The never-ending shitstorm that is Australian politics in 2018 burns ever brighter in this week’s latest events: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has given the go ahead to advertise The Everest Cup horse race on the sails of the Sydney Opera House at the request of 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones.
We’ll bring you up to speed with what happened in case you missed it. Racing NSW applied to project advertisements for said horse race, and SOH CEO Louise Herron knocked it back on the reasonable grounds that it might cause the iconic architectural marvel to lose its world heritage status.
Alan Jones wasn’t too happy about this, and explicitly said Herron should literally lose her job. Perfectly sane.
“You don’t own the Opera House. We own it,” Jones told Herron when she appeared on his radio show Friday morning. “You don’t have the right to fence it off.”
“You manage it. And if you can’t give the go-ahead for this to happen, to an event that’s providing $100 million to the economy…If I was Gladys Berejiklian I would pick up the phone and sack you today.”
“You should put your resignation on the table today…I will be speaking to Gladys Berejiklian in about three minutes, and if you can’t come to the party, Louise, you should lose your job.”
Herron tried to compromise and say that she’s happy to project colours on to the sails of the building, but not numbers, names or logos.
Naturally, as seems to be the case with Jones, his comments pissed a whole lot of people off but not the NSW Premier, who ultimately has executive power over this decision and gave it the go ahead.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore is one of those pissed off people, and has encouraged the public to write to the Premier to “voice their disgust” at what she describes as “blatant commercialisation.”
And that the public has done. On Change.org alone, two petitions, which you can sign here and here, have popped up to defend the building from advertising, amassing around 40,000 signatures already between them.
“Let’s remind Alan that the Opera House truly does belong to everyone, by supporting Louise Herron’s staunch defence of one of our City and Country’s few instantly recognisable heritage landmarks,” writes Mike Woodcock, creator of one of the petitions.
For what it’s worth, Sydney Morning Herald reports that two of Alan Jones’ business partners have contenders in the Everest Cup, worth $10 million. Make of that what you will.