A petition calling for a Royal Commission into Australia’s media diversity started by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been signed more times than any other e-petition in Australian history.
Today, the Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media e-petition reached more than 404,000 signatures, overtaking the the 2019 Declare a Climate Emergency petition.
The petition was launched earlier this month by Rudd, who said the Royal Commission should review the “abuse of media monopoly in Australia.”
In particular, Rudd called for an investigation into News Corporation, calling it an “arrogant cancer on democracy” because of its size, political leaning and willingness to campaign against specific policies such as the NBN.
Earlier today, Rudd celebrated the petition hitting the milestone for 400,000 signatures and encouraged Australians to keep signing to break the record.
Congratulations, Australia! 400,000 signatures.
The national record for an online petition is 404,538. Despite the Murdoch media's hostility, we can spread the word and smash through that barrier.
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) October 28, 2020
“The national record for an online petition is 404, 538. Despite the Murdoch media’s hostility, we can spread the word and smash through that barrier,” he tweeted.
Other big names have thrown their support behind the cause. Even Hugh Grant tweeted his support for the Royal Commission.
“Dear Australia, I think Kevin Rudd is doing a great thing here. I’d sign the petition if I could. Love from Hugh,” he tweeted.
Dear Australia, I think Kevin Rudd is doing a great thing here. I’d sign the petition if I could. Love from Hugh. https://t.co/DkddZZtpPl
— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) October 28, 2020
Shortly after launching, the Australian Parliamentary e-petition website crashed under the sudden traffic, with close to 100,000 people signing Kevin Rudd’s petition for a Royal Commission in the first 72 hours.
“A particular shoutout to all those folks who’ve been trying to register their names but have been blocked by the Parliament House IT system. It seems the Parliament House bots have regarded some of you as bots and have refused to allow you to sign,” Rudd said at the time.
Despite the large amount of support, the government has yet to comment on the Royal Commission. It is considered very unlikely that a Royal Commission will eventuate.
The petition is accepting signatures until 11.59 on 4 November 2020.