Citizen Journalism

IPA and Murdoch are freedom’s discerning friends: Abbott

In Federal Election, Ideology, IPA, Liberal Party on April 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM
IPA 70th Anniversary dinner attended by Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell, Abbott, Bolt,

IPA 70th Anniversary dinner attended by Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell, Abbott, Bolt,

By Tony Abbott
April 4. 2013

Andrew, thank you so much for that truly lovely introduction. All I can say is: I prefer your judgments to your reminiscences!

Mr Premier, Mr Lord Mayor, Your Eminence, parliamentary colleagues, I don’t want to single anyone out because there are so many of them here but I should particularly mention the Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis who did such magnificent work in opposing the current government’s attacks on free speech, family members of the founder of the IPA, CD Kemp, Gina Rinehart, who has given what I’m sure is the best speech that any one will give tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
At one level, tonight we celebrate the 70th birthday of the Institute of Public Affairs; but at a deeper level we celebrate things that are timeless – the freedom that our civilisation has nurtured and the faith that has nurtured our civilisation. In celebrating the IPA, we celebrate its calling which is to support and sustain the public culture which has shaped our country and influenced so well the wider world.

In the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve could do almost as they pleased but freedom turned out to have its limits and its abuses, as this foundational story makes only too clear. Yet without freedom we can hardly be human; hardly be worthy of creation in the image of God. From the Garden of Eden, to the Exodus, Athenian democracy, the Roman Senate, Magna Carta, the glorious revolution and American independence, the story of our civilisation has been the story of freedom and our struggles to achieve it.

Freedom, ladies and gentlemen, is what we yearn for but it can only exist within a framework of law so that every person’s freedom is consistent with the same freedom for everyone else. This is what the poet Tennyson meant when he described England as “a land of just and old renown, a land of settled government where freedom broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent”. At least in the English speaking tradition, liberalism and conservatism, love of freedom and respect for due process, have been easy allies.

The IPA, I want to say, has been freedom’s discerning friend. It has supported capitalism, but capitalism with a conscience. Not for the IPA, a single-minded dogmatism or opposition to all restraint; rather a sophisticated appreciation that freedom requires a social context and that much is expected from those to whom so much has been given. You’ve understood that freedom is both an end and a means; a good in itself, as well as necessary for full human flourishing.

I particularly congratulate the IPA and its marvelous director, John Roskam, for your work in defence of Western civilisation. Contemporary Australia has well and truly – and rightly – left behind the old cult of forgetfulness about our indigenous heritage. Alas, there is a new version of the great Australian silence – this time about the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation are unimaginable.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the foundation of our justice. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” is the foundation of our mercy. Faith has weakened but not, I’m pleased to say, this high mindedness which faith helped to spawn and which the IPA now helps to protect and to promote.

I want to say of the IPA that, unlike some other bodies dedicated to the promotion of an ideal, the IPA has never been too proud or too pure to campaign for its beliefs or to take sides in a good cause. Your campaign against the bill of rights caused a bad government to capitulate. You campaigned against the bill of rights because you understood that a democratic parliament, an incorruptible judiciary and a free press, rather than mere law itself, were the best guarantors of human rights.

You campaigned against the legislative prohibition against giving offence and I’m pleased to say that the author of those draft laws is now leaving the parliament. Well done IPA! And, of course, you campaigned against the public interest media advocate, an attack dog masquerading as a watchdog, designed to intimidate this government’s media critics and that legislation was humiliatingly withdrawn. John, whatever you did to persuade independent members of parliament, please, give it to me!

John, you’ve done very well with just 20 staff – but remember what Jesus of Nazareth did with just 12 and one of them turned out to be a rat!

John, there is one campaign where you will not prevail – namely your urgent advice to me in the IPA Review last August to be more like Gough Whitlam. You had a great deal of advice for me in that particular issue and I want to assure you that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the Department of Climate Change, abolish the Clean Energy Fund. We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form. We will abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies. We will deliver $1 billion in red tape savings every year. We will develop northern Australia. We will repeal the mining tax. We will create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. We will privatise Medibank Private. We will trim the public service and we will stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN.

So, ladies and gentlemen, that is a big “yes” to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me in that particular issue of the magazine….but Gough Whitlam I will never be!

