Sally Rugg to head Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission

Sally Rugg

Sally Rugg will head a new organisation lobbying for a Royal Commission into the influence of the media businesses owned by Rupert Murdoch. 

Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission appeared online and across social media on Sunday, with an official launch announced for Thursday.

Rugg was a prominent campaigner in the fight for marriage equality. During that campaign she was a member of the team at GetUp! Subsequently she has been in charge of activist website 

She is the author of the book How Powerful We Are which recounted her work as an activist. 

The organisation’s newly launched website says they “will harness national despair at the state of our news media, and transform that energy into a strategic campaign aimed directly at our political leaders.

“Working together, we’ll make the case for why this royal commission is an essential investment in press freedoms, media diversity and our democracy. And we’ll create the kind of national political pressure that the folks in Canberra can’t ignore.”

The group will hold an official launch this Thursday, but it appears to be a project from former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has been campaigning for a Royal Commission into the influence of the Murdoch Media for some time. 

The new organisation follows both Rugg and Rudd on Twitter, alongside the Victorian Trades Hall which is its registered address. 

Rugg shared her excitement about her new role on Twitter, while Rudd also posted to the social media site detailing the project.  

“Last year, we launched the largest online petition in Parliament’s history. Then, the Parliament began investigating Murdoch’s media power.

“This Thursday, we will be launching the official campaign body for a #murdchroyalcommission.” Rudd said, tagging in Rugg. 

Rudd’s petition via the official parliament website broke records with over 500,000 Australians voicing their support for it. It was officially tabled in parliament earlier this week. 

Rudd isn’t the only former PM calling for action, Malcolm Turnbull also publicly voiced his support for the campaign. 

On Sunday 8th November Turbull told the ABC’s Insiders program that the Murdoch media had become a propaganda machine for its owner.

Turnbull said Australia only need to look at the USA and the influence of Fox News and other media outlets to see what occurs. 

“We are seeing people are being able to live in a siloed echo chamber that reinforces their prejudices, that appeals to the worst demons of their nature rather than the better angels,” Turnbull said.

“And if you want to see an example of what that does to a country, look at the United States.

“So I reckon we’ve got some very big issues with the media. It has changed dramatically the whole environment.”

NewsCorp, the company owned by 90-year-old Rupert Murdoch, operates hundreds of newspapers, websites, publishing companies and television outlets around the globe.

In Australia it owns over 140 newspapers ranging from national and city based mastheads to a plethora of local suburban newspapers.

The NewsCorp family includes The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Courier Mail, The Advertiser, The Mercury and The Northern Territory News, alongside online website The company also owns a majority stake in Foxtel and runs news channel Sky News.  

Western Australia is one of the areas of Australia that has the least amount of Murdoch owned media following the sale of The Sunday Times and it’s associated website Perth Now to the 7West group in 2016. 

OUTinPerth has reached out to both NewsCorp and Australians For a Murdoch Royal Commission for comment. 

Graeme Watson

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