The trouble with a dramatisation of Rupert Murdoch’s life is the current, real-world drama is going to be infinitely more entertaining.

Crikey was there for the star-studded (at least for Melbourne media circles) world premiere last night of Rupert, the new David Williamson-penned theatrical biography on the world’s most powerful Australian; read Matthew Knott’s chat with Williamson and the first review of the show on Curtain Call.

But as fictional Rupert declared last night: “I’m not finished yet.” Imagine, for a moment, a Tony Abbott prime ministership. And then get used to it. All those screaming front pages on the evils of the Labor Party, all those election endorsements for the Coalition, won’t come cheap. As Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer write today, the IOU list will be long:

“… with that will come expectations: expectations that Abbott will deliver for the company that helped him into the Lodge. For a company mired in red ink, with mastheads like The Australian losing tens of millions of dollars a year, those expectations may be great indeed.”

Anti-siphoning rules relaxed? More free-to-air TV handouts? More government recruitment ads on Murdoch pages? Curbs on the scope of the ABC? Murdoch will lobby hard. And Abbott may well think he owes him.

Williamson, if nothing else, nails the key to Murdoch’s success across the world: cosying up to the pollies that will return the biggest favours. Abbott could prove very lucrative indeed.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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