The Opera House Is Being Forced To Display Racing Ads After Alan Jones Had A Massive Sook

In case you forgot who really runs NSW.

Alan Jones Opera House Racing NSW controversy

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The NSW government has ordered the Sydney Opera House to display a racing promotion on the building’s iconic sails, after conservative broadcaster Alan Jones launched an extraordinary attack on Opera House CEO Louise Herron over the issue.

Racing NSW had applied to use projections on the side of the iconic building to promote the upcoming Everest Cup, only to be knocked back by Herron who believed the proposal would breach a policy against the commercialisation of the World Heritage landmark.

But when she defended this position on Jones’ radio program on Friday morning, the broadcaster began shouting at her and said she ought to be sacked.

“You don’t own the Opera House. We own it,” Jones told Herron. “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, delivering a tourism boom to Sydney … If I was [NSW Premier] Gladys Berejiklian I would pick up the phone and sack you today.”

Herron said they were willing to display the colours of the jockeys, but that they drew the line at projecting the names and numbers of the horses, or the Everest logo.

“It’s not a billboard,” she insisted.

“Louise I’m sorry I think you’re out of your depth here,” a furious Jones replied. “You should put your resignation on the table today.”

“You don’t run NSW, Louise,” he added. “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.”

The NSW Government has since intervened on the issue, directing the Opera House to display an image of the Everest Cup trophy, the horses numbers and the colours of the jockeys. According to the ABC, Berejiklian was “personally involved in negotiations”.

So yeah, it’s safe to say Herron doesn’t run NSW. Unfortunately, it looks like Alan Jones does.

The decision by the NSW government has been criticised in a number of quarters. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was “appalled” by the decision to use the Opera House to advertise “an industry notorious for damaging gambling and animal cruelty”. Meanwhile, a change.org petition calling for the promotional plans to be scrapped has earned more than 3,600 signatures in less than a day.