Murdoch: Bludging Australia risks missing golden age

AUSTRALIA risked becoming a nation of bludgers and needed to “shake-off” its complacency, the Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, said last night in the landmark Boyer Lectures, hosted by the country’s national broadcaster, the ABC.

The head of the world’s biggest media company, Australian-born Mr Murdoch said his homeland risked missing a “golden age” of prosperity and freedom unless it reformed radically to truly embrace free markets.
Reforms of the education system – a topic on which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd focused at the recent PANPA08 conference – were needed, Mr Murdoch said.

We have a 21st century economy with a 19th century education system. That is an injustice to these citizens and it puts a burden on Australian society,” he said.

Attitudes to immigration and a dependency on government subsidies had to change, he said. “The country I see before me is simply not prepared for the challenges ahead,” Mr Murdoch said. “Australia will not succeed in the future if it aims to be just a bit better than average.

“We need to revive the sense of Australia as a frontier country and to cultivate Australia as a great centre of excellence. I fear many Australians will learn the hard way what it means to be unprepared for the challenges that a global economy can bring.”

Mr Murdoch gave a wide-ranging speech in which he encouraged Australia’s membership of Nato, urged for greater efforts for reconciliation with indigenous peoples and encouraged the country to become a republic at the next opportunity.

While critical, Mr Murdoch remained optimistic for his homeland. “We alone must define our future. An independent Australia will have no excuses for failure because the mistakes will be all our own. But I have few doubts we will prosper, because I have much confidence in this country and its people.”


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