It’s a week long saga which has touched the NSW government, prominent Australian radio hosts, over 1,000 angry protesters and the newly appointed Prime Minister and it revolves around arguably Australia’s greatest icons.
The debate has been fierce about whether or not the iconic sails of the great Sydney Opera House should be sold for advertising space.
Last night, more than 1,000 protesters descended upon Circular Quay circular quay armed with lights and torches to try and disrupt the advertising of The Everest, the world’s richest turf race. They were successful in their bid to hinder the promotion as race promoters abandoned their plan to release the Everest barrier draw.
It’s drawn the ire of the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, who has asked naysayers to have more perspective and respective, arguing funds made from the advertising could be used at a state level towards education, road infrastructure and health.
Alan Jones raged at Opera House chief Louise Herron late last week, calling for her sacking because she opposed the public advertising. He subsequently apologised for the strength of the language he used in that interview.
The Prime Minister couldn’t ‘work out what all the fuss was about’ stating that NSW Racing should be able to access ‘the biggest billboard Sydney has’.
Australian’s should cherish their national treasures. The MCG, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and even icons at local level such as Lucky Bay and the Esperance Jetty are to be shared by everyone. They should not be available for advertising, or for people to overtly use their popularity for financial gain.
When tourists come to our country, and the government are striving to attract overseas guests by the millions, they want to come see the great Australian natural and man-made landmarks in their purist form, untouched and as their makers intended them to be. They don’t want to come to the country to see a big ‘billboard’. These sacred Aussie icons should be treated thusly, and celebrated together, not used to promote a business, event or organisation that intends to make money off their defilement or investment, depending on who is looking.
This move by the NSW sets an ugly precedent. There is a reason the MCG isn’t the Melbourne Coca Cola Cricket Ground, and why there aren’t REX banners along the edges of the Esperance Jetty (notwithstanding the sorry state it’s in already!). There is a public standard, as demonstrated by the breadth of protesters at Circular Quay last night, and that standard holds our national and local treasures as sacred, and landmarks that shouldn’t be corrupted.
Sean covered the contentious issue on the Wednesday Break Show, and if you missed out you can listen to it below.