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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A Petition to Stop the Promotion of a Horse Race on the Sydney Opera House Has Hit 250,000

At this stage, the Everest horse race projection will still go ahead tonight, but a light-based protest has been organised.
By Samantha Teague
October 09, 2018
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A Petition to Stop the Promotion of a Horse Race on the Sydney Opera House Has Hit 250,000

At this stage, the Everest horse race projection will still go ahead tonight, but a light-based protest has been organised.
By Samantha Teague
October 09, 2018
  shares

A quarter-million people have signed a petition calling for the NSW Government to reverse its decision to allow a horse race to be advertised on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the arts institution that its sails must be lit up with colours, numbers and a trophy to promote the upcoming $13 million Everest horse race — the world's richest race on turf — after a controversial 2BG radio interview between Opera House CEO Louise Herron, Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys and radio presenter Alan Jones.

During the interview, Herron rejected plans to use the World Heritage-listed building to promote the race, saying "it's not a billboard". While she had agreed to V'landys' request of projecting jockeys' colours on the sales, Herron said they would not "put text or videos of horses running or horses' numbers of names or the Everest logo on the Opera House".

Jones responded by calling for Herron's resignation, saying that he could be "speaking to Gladys Berejiklian". While Herron did not lose her job, her decision to not project the Everest advertising was overturned by Ms Berejiklian later that day.

Concerns have been raised by both Herron and the National Trust that this decision could be in breach of the Heritage Act, and could possibly jeopardise the iconic building's heritage status. It also sets a dangerous precedent for other brands to pay — or pressure the government into allowing — advertising on the Opera House.

This morning, Ms Berejiklian did not show up to accept the Change.org petition after being invited to do so by Change.org Executive Director Sally Rugg and Mike Woodcock, who started the petition. Instead the petition was accepted by NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong, who said she would deliver it to Ms Berejiklian.

At this stage, the promotional light projection will still be going ahead at 8pm tonight, but a light-based protest — dubbed, Defend the Sydney Opera House — has also been organised. It is expected to see over 3000 protesters using torches and camera lights to disrupt the projection. The event organiser has suggested against the use of drones and laser pointers.

We'll update if any changes are made during the day.

Images: Cole Bennetts

Published on October 09, 2018 by Samantha Teague

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