Now, as it happens, John Roskam is not the only member of this audience to have had some regard for Gough Whitlam. Based on his papers’ 1972, support for the Whitlam Government our guest of honour tonight was once described as a “recovering socialist”. I suspect we will discover later on just how completely he has been cured!

John Howard has said that Rupert Murdoch has been by far Australia’s most influential international businessman; but I would like to go a little further. Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming.

Rupert Murdoch has sometimes changed his political allegiance but he’s never changed his fundamental principles. At least since the mid-70’s, those have been greater personal responsibility, smaller government, fewer regulations and support for open societies that don’t build walls against the world.

For our guest of honour, as for anyone deeply steeped in reporting, experience trumps theory and facts trump speculation. His publications have borne his ideals but never his fingerprints. They’ve been skeptical, stoical, curious, adventurous, opinionated yet broad minded. He’s influenced them, but he’s never dictated to them – as I happily discovered myself in 1989 while writing editorials in favour of the pilots who were trying to ground the airline that he then half owned. As a transgression, this turned out to be far less serious than spelling his late great mother, Dame Elisabeth’s name with a ‘z’ rather than with an ‘s’!

Rupert Murdoch is a corporate citizen of many countries, but above all else, he’s one of us. Most especially, tonight, he’s a long-serving director of the IPA, as was his distinguished and celebrated father, Sir Keith.

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is a special night. This is a night to renew our commitment, to renew our faith. In a hundred years’ time, all of us will be gone but, please God, not the ideals and the great causes for which we stand. May it be said of us that we have passed the torch of freedom to our successors; which we do by supporting an organisation that’s bigger than any of us and that can outlive all of us.

  1. We now know the puppets strings.

  2. White, christian, right wing, elitism. Now the truth is really out.

  3. Is this a joke? If not why no critique from the MSM ? This is the man who would be Prime Minister clearly making policy on advice from powerful cronies.
    MSM where are you! anyone?
    Adam and Eve! Mad Monk indeed
    Abbott Murdoch Rinehart and Pell running the Country,we should all be very afraid.

  4. […] NOTE: The ideas Abbott has ticked off  on so far during his revelatory speech to the IPA are […]

  5. So, even if Tony Abbott does become PM he will never govern the country. He is not his own man he is a puppet, he holds DLP and Catholic ideals against the far right aims of his puppeteers. He will have to reassert his absent manhood, having relinquished it for the position, and reconcile his own ideology with that of the puppeteers. So there will be conflict between the puppet’s ego and masters.
    Then within the coalition there are some real men and women. Real men and women are too strong to be led by a mindless puppet. So there is conflict between mindless puppet and real people.
    So what happens? Do we have loss of direction due to internal battles? At least we know TA won’t lose his mind, he doesn’t have one.

  6. The total lack of any leadership qualities of Tony Abbott are well known by those who know him. Howard knew this as did others. He is only where he is now because the powers-that-be need a puppet & as Abbott will do anything to be PM of Australia he is their ideal candidate.

    His far right conservative leanings & firm beliefs in the edicts of the Roman Catholic church, the DLP, those of B A Santamaria & the IPA are terrifying for our democracy. He is definitely not his own man just a figurehead for the shadowy faceless men manipulating him.

  7. “Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world ”

    if mr rabbit does not know yet about Merde-ochs decades as a citizen of the USA, then he doesn’t know enough to lead a Party let alone a country.
    Merdeoch spoke as well, after IPA security searched everyone for cream pies, and even without a pie in the face, his speech was hilarious –
    “we must have a press free from government intervention and
    why government attempts to regulate the press in Australia and Britain have been ill-conceived. The press must be held accountable, but so must our politicians.”

    It certainly was ill-conceived to have the UK government regulate the press. The governments Police Department sold The Press information. Multiple officers, multiple times. I hope part of the Leveson Report covers their search for A Press Regulator more Honest than their PC Plods.

    Everyone has completely forgotten that only days before we read of the murdered Milly Dowlers phone being hacked by Merdeochs Free Press, her parents were accused and hounded to tears in a courtroom, because the hacking of the phone made them look like Suspects. They staggered from the court in a complete mess. All forgotten now snoopy Rupey, whose own mother didn’t even like him.

