Australia ill-prepped for impending challenges: Murdoch

Delivering the first of his six Boyer Lectures in Sydney, CEO of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, said Australia was ill-prepared for the challenges ahead. 

“I fear that many Australians will learn the hard way what it means to be unprepared for the challenges that a global economy can bring.

“While Australia generally does well in international rankings, those rankings can blind us to a larger truth: Australia will not succeed in the future if it aims to be just a bit better than average,” Mr Murdoch said.

He said to survive in the spiralling global economic environment, Australia should opt for a more proactive approach towards social and economic developments.

“We need to revive the sense of Australia as a frontier country. Today the frontier that needs sorting is the wider world, and complacency is our chief enemy,” he said. 

He said guarding against complacency and dependency on government would enable Australia to maximise advantages of being an open, democratic and multi-racial society.

Warning against government hand-outs, he pointed out the proportion of the working aged population on income support rose from 15 to 20 per cent over the last two decade despite a substantial increase in real incomes.

“We must avoid institutionalising idleness. The bludger should not be our national icon.

“That means ending subsidies for people who do well,” he said.

He also called for education reforms to guarantee equal opportunity for all Australian children, including Indigenous Australians.

“We have a 21st century economy with a 19th century education system, and it is leaving too many children behind.

“Australia’s system of public education can never be called a success until Aboriginal Australians benefit from it as much as any other citizens,” he said.

Mr Murdoch added Australia should remain open to immigration to be a model for the emerging democracies, and climate change was another area where the nation needed to lead rather than follow.

His lecture series titled A golden age of freedom will continue next week.

The audio file of the lecture is available here.

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