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Murdoch and Abbott damaging Australia's democracy, says former PM

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Kevin Rudd has pilloried Tony Abbott as a toxic influence on the national political landscape who doesn’t care a whit about policy.

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The extraordinary spray by one former prime minister against another was made in an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald today in the wake of last week’s Liberal leadership crisis in Canberra.

“Abbott has never cared about policy. He has only cared about politics and winning at any cost. I cannot remember a single positive policy initiative that Abbott has championed and then implemented,” Rudd said.

“The entire energies of this giant wrecking ball of Australian policies has been focused on destroying his opponents within the Labor party and the Liberal party”.

Rudd also took aim at News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch and his impact on Australian democracy.

“Murdoch is not just a news organisation,” Rudd writes. “Murdoch operates as a political party, acting in pursuit of clearly defined commercial interests, in addition to his far-right ideological world view.”

He said Murdoch’s control of two-third of Australia’s print media was a position unmatched in any other democratic country.

“While centre-left readers say Murdoch’s influence is overrated because people refuse to read his papers, or because social media now dilutes his power, we should be careful about such judgements. Because the electronic media is so denuded of journalists these days, Murdoch’s print media has a disproportionate impact on setting the day’s overall agenda. The electronics often just ‘rip and read’ what Murdoch has put on the front page.”

Both Rudd and Abbott were ousted as prime minister by their parties before they had finished their first terms. Rudd was ejected by Julia Gillard and Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull.

Abbott was last week accused of being a “wrecker” by fellow Liberal MPs for laying the groundwork for the sudden and successful move by the party’s conservative wing against Turnbull.

Abbott had backed fellow conservative Peter Dutton who lost his chance at the top job when he was overtaken by Scott Morrison, who was sworn in as prime minister on Friday.

– with AAP

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