Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday described News Corporation, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as the most powerful political force in the country.
Turnbull on Monday appeared before the Senate inquiry into media diversity in Australia during which he described the company as a “mafia gang” that uses its influence to pursue its own corporate interests with no accountability, reports Xinhua news agency.
“News Corp now is like a political party, but with just one member, or one family of members and that is an absolute threat to our democracy,” Turnbull said.
“The most powerful political actor in Australia is not the Liberal Party, or the National Party or the Labor Party. It is News Corporation and it is utterly unaccountable.
“It’s controlled by an American family and their interests are no longer, if they ever were, coextensive with our own.”
Turnbull served as Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018 when he was deposed as the leader of the governing Liberal Party by its conservative wing.
He said on Monday that News Corp was a key player in his removal, accusing the company of campaigning against his climate change policies.
“This sounds completely unhinged and it may well be so but there is no doubt that was being undertaken and I had a direct conversation with Rupert about it,” Turnbull said.
News Corp owns many newspapers across Australia including publications in six capital cities, national broadsheet The Australian and 24-hour TV news channel Sky News Australia.
According to an introduction on the website of News Corp Australia, each month, 16 million Australians choose to consume news and information across its products – more than any media group in the contry.
Turnbull was the second former Prime Minister to appear before the inquiry after Kevin Rudd said before it on February that every politician in Australia was afraid of Murdoch’s influence.
“There’s a culture of fear across the country,” Rudd said.
“The truth is as prime minister I was still fearful of the Murdoch media beast. When did I stop being fearful? Probably when I walked out of the building in 2013.”