    • Why do you blog? Is it just to feel as if you are making a comfortable emission from one of your orifices or do you aim to persuade, That silly spelling, like a child running round gleefully calling out wee-wee-wee is kindergarten stuff. And why say such stupid things as you assertion that his mother didn’t like him. If you think that you obviously haven’t a clue and should thing about recovering from the reputation for being someone who unscrupulously makes things up.

      Where did you get that nonsense about Milly Dowler’s parents [being] accused and hounded to tears in a courtroom? Accused of what? Maybe, though it is not in their main story, from the Guardian which had to publish an apology acknowledging that the truly serious allegation that the messages on the voicemail had been wiped and thereby false hope was given to her family was false, or at best, unwarranted.


    • Do you expect to persuade people? Do you want to? If so, why be so foolishly childish as if a bad pun on Merde was worth emitting once, let alone repeating?

      Are you aware that the Guardian, your most likely source, apologised for stating, without justification, that Milly Dowler’s voice mail messages had been erased by hackers working for News of the World? That was the truly weighty charge. And it was without warrant.

      And where do you get your fantasies from? I mean the idea that Rupert’s mother didn’t like him. Or, for that matter, that Milly Dowler’s “parents were accused and hounded to tears in a courtroom, because the hacking of the phone made them look like Suspects. They staggered from the court in a complete mess.”

    • It looks as you will have to wait to read a comment on your childishness and disregard for evidence and relevance as my replies have been held up a long time for “moderation”.

  8. It was thanks to Howard bringing in the rights to claim dual citizenship, applicable for certain countries, that Murdoch was able to reclaim his Australian citizenship which he had so quickly (without any signs of regret) relinquished purely in order to do his desired business in the US.

    He doesn’t live here but he still wants to control all of us as he sees fit. Tony Abbott is the only one who will give him that & he has Murdoch’s pocket lint all over him.

    • Well I suppose all those of us who adjust our savings and assets so we can get a bit of the OAP and health card paid for by those silly people who actually pay taxes shouldn’t be too hard on someone making a choice of citizenship (like several million Australians) because he wants to do more busness, employ more people and/or make a better living.

      As it happens, Murdoch could reasonably anticipate an Australian government changing the law back to where it had been since he would have known about the history of our relevant legislation and who were the people most affected. So, if you think it matters that he may not have put his undoubted sentiment in favour of Australia and being Australian right at the top of his emotional priorities I think you can be sure that he would have been hoping and urging.

      Of course a more sentimental man might have decided to adopt the “Citizen of the World” persona to hoped-for applause from the left.

  9. The upcoming election is most certainly the most important this country has faced since Goughs time. Every comment I read in independent media points to the same thing. The MSM are feeding the masses great untruths & those untruths will determine who runs this nation. I’m so frightened for Australia at the moment, so so frightened 😦

    • You took the words rght out of my mouth, emailed The Drum daring them to discuss, no response and it didn’t happen of course.

  10. thanks for that Joy. I did not know about ‘dual’. I could never ever become a citizen of any other country than this one where 5 previous generations of both my parents have been born.
    Abbott jumps from Rupes pocket long enough to lick Ginas stupendous arse as he said in the speech above that hers “was the best of the night” and hoping for a big contribution to Party funds. All I want on 14th Sept is some integrity to vote for, and hardly caring what party label it has.

  11. It was when there was still some guts left in the media, iODyne & political commentators, if I remember correctly, were of the opinion that it was done, purely & simply, to allow Murdoch to reclaim his Australian citizenship, again for business purposes. Of course, it has allowed others to do the same.

    Murdoch had no compunction in giving up his Australian citizenship in the first place & had been living in the US since 1974 becoming a naturalised US citizen in 1986 in order to buy TV stations in that country. He also a bit of a political whore in that he will switch political allegiances to suit his own needs.

  12. A lot of stuff saying more about themselves than anything they comment on!

    A little attention and thought would, for example, start with actually reading the highly verbal Tony Abbott’s “Battlelines”. And any thought about his old Catholic and DLP allegiances would serve as a reminder that his mentor Bob Santamaria was much closer in social policy ideas to the old Labor Party traditions than anything that the young IPA enthusiasts for Hayek, Friedmann or, for that matter Keating and Peter Walsh in the Hawke government.

