1 Sep 2015

Aust minister accuses Fairfax anti-Govt 'jihad'

8:53 pm on 1 September 2015

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has lashed out at Fairfax Media for leading what he calls a "jihad" against the Government.

Fairfax Media newspapers composition

Some of Fairfax's New Zealand titles. Photo: RNZ

Mr Dutton has complained about Fairfax publishing stories on divisions in senior ranks and said he had a "fair idea" which ministers were leaking, although he refused to name them.

Mr Dutton said there was a "huge move by Fairfax at the moment to try and bring the Government down".

"I think regardless of what Tony Abbott does, Fairfax will say it's bad," he told the ABC's AM program.

Mr Dutton accused some journalists of overstepping their responsibilities, adding Fairfax was "being helped by the ABC".

"They aren't supposed to be political players, they're supposed to be objective reporters of the news and I think many of them have morphed into frustrated politicians," he said.

Mr Dutton stepped up his criticism on Sky Television: "The reality is that there is a bit of a jihad being conducted by Fairfax at the moment, [it's] hard to get a good story up in Fairfax, [they're] publishing stories without checking with my office, stories that are factually incorrect."

Mr Dutton's attack on Fairfax echoes complaints about News Limited's political coverage from Julia Gillard when she was prime minister.

Then-communications minister Stephen Conroy once accused the Rupert Murdoch-owned stable of trying to bring about "regime change".

Fairfax journalists have been the recipients of several damaging leaks from Mr Abbott's Cabinet over recent months.

Coalition sources have also regularly vented complaints about the Government's performance to the ABC.