In his farewell speech as prime minister last month Malcolm Turnbull pointed to ‘an insurgency’ in his own party and ‘outside forces in the media’ as the architects of his demise.
If there was any doubt at all who the media forces Turnbull was referring to during those final minutes in the prime mister’s courtyard in Canberra there is – after the events of the past 24 hours – none now.
In the case of Turnbull he believed his Liberal colleagues had been gripped by ‘a form of madness’ so the only way they could see to end the unrelenting internal turmoil and negative coverage in the media was to cave into it and replace him as leader.
Rudd equally believes the cacophony of negativity from News Corp undermined his first prime ministership – then that of successor Julia Gillard.
He has called for a ‘full-throated inquiry’ into News Corp and branded the company “a cancer on democracy”.
But the details that have emerged over the past 48 hours of the role the US-based Murdoch played during last month’s visit to his Australian assets raise serious questions about how Australian politics can be swayed by a concentrated media industry where News Corp dominates.
Turnbull certainly believes he was the target of a News Corp campaign.
When he narrowly fended off Peter Dutton in a party room spill on Tuesday 21 August – Turnbull phoned Murdoch to ask him why he was trying to replace him with the home affairs minister.