Rupert Murdoch is entitled to his views, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Tuesday, shrugging off attacks from Murdoch on Twitter and the magnate's Australian newspapers.
On Monday, Sydney News Corp tabloid the The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page editorial, with a thundering headline: ''Finally you now have the chance to KICK THIS MOB OUT''.
Murdoch followed with a message on Twitter: ''Oz politics! We all like ideal of NBN, especially perfect for Foxtel. But first how can it be financed in present situation?''
In The Sun-Herald on Sunday, Fairfax newspapers ran a comment piece by Paul Sheehan alleging News Corp had been engaged in repeated government attacks because it ''hates the government's national broadband network''.
''The company has formed a view that it poses a threat to the business model of by far its most important asset in Australia, the Foxtel cable TV monopoly it jointly owns with Telstra,'' Sheehan wrote.
Asked about his relationship with the newspaper giant, Mr Rudd laughed off suggestions of a vendetta.
''In terms of his views, and his determination to see Mr Abbott elected as Prime Minister, and his determination to see the end of myself, it's a free country,'' he said.
Two weeks ago, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson announced in New York that former New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allan would return to Australia to provide ''extra editorial leadership for our papers''. Allan was at work three days later, on Monday July 29.
Mr Rudd said Mr Murdoch would ''like to give us the old heave ho and get his mate Mr Abbott in … the bottom line is, it's for others to ask the question why Mr Murdoch really doesn't want the National Broadband Network to be connected to everyone's home and everyone's small business.
''Does he sense it represents a commercial challenge to Foxtel?''