Media mogul Rupert Murdoch says Australia could become a world leader but needs to promote its identity, embrace multiculturalism and ensure every child is educated.
The News Corp executive chairman said he’d travelled a long way from his home in the United States to deliver a short and simple message to his native Australia.
“The 21st century is Australia’s for the taking,” he told the Lowy Institute event in Sydney on Thursday.
In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Murdoch said Australia was on the brink of becoming a “rare and valuable” presence in the world, and warned against calls to shun its national identity.
He said the egalitarian principle of a “fair shake for all” and a natural competitiveness put Australia at an advantage and ensured it would continue to punch above its weight.
Mr Murdoch said Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong aren’t blessed with natural resources but still carved out a competitive position in the world.
“Australia can and should do better than all of them,” he said, warning it was important people recognised that immigration and multiculturalism contributed to national growth.
He said Australia was on its way to becoming the world’s most diverse nation.
“This is an incredible competitive advantage,” he said.
He also pointed out that Australia could not become a true meritocracy if only some citizens could access a good education.
“In a world as competitive as ours, the child that does not get a decent education is condemned to the fringes of society,” he said.
“I think all Australians agree that this is intolerable.”
He said the United States rightly remained Australia’s main ally and that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was right in trying to open doors to Indonesia, but warned Australia against defining its place in the world by its alliances, trading partners or its government.
“We must be victors and not victims,” he said.