NSW Labor Leader Says He'll Sack Alan Jones Over Sydney Stadium Farce
In a dramatic interview, NSW opposition leader Michael Daley just said he'd sack top-rating talk radio host Alan Jones from his position on the board of the SCG Trust.
The would-be NSW Premier didn't even threaten to sack Jones when he appeared on his show on Sydney radio station 2GB today. He basically just said he'd do it.
"If I'm elected, the board will go," Daley said of the board of the SCG Trust, which administers both the SCG and its neighbour Allianz Stadium.
One of the key issues of the upcoming NSW election is the proposed demolition and/or renovation of Allianz Stadium and also ANZ Stadium -- aka the old Olympic Stadium -- in Sydney's west.
The Labor Party has said it will not proceed with an upgrade to either stadium should it win power in the March election, with Daley promising to spend up to $2 billion on schools and hospitals instead.
As a member of the SCG Trust, Jones has been vocal in his support for the rebuild of Allianz Stadium. One of his main concerns about the 30-year-old stadium is safety. These concerns are shared by SCG Trust Chairman Tony Shepherd.
In a post written last year on the SCG Trust website, Shepherd argued that the safety features of Allianz Stadium were all designed after the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster in England, when 96 Liverpool fans were killed.
"In an emergency, patrons face the very real prospect of serious injury or worse in the rush for the exits... it would be absolute mayhem in the event of an emergency evacuation," he wrote of Allianz, which opened in 1988 and was designed well before stadia worldwide adopted much safer designs in the wake of Hillsborough.
But critics of the rebuild have argued these concerns are either a) massively overblown and b) the fault of the board, in which case they've hardly been doing their job over the years.
Michael Daley is one such critic, and on 2GB today, after listening to Jones list the range of safety issues at Allianz -- from a lack of fire sprinklers to narrow exits and several other things -- he offered a brutal riposte.
"Yeah, and guess what, Alan? The Ladies' and Members' Stands at the SCG, they don't comply with modern standards and they're flammable as well, but we don't knock them down, do we?"
Jones invited Daley back the following week at the end of interview, which was a surprisingly civilised ending to a feisty encounter, and very much in the spirit of democracy.