Rupert Murdoch to Deliver Sydney Lecture in First Australia Trip Since Election

2012-29 REP Rupert Murdoch P

$224 million: That's what the Rupert Murdoch conglomerate spent during its fiscal year ending June 30, with the bulk of the money going toward legal fees, say insiders.

The visit Down Under comes just weeks after the mogul's papers helped sweep in a new government, giving him the chance to see how new News Corp Australia CEO Julian Clarke is faring.

SYDNEY -- News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch will deliver the 10th anniversary lecture at public policy think tank the Lowy Institute when he makes his annual trip to Australia in October.

At Sydney’s Town Hall on Oct. 31, Murdoch will deliver the lecture at the black-tie dinner at which “a prominent individual reflects on Australia’s role in the world and the world’s influence on Australia,” according to a Lowy Institute announcement.

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A spokesman for the institute said that “one of the ambitions of the Lowy Institute is to amplify Australian voices on the world stage. And no Australian businessman has had more success on that stage than Rupert Murdoch.”

It will be Murdoch’s first public appearance Down Under since the bruising federal election campaign, during which News Corp’s local tabloids undertook the most sustained criticism of a sitting prime minister and government here in nearly 40 years, with headlines like “Kick This Mob Out.”

Murdoch’s preferred candidate, Tony Abbott, and his conservative coalition were swept into power on Sept. 7.

The trip will also give Murdoch the opportunity to see how News Corp Australia is faring under the stewardship of new CEO Julian Clarke. Clarke, a former managing director of News’ Melbourne-based publishing unit, The Herald and Weekly Times, was pulled out of retirement by Murdoch last month and named as the replacement for Kim Williams, who resigned in early August after 18 months on the job.

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It was widely reported at the time that Williams had lost the confidence of News Corp Australia’s major editors as he undertook a wide-ranging restructure of News' local publishing assets, cut costs and moved the papers' focus away from the print product and toward subscription-based digital products of its mastheads.

He resigned, not long after New York Post editor Col Allan returned to Australia to provide additional editorial direction to its papers.

Clarke’s appointment as CEO of News Corp Australia, has been widely praised. News Corp broadsheet The Australian said that “if ever there was a man for whom the term 'ink in his veins' was coined, Clarke is it,” while Murdoch himself said Clarke had the "immense energy and clarity of vision necessary to drive our properties forward at this very challenging time for all media in all countries."

Clarke is currently undertaking a strategic review of News Corp Australia.