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Murdoch calls for Australian elections

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IOL pic apr27 rupert murdoch

Reuters

(File image) Rupert Murdoch

Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch on Saturday said there was a “desperate” need for elections in his home country following a sexual harassment scandal that rocked parliament this week.

News Corp. chairman Murdoch, who this week admitted a cover-up over phone hacking at his now-defunct British tabloid News of the World but downplayed his political influence at a London inquiry, said Australia needed change.

“Dramatic, slimy events in Australian politics,” Murdoch, 81, wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

“Country desperately needs election to get fresh start.”

Australia's parliament was this week hit by sexual harassment allegations against the speaker, Peter Slipper, who was elevated to the top lower house job by the ruling Labor party in a bid to shore up its fragile hold on power.

Slipper, married and an ordained Anglican priest, stood aside from his role on Sunday after allegations he harassed former aide James Ashby, 33, with explicit text messages, unwanted advances and inappropriate comments.

Labor failed to win an overall majority in the 2010 elections and, with the loss of Slipper, has a voting majority of just one seat.

The next elections are not due until 2013.

Murdoch is the dominant player in Australia's media market, with vast holdings including 70 percent of the nation's newspapers, and Labor ministers have accused his titles of openly campaigning against the government. - Sapa-AFP


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