    Most energetic politicians who are around for long enough and retain ambition are first and foremost practical and multi-faceted. Even Jeff Kennett would have survived if his colleagues had been as able and forceful as Turnbull, Hunt, Morrison, Cormann, Hockey (surprisingly good on Treasury matters now), not to mention up and comers like Frydenberg.

    • I used to watch BASantamaria when TV was B&W and of course his DLP allegiance was Labor and wharfies and working-poor because they all had nine children to feed without help from the golden vatican city.
      Nostro has forgotten (although I can’t imagine how, since the pulping of the BobEllis book was front page Rupert news) that Tony met Costello and his now-wife whose father was a Liberal pollie and it was alleged that Tania Turned the guys on to liberal ways. They both have a thing for piano-legs maybe.
      Ellis called a spade a spade and the 3 amigos sued him and had the book pulped.

      • And your point is?

        What did Nostradamus say which suggested he might have forgotten wat you refer to, BTW?

        Are you, more than BTW, making an insulting remark about an inoffensive woman’s appearance who seems to desire no public profile or position? Are you, further, asserting (“called a spade a spade” ) that Ellis’s defamatory statements were in fact true? Would you care to identify yourself so that you can also defend a libel action?

    • What an odd confirmation it is of the opening sentence to find such a preponderance of negative raters! What do y’all dislike? Perhaps just being ignorant compared with NostraD? Or unhappiness that the real prospect of Abbott succeeding is held up for your horrified gaze?

  13. Meanwhile, six more ex-News journalists arrested in U.K. Total arrests so far in connection with three separate inquiries is over 100, many of them employees or ex-employees of Tony’s good mate Rupert or his business.

    And, as Abbott proudly informs us, “Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming.”

    Good to have you aboard, Rupert?

  14. Come 15th of September I may well be leaving Australia for the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. *VOMIT*

  15. Well seriously, did you expect anything different from the man? God, Rupert and Gina: pfft, no surprises there. Interesting to note Andrew Bolt is obviously well thought of, enough to be the MC for such a prestigious event. I wonder what job he’ll secure when Abbott is elected?

  16. As usual, the Leader of the Opposition has got truth confused with fiction. Rupert Murdoch is an American citizen, unless there is a hidden message in referring to him as “one of us”. Except for extremely fundamentalist Christians, the Garden of Eden is considered an allegory and Adam and Eve were fictional, whereas the Magna Carta was an actual document composed by real people; what a ludicrous comparison. Clearly, like Climate Change, the Coalition don’t believe in the Theory of Evolution either. The pilots who went on strike were not trying simply “to ground” the airline; they were striking for fair work conditions. It is a nonsense to say that Western values have been forgotten in Australia. All our political and judicial laws and systems are founded on the Westminster and Western systems. Perhaps he means Western religions hold less sway? But in Western democracy the Church and State are supposed to be separate or does the Coalition intend to reintroduce religious argument into political discourse in this country?
    This speech by Abbott is sectarian and tries to introduce religious argument into political discourse. If this had been done by a person of another non-Christian religion, imagine the outcry.

    How could any genuinely moral person laud someone whose papers have committed an illegal and criminal act against hundreds of people? Murdoch’s editors do not need to be dictated to, because he has hired them, because they share his ethos.

    Why is it the “Institute of Public Affairs” when it despises all things public?

    Like any power seeking totalitarian control, they hate academia and intellectuals because the intellectuals are capable of discerning the truth through all the lies and propaganda.

    Thank you for the FDR quote on your site; a pity the current lot of Coalition supporters do not heed it.

    • oh Bentleigh, I said the same thing and Joy (her comment above) put me straight. it appears that there are theories going back to the Nugan-Hand scandal and this link has more of this sort of thing :
      ‘In 1965, Michael Hand compiled an astounding record as a Special Forces “super soldier” in Vietnam. In 1966, he seems to have been recruited into the Operation Phoenix by the CIA’s William Colby.
      How does Murdoch come into this story? Well, in this same period, Murdoch was establishing himself as an up-and-coming news baron in both Australia and the U.K. In 1967, Michael Hand transferred his operations to Australia, where he became involved with a firm called Ocean Shores Development. This company was run by a senior executive for Sir Peter Abeles, who was then a business partner of…ta dah!…Rupert Murdoch.
      Pretty much every enterprise that Hand ever joined or ran was actually a front for covert operations. Most spy-watchers think that Ocean Shores (allegedly in the land development business) was a front for something spooky.’

