a singular arrogance ....
The News Corp chairman decried a "self-defeating" immigration debate in the United States and pointed to opportunity for Australia in embracing diversity and opening the doors to all comers – provided cultural relativism was resisted and the newcomers were willing to "abide by our way of life".
The positive intervention on immigration was a significant theme of a lecture the media mogul delivered at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on Thursday evening.
"We think of the United States as an immigrant nation, and rightly so," Murdoch told his audience in Sydney.
"But the percentage of foreign-born in the United States, a country currently racked by a self-defeating debate over immigration policy, is just about 12%. Incredibly, Australia is double that," he said.
"That means Australia is on the way to becoming what may be the world's most diverse nation. This is an incredible competitive advantage.
"A nation as small as ours will increasingly depend on trade. And the more people we have with ties to other parts of the world, the greater our advantage when we seek trade relationships with these nations."
Murdoch declared the 21st century "Australia's for the taking" – and contended Australia must be an economy that thrives on disruption. He talked about significant structural adjustments within his own publishing business, including the relentless rise of mobile communications, replacing the old ways of print newspapers and the distribution of news products.
Reality, once embraced, could be made rewarding, Murdoch reasoned.
"It means we are always forced to think outside the box," he said.
"The disruptive forces and the world economy today are as relentless as they are remorseless. Once we embrace that reality, we can make sure they are rewarding."
The lecture was strong on the Murdoch anti-elitist ethos. He suggested Australia had come a way to moving past the "stuffy narrow-minded elitism" of old, and had thrown off the "faux class war that has been served by contemporary politicians grasping for a theme" – a reference to the previous Labor government.
Proof of evolution beyond Australia's "primeval prejudices" stemming back to our colonial origins was the rise of Catholics in the Liberal party, with the prime minister,
Tony Abbott, "part of the proof".
"The heart of Australia today is our belief in a fair shake for all," Murdoch said.
"No man or woman is above any other. We applaud achievement and innovation."
People prepared to exploit their talents and strive for success were the "essence of an egalitarian meritocracy". Australia, he said, was on the cusp of becoming just that, "with more than a touch of libertarianism" – qualities which were "rare and valuable in this new world".
Murdoch championed a free press, lawyers who did not interfere, and strong private institutions – and talked up the virtues of trade, technology and free markets.
He endorsed the Abbott government's focus on Jakarta in terms of foreign policy, while insisting America remained Australia's most important ally.
Murdoch argued for a good relationship with China even as "[we] guard ourselves against a possible economic contraction there".
But he said Australia had to be ambitious at a time of great global transformation, including the rise of the middle class in our region. And Australia had to realise it was people who defined the future, not governments or allies.
"Let's stop thinking about Australia's place in the world as defined by its alliances, by its trading partners, by its government," Murdoch said.
"We will fight regulations that hamper growth and economic development. But it is the Australian people who will, collectively define this nation's destiny.
"We must be leaders, not followers. We must be egalitarian, not elitist. We must be victors and not victims. It won't be easy but the Australia that I know and love has never shied from a challenge."