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News Corporation editors told by Rupert Murdoch to 'kill Whitlam' in 1975

The Age article, Murdoch editors told to 'kill Whitlam' in 1975"(27/6/14), excerpts of which appear below, confirms my own recollection of the Whitlam years, as an early teen. Back then, I had naively regarded Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper as progressive and on the side of justice and truth. As I recall, the Australian and Bruce Petty, whose cartoons it published at the time, had opposed the Vietnam War and had supported Gough Whitlam and the Labor Party in 1972 and 1974. So I read the Australian almost every day and believed what I read.

Suddenly, some time after the 1974 mid-term election, the Australian's editor 'informed' me and other readers that supporting the Whitlam government had all been a "terrible mistake" on their part. He apologised and promised to rectify the mistake. I was disheartened, but continued to read the Australian and trust its judgement.

Day after day the tone against Whitlam and Labor grew louder, more high pitched and more hysterical.

Little did I realise that this sudden turnaround was a direct result of Rupert Murdoch instructing his editors to "kill Whitlam". The recently released secret US diplomatic document indicating that the then US government was aware of Murdoch's covert instruction to his staff when Australians had no idea of it is shocking (see Appendix). One cannot help but wonder whether this media subversion of our democracy was a component of the CIA's campaign to overthrow a government of which it disapproved, a campaign to which Christopher Boyce and others have attested. 1   2 

However, by the time of the October constitutional crisis with the help of more knowledgeable adults including my father, I had seen through the lies and had stopped reading and buying the Australian.

A feature of the campaign of destabilisation is that it included industrial action, by the ostensibly more left wing components of the Trade Union movement with the support of then ACTU President Bob Hawke. This is strikingly similar to the campaign of destabiliation from 1953 until 1964 against the government of the then British colony of British Guiana led by Dr Cheddi Jagan, which included an 80 day general strike against the government's budget, beginning in April 1963:

"The CIA arranged as it had on many similar occasions, for North American and Latin American labor organisations, with which it had close ties, to support the strikers with messages of solidarity and food, thus enhancing the appearance of a genuine labor struggle." 4 

The 'left-wing' ideological cover for this destabilisation of both the Jagan and Whitlam governments is the circular, supposedly Marxist, argument that every worker who works for a capitalist in a capitalist society is exploited because the employer pays the worker less than the full value of his work and keeps the 'surplus value'. As no financially viable business could not be extracting 'surplus value', then, by definition, every worker is exploited. If by ending 'exploitation' businesses can no longer operate, then socialism would surely be the consequence of capitalist economic collapse.

On Sunday 13 December, the day after Whitlam was defeated at the elections, I watched, in bewilderment, on the early evening television news Bob Hawke, then leader of the ACTU meeting talking cordially with Prime-Minister-elect, Malcolm Fraser and promising him the full cooperation of the trade union movement that was never given to Gough Whitlam. 5 

This cooperation set the stage for timidity in the trade union movement's opposition to the Fraser government and the emasculation of trade union power in 1980 when Malcolm Fraser amended Sections 45D and 45E of the Trades Practices Act. 6 

Appendix: Excerpts from Murdoch editors told to 'kill Whitlam' in 1975

From the Age, 27 June 2014 by Phillip Dorling

News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch directed his editors to "kill Whitlam" some 10 months before the downfall of Gough Whitlam's Labor government, according to a newly released United States diplomatic report.

The US National Archives has just declassified a secret diplomatic telegram dated January 20, 1975 that sheds new light on Murdoch's involvement in the tumultuous events of Australia's 1975 constitutional crisis.

Entitled "Australian publisher privately turns on Prime Minister," the telegram from US Consul-General in Melbourne, Robert Brand, reported to the State Department that "Rupert Murdoch has issued [a] confidential instruction to editors of newspapers he controls to 'Kill Whitlam'".


News Limited newspapers savaged Whitlam and strongly backed opposition leader Malcolm Fraser, so much so that journalists at The Australian took industrial action in protest (my emphasis).

The Labor Party was crushed at the polls and did not return to power until 1983.

Mr Fraser 3  acknowledged Murdoch's support but said the newspaper proprietor's political role is easily overstated given the collapse in public support for the scandal-ridden Whitlam government.

"Rupert had influential newspapers, certainly, but I don't think it affected the election outcome," Mr Fraser said.


News Corporation did not respond to questions about Mr Murdoch's role in the political events of 1975. ...


1. ↑ See On SBS Dateline: Christopher Boyce blows whistle on CIA corruption of Australian democracy, Labor Party and trade union movement (18/2/14) on, The Falcon Lands (18/2/14) on SBS.