      Never mind Rupey, just wait till Madam Wendii Chang Kai Deng takes over

  17. He will be known as ‘one term Tony’ because once he’s in power, his popularity will plummet to new depths as he attempts to repeal good Labor policies (like the Carbon Tax, Gonski etc.) and so when everyone sees what a ‘pugalistic knobhead’ (not my words – but happy to use them) he really is, even his own party will realise his policies are leading directly to a double dissolution of Parliament. So within months of him assuming office, I believe his positon as leader will be untenable and unpalatable to the majority of Australians due to his policy positions, forcing either a leadership spill or the former above-mentioned double dissolution.

    • Isn’t it a bit dopey to quote someone who can’t spell “pugilistic” when you want your views on the Gonski proposals to be favourably considered?

      I wish I could make a nice big bet with you: my past history based realism against your wishful thinking. Tony Abbott would not be my first choice of LNP leader (though I see flaws still in Abbott and Hockey, though he seems to be shaping up surprisingly well as a future Treasurer, just doesn’t fit my preferred image of a PM). But, just as Jeff Kennett confounded those, including some even in his shadow Cabinet, who thought he wouldn’t last, Abbott will show that he knows a thing or two about politics and winning elections which hardly graze the minds of most bloggers. And he is likely to prove a lot more disciplined that JGK. Also much less likely to spend too much time with opinionated but ignorant shonks like Ron Walker and Lloyd Williams. No doubt he will talk to George Pell but it is hard to see what practical consequence is likely to flow from that. Pell would be too worldly to urge Abbott to do anything which might be seriously bad politics.

      The Abbott majority is likely to be so large that losing the following election would be very difficult. Not pursuing the Gonski program? I suppose teachers’ unions would form the core of objectors to that. But there are more ways to improve the nation’s educational output than Gonski thought of or prescribed (just ask the states) and everyone can understand an argument about the need to go slow until finances are in order.

      Repeal of the carbon tax? There will only be a handful of votes in it one way or the other. The danger is that the Coalition may continue to take seriously the supposed need to spend big money on reducing Australia’s CO2 emissions when it isn’t going to do anything to or for Australia except make it poorer (OK less rich if one considers the whole world – and less able to help those who may be affected by AGW). The Chinese having brought the price of solar photovoltaic power down by almost 80 per cent gives some hope that the world won’t have to blight the landscape with inefficient and expensive wind power generators in the course of preparing for the distant post-hydrocarbon age but the only thing that will matter electorally in this connection for the Abbott government will be whether any money it wastes on pretending to do something significant about AGW will be so expensive that it causes fiscal pain.

      Double dissolutions? One will only be held when the hardheads calculate net benefit. Don’t count on it to be one of those rare occasions when a PM and his team didn’t know what they were doing. According to Christine Milne there is a good chance that the Abbott government will have control of the Senate as a result of the September 14th election. Maybe that is only the tactical pretence which is common when political leaders hope for a protest or other vote which doesn’t reflect real first preferences. However, she is right.

  18. […] demonstrated by Abbott’s lavish praise of Murdoch and and his neo-liberal ideology in his speech to the IPA last week, the links between Rupert Murdoch and Tony Abbott are strong. You have to wonder who is really in […]

  19. […] Cardinal George Pell and mining magnate Gina Rinehart were in attendance. And Tony Abbott himself gave the speech welcoming Murdoch to the occasion (Murdoch’s ‘class war’ speech is published […]

  20. […] come in threes, and this surreal threesome kicked off with Abbott’s ode to Murdoch and his IPA as freedom’s discerning friends and his yes, Sir nod to the IPA’s policy wish […]

  21. […] come in threes, and this surreal threesome kicked off with Abbott’s ode to Murdoch and his IPA as freedom’s discerning friends and his yes, Sir nod to the IPA’s policy wish […]

  22. The endless IR possibilities!

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