Nice and offensive name calling there Murray. Maybe seek help for that. Your debating skills are excellent.


  49. Murray

    Peter, what is offensive ? The problem with debate these days is if someone disagrees with someone’s comments they pull out the racist and offensive cards ! Name one word I said that was offensive.


  50. Peter

    Thanks Peter,

    Murray that these numbers have come out and being bothered to make an effort to sign (in my case it took 3 attempts to get Soctty’s website to accept my signature), in 5 day says that in a Marginal electorate this could be a deal breaker when people consider how to vote.

    By the way by using the word snowflake with its many and varied derogative connotations in some ignorant peoples views makes you a rude ignorant pig.

    Now 231,890 and counting


  51. Graeme Day

    I am far too cynical to believe that any petitiion especially this one, will be taken on board by EITHER party and by next election it will be something else on the boil that will be headline stuff.
    i respect those that are trying for change and the courage of their cinvictions however when Kevin said what he said in the press and on ggogle as well as Abanese flicking the protest and the petition by saying he and the Party are NOT endorsing it I think they have let their followers and Democracy down. if as you do view it as democracy. Good Luck.


  52. Murray

    Peter , you are the perfect example of what’s wrong with the world. You get offended because you disagree with my views. Then you start attacking people because that’s what people like you do .


  53. Peter

    Sorry mate you went first


  54. Murray

    Wrong , you took offence to my general comment. Didn’t call you anything but you think it’s directed at you therefore you pull the racist slash offensive card out .


  55. Dennis

    Murray is showing how it is not possible to have intelligent, civil debate anymore.

    I agree with the Rudd petition and have signed it. We do need to look at media concentration in this country.


  56. Peter

    Thank you Dennis


  57. Murray

    Dennis and Peter, you both can’t debate. I never called anyone anything offensive . You took it personally so you both attack. Perfect example of the far right crazies in the world. Pull the cards so you look like you are offended. Are you both employees of the ABC ?


  58. Michael

    Oh right, the person who never called anyone anything offensive calls people here crazies.

    Grow up Murray.


  59. Brendan

    Wow Murray, nice (antagonistic) viewpoint, only adults can sign anyway so your numbers are not correct, and they’re also irrelevant as not everyone is ever going to sign a petition who would like to, but in the scale of parliamentary petitions it’s still considered very large. What are minorities “winning in” exactly? Is life, opinions and basic rights a competition in Australia now? I thought it was a basic right for anyone and everyone to be heard and treated equally and fairly.


  60. Murray

    Brendan, that’s what I am getting at. I believe in democracy but as soon as a leftie says something and someone has an alternative view they pull the racist or offended cards out. The problem with today’s world is a lot of people are finding a way to be offended and if they can’t they make it up .


  61. Amanda

    Stop with the name calling Murray. It’s offensive.


  62. Murray

    This blog used to be the go to for newsagent news.
    Not anymore , it’s been taken over by snowflakes ,Karen’s and Woke people.


  63. Peter

    And RWFW, Murray.


  64. Mark Fletcher

    Okay folks, that’s enough. The comments have become puerile and way off topic. Everyone is entitled to a view. People are, however, not entitled to be rude. If this continues I will turn off comments.


  65. Graeme Day

    Well said, When it gets to “he said she said” the actual topic loses its virtue.
    Newsagents future is a much better topic than political fodder.
    it’s funny when I am asked at a Surgery, Drs. or Dentist if I am allergic to anything, I say yes unfortunately I am allergic to politicians, they make me sick.
    It always bring laughter with the receptionist and those in the waiting room.
    Occossionally though I do fail and am tempted to answer the cause or reason not the person despite the fact that I know it’s futile.
    Cynically, after haven been on many Govt Panels into Media etc on behalf of this industry i can say this will go nowhere even though I appluad you all for trying.


Comments are now closed.