The sails of the Sydney Opera House were being used as a billboard for a horse race a few days ago. Regardless of the value of the horse race, or the ethics about using a UNESCO listed landmark for promotion of gambling, there is a problem about the way it was done.
According to The Guardian,
Racing NSW applied to the Opera House to use it as a venue to promote a horse race on Saturday 13 October, but Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron drew the line at projecting horses’ names, the name of the race and the numbers of the barriers onto the Opera House sails.
Then Alan Jones interviewed Louise Herron. A couple of weeks after Jones, and by association his employers, had been found guilty of defaming the owners of a quarry in South East Queensland and ordered to pay $3.7 million, clearly he hasn’t yet learnt that his opinion is not necessarily fact, and bluster doesn’t change the facts. Jones
was furious and took up the case for Racing NSW on his program. “Louise I’m sorry I think you’re out of your depth here,” he said. “You should put your resignation on the table today … if you can’t come to the party, Louise, you should lose your job.”
Jones also threatened to ring NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and demand Louise Herron be sacked. Berejiklian hasn’t sacked Herron but has overruled her decision to only allow horses’ colours to be displayed on the world-famous sails. Jones was reported as haranguing Herron by suggesting
who the hell do you think you are, you don’t own the Opera House, we own it … you manage it,” Jones said.
To that extent Jones is correct, Herron doesn’t own the Opera House. However, the NSW Government pays Herron to manage the facility on behalf of its owners — all those who live in NSW. So, by the same token Jones, the management of the Daily Telegraphor Berejiklian don’t ‘own’ it either.
All this happened on Friday 5 October and media reports the following Tuesday suggested that over 270,000 had ‘signed’ online petitions asking the NSW Government to reverse their decision. Accordingly it would be reasonable to suggest that a large group of the Opera House’s owners are aghast at the gambling promotion pushed by Jones and News Corp (with support from NSW Premier Berejiklian) being projected onto the building.
On Tuesday night about 1,000 people shone torches to dilute the projection and peacefully protested the use of the Opera House for the promotion of gambling. Racing NSW and the Premier claim they have heard the message ‘loudy’ and the stunt won’t be repeated. Waleed Aly also ‘went to town’ on the crass commercialisation of the Opera House by vested interests, including the two major political parties .
There is a significant cost to gambling across Australia. Tim Costello, a director of Alliance for Gambling Reform, detailed some of them in an opinion piece published in The Guardian. While Jones has given an half-hearted apology four days after the event for his bullying of Louise Herron, it still demonstrates that Jones and Berejiklian persist with accepting the cash over the ethics, and still steamroll those with alternative viewpoints.
Sadly, we should not have expected better. Also demonstrating an alternative world view of acceptable is the LNP’s Stuart Roberts. Roberts, Morrison’s choice for Assistant Treasurer and former ICT Executive, has been charging the Australian taxpayer (that’s you and me) over $1,000 a month for his 4G Internet connection since 2016. As the linked article reports, Roberts lives in a ‘semi-rural’ area behind the Gold Coast and the NBN has yet to reach his home. The article also reports that
Roberts told Fairfax Media he racked up a high bill [over $2,000] in May because he used 300 gigabytes of data, so had to pay for extra after exceeding his 50GB limit.
Optus currently offers unlimited 4G broadband for $90 a month, while Exetel offers 250GB a month for just $70.
Now it has become ‘an issue’, Roberts is apparently going to pay it back, despite claiming he had done nothing wrong. Those in his electorate that rely on Newstart are receiving not much more than $1,000 a month to live on.
Matthew Lesh, a research fellow with The Institute of Public Affairs has recently released a book suggesting that the major parties have a lot of difficulty in being relevant to those that live in the inner and outer suburbs of Australia’s major cities. Lesh suggests the politicians are aligning themselves too closely with the ‘inners’ and leaving the ‘outers’ to splinter groups such as Katter, Palmer and Hanson. Then, when the splinter groups can’t achieve what they promise (because they don’t get enough seats in parliaments across the country), people living in outer suburbs then get frustrated and disengage with the process.
There could be something to Lesh’s theory. In the electorate of Warringah, former PM Abbott has been the elected Member of Parliament for a considerable period of time. A group of people who live in the electorate, rather than disengaging, have a plan to crowbar Abbott from the seat at the next election by following the process used by Cathy McGowan’s supporters when they removed Sophie Mirabella from the seat of Indi in country Victoria. The President of WoW (Women of Warringah)
Louise Hislop, told Guardian Australia the group was created after Abbott’s refusal to engage on issues considered important to constituents, including climate change, plastics pollution, traffic issues, same-sex marriage and mental health services
Warringah, despite Abbott’s public posturing, recorded 75% support for the same sex marriage vote and it seems there is considerable community disquiet about Abbott’s role in the destruction of the Turnbull Government. Abbott’s schtick however does go down well in areas that support the Katters, Hansons and so on of this world.
If Lesh is correct, Jones, Berejiklian, Roberts and Abbott are all sailing into irrelevance as they clearly are not representing significant sections of their communities. Why do these people believe they don’t need to consider the views of others? It must be because those on the right are prettier and more confident!
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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