Murdoch row amid Australia poll campaign

Murdoch row amid Australia poll campaign

SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
Murdoch row amid Australia poll campaign

PM Rudd (R) is depicted as the Nazi TV character Col Klink. AFP photo

Kevin Rudd’s election rival Tony Abbott played down links to Rupert Murdoch yesterday as the mogul’s key tabloid depicted the Australian leader as bumbling Nazi TV character Colonel Klink.

Abbott spoke after Rudd went on national television late Aug. 7 to accuse his rival of conspiring with the Australian-born media magnate, who has made clear he wants Abbott’s conservative coalition to win national elections on Sept. 7. The tycoon’s Sydney Daily Telegraph also took aim at Rudd on Aug. 6, splashing with a picture of the prime minister under the headline “Kick This Mob Out.”

Rudd escalated the feud by suggesting Murdoch is using his newspapers to attack Labor because he sees the party’s multi-billion dollar plan for a National Broadband Network (NBN) as a threat to the business model of his part-owned Foxtel cable TV company.

Dour-faced Rudd

He accused his rival of colluding with the tycoon, who has said “through his own direct statements that he wants Mr. Abbott to replace me as prime minister.” The Telegraph depicted a dour-faced Rudd as Colonel Klink from the hugely popular 1960s comedy Hogan’s Heroes, wearing a Nazi uniform and a monocle.

 It accompanied a story about Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, dressed as Klink’s inept sidekick Sergeant Schultz, being caught drinking beer in a German-themed Sydney bar this week with disgraced former Labor MP Craig Thomson.

The Telegraph said it made a mockery of Labor’s campaign slogan “A New Way,” with Thomson, portrayed as wily American POW leader Col. Hogan, facing more than 100 fraud charges related to when he was Health Services Union general secretary between 2002 and 2007. Thomson, who denies the allegations, was suspended from Labor and is now standing as an independent.