Joe Hockey, in his new biography, states that the Australian PM, Tony Abbott, informed US citizen Rupert Murdoch about his paid parental leave policy before he told him: the Federal Treasurer- So it is perfectly natural to ask the question: Who’s running Australia? In fact Tony Abbott briefed Rupert Murdoch on paid parental leave before he briefed his party room
“The book says Mr Abbott, a former Murdoch employee and then the new leader of the Liberal Party, “like many before him, had dinner with Murdoch, where he gave the media mogul a full rundown on the scheme – supplying enough detail for Murdoch to later have his Australian-based editors briefed on Abbott’s plan, which [Murdoch] considered a visionary approach to dealing with a real problem in his workforce”.
“They were encouraged to support it, notwithstanding that it represented a tax impost and was skewed to be of most benefit to parents outside their middle-Australian readership,” the book says.
“This fact was unknown to members in the party room, who condemned Abbott’s solo policy making on such a fundamental issue.”
What other policy issues concerning mothers and their babies did the two men discuss?
For instance: Did Murdoch’s advise Australia on his UK pro adoption policy?
Did Murdoch brief Abbott on his pro adoption scheme in the UK or did Abbott brief Murdoch on his intention to make adoption “easier and cheaper” to suit the needs of his wealthy and famous friends such as Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness? – or was there a meeting of minds on how to deal with “parents that were not effective” (code for poor or welfare dependent)?
In my thesis, Chapter 2, I briefly outlined the 3 month pro adoption campaign that Rupert Murdoch ran in his British paper: The Times in 2011, In which there was an entire edition devoted to promoting adoption, authored by the former CEO of Barnardos, Martin Narey. Narey is the Uncle of several adopted persons. Narey went on to gain a position advising the UK government on adoption policy and became known as the Adoption Czar.
Following in the brief extract of Murdoch’s influence on the UK’s adoption policy – the parallels between the campaign here and the UK are striking – it is as if there is a guiding hand on welfare reduction and adoption promotion in the US, UK and Australia. Even to the terms being used to describe welfare. In Australia Joe Hockey, Abbott and other leading Liberals, have reduced Australia’s welfare safety net to the derogatory slogan: The Age of Entitlement. In the US, Fox News and Murdoch’s media empire have run a strident campaign against welfare recipients under the banner that the US has become the: Entitlement Nation. Murdoch’s papers both here and in the US have ran campaigns attacking welfare recipients as “leaners” and “takers”. Murdoch’s papers even investigated into food stamp recipients to determine on what foods they were “wasting tax payers money”. Just like Hockey stated here that struggling single parents could afford to pay the $7 co medicare payment if they forego a packet of “ciggies or a stubbie”. So vitriolic was the attack by Fox News on the poor, in particular food stamp recipients, that the Daily’s Show’s, Jon Stewart, political commentator and satirist asked: “Why does Fox hate the poor so much”?
Stolen babies – broken hearts : forced adoption in Australia 1881-1987, Vol 1 p. 85
“In Britain, Rupert Murdoch’s The Times newspaper commissioned Martin Narey to write a report on how to reform the adoption system (Narey: 2011, The Times, July 5, p. 2). Specifically to report on why numbers of adoptions had fallen and what measures needed to be implemented to raise them (Narey: 2011, The Independent, July 31). Narey was already a proponent of adoption having five adopted nephews and nieces: “Who made my brothers, their fathers, very proud” and because of whom he knew “how successful adoption” was (The Times: 2011, July 5, pp. 2-3). Clare Sambrook, British investigative journalist, was suspicious of the Narey, Murdoch, Times connection stating:
‘Breathtaking collusion between ministers, special advisers and Rupert Murdoch’s lieutenants is being dragged into the light by the Levenson Inquiry. Where else is policy being created by cabal? … This prompted me to reflect on the curious way in which last summer a Blueprint for adoption reform emerged from Murdoch’s Wapping news factory’
Two days after the Report was published Narey was given a two year appointment as Ministerial advisor on adoption (Sambrook: 2012, May 26). His brief, to make “a much more user-friendly and effective adoption system” (Tim Loughton cited in Sambrook: 2012, May 26).
Narey identified three reasons for the drop in the number of adoptions. 1. Misconceptions about attachment theory, the importance of the mother and child bond; 2. The belief that what is best for the child must be balanced with the parents’ human rights; and 3. The belief that placing children in care placed them at risk. So Narey wrote the Blueprint for overhauling the adoption system with the primary intent of overcoming these 3 obstacles and bringing adoption “back into fashion” (Narey: 2011, The Independent, July 31).
The Times had been running a three month campaign to reform adoption (a euphemism for making it easier for couples to adopt) before it commissioned Narey to write what it called “Our blueprint for Britain’s lost children”. The Times revealed its true agenda, at the beginning of Narey’s Report when it posed the question: ‘Why is it … the number of parents wanting to adopt is growing, the number of successful adoptions is falling’. The answer was found – rather than assist vulnerable families to stay intact the strategy was to increase the number of infants in the care system and then make it easy for them to be adopted. Narey states this is now known as ‘Fostering for Adoption’ (Narey: 2013, The Guardian Social Care Network, Feb 13).
It is all about reducing welfare and once again punishing the poor by taking their children and giving them to the more “deserving” or to use Abbott’s term: ‘More effective parents’. Or rather those not on welfare!