(Bloomberg) -- Rupert Murdoch’s retirement from the top of Fox Corp. and News Corp. attracted a mixed response from political leaders in his home country of Australia, where he still owns a vast swathe of the local media and maintains significant political power.
Jim Chalmers, treasurer in the center-left Labor government, said Murdoch was “controversial” and “one of the defining figures of the global media landscape for some decades now.”
“In some ways an end of an era at News and there will be mixed views, often strongly held, about his contribution,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation Friday.
Read More: Rupert Murdoch Leaves Future of Media Empire to His Son, Lachlan
Australia-born Murdoch started an international media empire with a single newspaper in the southern city of Adelaide. He became a US citizen in 1985 but has maintained a keen interest in Australian politics, along with ownership of more than 50% of the country’s newspapers.
Murdoch has in Australia “been courted by, and has in turn, shaped prime ministers and their agendas,” said Shane Homan, head of Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism.
“No one approaches Rupert Murdoch’s level in terms of the scale and historical impact on the media industries,” he added.
Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky News Murdoch is “arguably the most significant Australian businessman of our nation’s history.”
Still, former center-right Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Murdoch had “done enormous damage to the democratic world, and in particular to the United States.”
“Would Brexit have occurred without Murdoch support? I very much doubt it. Trump would never have been president without the platform that Fox News created. So it’s a hell of a legacy, I have to say,” Turnbull told the ABC. Murdoch was likely to continue to wield significant power in both organizations, he said.
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