The Murdoch media’s pursuit of Don Nardella, the former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, for the $100,000 he legally claimed through a loophole in the expenses parliamentarians are able to claim for living outside their electorate, highlights the utter hypocrisy of Murdoch’s media empire in Australia.
When Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Herald Sun, a man who has no hesitation in ensuring his editorial staff reflect his opinions in his publications, received an 882 million dollar cash payout in July 2013 for legally engineering a 2 billion tax loss in Australia in 2000-2001 while depositing a 2 billion dollar profit from its international operations in overseas tax havens, the response from his Australian media empire was non-existent. By transferring a few pieces of paper and unwinding a few paper transactions, they were able to claim a 600 million dollar tax refund on their Australian operations. The Federal Court of Australia in its wisdom added interest to the paper refund turning a paper shuffle into an 882 million dollar cash refund to News Corporation in July 2013.
When the former Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, was asked to comment on the 882 million dollar taxpayer funded windfall to Rupert Murdoch, he refused to comment. The Australian media, especially the Murdoch media, didn’t even think the biggest tax refund in Australian history worthy of mention. The only comments that were published were about what a smart business operator Murdoch was. Like most of his corporate mates who have assets in Australia paying tax in Australia today is a voluntary exercise.
What Don Nardella and Rupert Murdoch did may be immoral or unethical but it is totally legal. In Murdoch’s case he received a tax refund that would pay for the pensions of 45,000 Australians for a year, while in Nardella’s case his immoral and unethical behaviour would pay for the pensions of 4 Australians for a year.
The difference between Nardella and Murdoch is, he doesn’t own a media empire that can gild the lily about what has occurred. The unprecedented attacks on Don Nardella for what clearly is unacceptable but legal behaviour by a news organisation that is owned by a man who makes a religion of immoral and unethical behaviour, is the very height of hypocrisy. When the Murdoch media starts paying more than 1% tax on their profits then and only then will they have the right to claim the high moral ground.
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