2.  ↑  See "Australia - 1973-1975: Another free election bites the dust", Chapter 40 of "Killing Hope - U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II"(2004) by William Blum. This was previously published as "The CIA - a forgotten history" (1986) of which I have a copy. In the earlier edition that chapter is on pp278-284.

3.  ↑  With all due respect for former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who has courageously spoken up for the people of Syria, East Ukraine and Russia, including Crimea, against the bloody meddling of the United States and its allies, in 1975, Malcolm Fraser participated, perhaps unwittingly, in the CIA coup against Australia in 1975 and continues to defend his role in that episode as shown in the Age article cited above.

To see how Malcolm Fraser has supported the people of Syria, Russia and East Ukraine, please watch the interview by RT's Oksana Boyko, here on RT's Worlds Apart. This interview is also embedded in two articles on candobetter, Video: Malcolm Fraser says US and NATO wrong on Russia - interview by Oksana Boyko on Russia Today (7/8/14), with the full transcript included, and Oksana Boyko interviews former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (21/3/14) without the transcript.

4. See "British Guiana 1953-1964 The CIA's international mafia", Chapter 16 of "Killing Hope - U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II"(2004) by William Blum. In my 1986 edition the quoted text is from page 120.

Dr Cheddi Jagan's treatment by the otherwise laudable President John F. Kennedy (JFK), who on 22 November fell to bullets of an assassin hired by the CIA, does not seem to reflect well on JFK:

"[In September 1961], Jagan was received at the White House in Washington. He had come to talk abut assistance for his development programme. President Kennedy and his afvisers, however, were only interested in determining where Jagan stood on the plitical spectrum before granting any aid. oddly, the "interview", as described by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr who was present, seemed to be conducted as if Kennedy was totally unaware of American destabilisation activities in British Guiana.

"To Jagan's expressed esteem for the politics of British Labour leader Aneurin Bevan, those in the room 'all responded agreeably'.

"But, when Jagan, perhaps naively, mentioned his admiration for the scholarly, leftist journal, Monthly Review, he crossed an ideological line which silently and effectively sealed his country's fate.

"No economic aid was given to British Guiana, while Jagan remained in power, and the Kennedy administration pressured the British to delay graning the country independence, which had been scheduled to occur within the next year or two."

5. ↑  It was on Sunday 13 December 1975, the day after Gough Whitlam's defeat at the elections. On that day, when I was still a high-school student, I had worked in some of my spare time for my Uncle Arnold Sinnamon's exploratory drilling company Geoprobe. I was with my then foreman, the late Dick Nilon, having dinner at his home before television. Dick expressed his disgust with Bob Hawke for cosying up to Malcolm Fraser 3  so quickly after the tragedy we had witnessed.

6. ↑  The amended Sections 45D and 45E of the Trades Practices Act outlawed industrial action by one group of trade unionists in solidarity with another group. One disatrous consequnce was the defeat of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) in the Mudginberri dispute from 1983 until 1985.

In 1998, Prime Minister John Howard almost destroyed the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) when other unionists were legally prevented from taking action in support of employees of Patrick Stevedores who had been sacked and replaced by mercenary strikebreakers. Only a broad community campaign of solidarity and secondary boycotts by the New Zealand Seafarers' Union prevented defeat.

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The following was posted as a comment beneath the article UK COLUMN: US-UK-France’s Nonexistent Case on Syrian WMDs and More Murdoch Fake News (16/4/18) | 21st Century Wire:

Rupert Murdoch has a long history of subverting democracy and promoting military aggression. This began in Australia in 1974, when his formerly pro-Labor newspaper, the "Australian" suddenly turned on the government of Gough Whitlam. This, as much as the CIA meddling, as attributed to by Christopher Boyce (aka 'the Falcon') [1] -and documented by William Blum, helped destabilse Australia and bring down the Whitlam Government in the coup of 11 November 1975.

Back in 1974, as a young teenager, I looked to the Australian as an alternative left-of-center news source. When it suddenly turned on the Whitlam government, in the latter part of 1974, I, myself, was fooled. I was persuaded, for many months, that the Whitlam government, for all its good intentions, was incompetent and unfit to govern. (see [above story on this page]) I only saw through this lie not long before before 11 November 1975.

To help cover the overall disinformation from the Murdoch media, it does also, from time to time, include very informative reporting which appears to run counter to the narrative of the United States' warmongers. One example is its sympathetic reporting of Mother Agnes Mariam a Lebanese Carmelite nun and outspoken voice for Syria against the United States' proxy terrorists.


[1] See On SBS Dateline: Christopher Boyce blows whistle on CIA corruption of Australian democracy, Labor Party & trade union movement (17/4/14) and The Falcon Lands (18/2/14) | SBS.