Politician: Australians Should Support 'Hometown Hero' Rupert Murdoch
LONDON – Conservative Australian politician Tony Abbott, who is likely to become the country's next prime minister following an election on Saturday, on Friday lauded News Corp and 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch.
In one of his clearest endorsements of the media mogul, whose papers have supported him over current Labour Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Abbott called Murdoch a hometown hero.
"Aussies should support our hometown heroes; that's what I think -- in his own way -- Rupert Murdoch is," Abbott said in a radio interview, The Guardian reported.
Asked about Murdoch, he also said: "I've got a lot of time for Rupert Murdoch, because whether you like his papers or don't like his papers, he's one of the most influential Australians of all time." Murdoch was born in Australia, but now has U.S. citizenship.
News Corp's Australian papers have criticized Rudd since the first day of the election campaign. Its Sydney Daily Telegraph ran a picture of the current prime minister on its front page with the headline: "Kick This Mob Out!"
Critics have spoken out about the role Murdoch's papers have played in the campaign.
Abbott, however, earlier in the week, said there was no need to worry that if he wins the election, he would owe the media mogul anything. "Absolutely not, absolutely not," he said in a TV interview.