Sydney: Australia`s influential Greens
party on Saturday called for a government inquiry into the local
operations of Rupert Murdoch`s News Corp following the scandal
which saw News of the World axed.
Murdoch`s global News International empire had its
humble beginnings in Australia and its local arm, News
Limited, has a virtual monopoly on the newspaper market, along
with significant television and other assets.
Greens leader Bob Brown lodged a notice in parliament
late Thursday that he intended to call for an official inquiry
into News Limited to satisfy the Australian public that its
work practices did not echo those used in London.
When parliament resumes in mid-August following the
winter recess, Brown said he would urge the communications
minister to order a review of Murdoch`s Australian group.
"The operations here come under the umbrella of News
International and we`ve got greater newspaper ownership
concentration than any other country, with eight of the
(nation`s) 12 metropolitan dailies owned by Rupert Murdoch,"
"It`s important that we establish beyond statements of
News International itself that the methods that have been used
and have outraged the world at News of the World haven`t been
and won`t be part of newsgathering in Australia."
News Limited has distanced itself from the phone
hacking scandal, which centres on claims the
soon-to-be-defunct News of the World, Britain`s
biggest-selling Sunday paper, hacked the voicemails of a
murdered girl and the families of dead soldiers.
John Hartigan, News Ltd`s chief, issued a statement
Friday strongly condemning the alleged hacking and expressing
his confidence that "the practices that have been uncovered in
the UK do not exist in Australia."
But Brown said management assurances were not enough,
given the enormity of the scandal, and it was important "for
the media itself that the air is cleared" so the public could
be assured such methods had no future here.