News Corp Australia has triggered a rare moment of unity in the fractious 2019 federal election. Representatives from the Liberals to the Greens, appearing on Monday night’s Q&A on the ABC, hopped into the media giant over its coverage of Bill Shorten and his speech referencing his mother’s life story.
Last week the Daily Telegraph criticised Shorten on its front page for what it said was a deliberate omission that she had become a barrister late in life. The Labor leader had spoken on Q&A about how his mother, Ann, had been thwarted in her early ambition to study law and instead took a teaching scholarship.
The Liberal’s campaign spokesman, Simon Birmingham, said the story “should not have been written and should not have been published”.
“Bill dealt with it,” he said. “Scott dealt with it. I think in terms of media commentary and the way the media runs, Australia’s a country with a free media, [people] are free to choose not to read a newspaper that they think is biased, just as they’re free not to watch a television program that they think is biased.”
But the Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, went a step further. “News Corp is a malignant influence on our democracy,” he said to applause.