The Roar
The Roar


The Everest, the Opera House, and Alan Bloody Jones

The barrier draw results for NSW Racing's multi million dollar race, The Everest, are projected onto the sails of the Opera House, Sydney, Tuesday, October 9, 2018. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)
11th October, 2018

My butt there’s nothin’ on.

Sure, there’s Test cricket on the telly and golf in Malaysia, and the V8s were on at Bathurst last week.

The Wallabies are flying around the world like the weirdos they are. And there’s rugby league Test matches on Saturday in New Zealand, boys and girls, and you’ll sit down and watch them for sure because it’s all pretty good.

And if you’re in Sydney town Sunday there’s a rowing regatta of sorts on the Harbour that’s like our Oxford vs Cambridge, Sydney vs Melbourne, and if you’re in the smoke you’d get along to have a look, something about it, for sure.

Actually, when I say there’s nothin’ on there’s heaps on. Indeed it’s wall-to-wall sport.

The ‘big’ sports – the footies and crickets – keep pumping out ‘content’. Even the AFL has a ‘draft combine’, whatever that is, it’s kept that footy league humming, the best national sports comp in the land.

And yet it feels like like there’s nothin on because we’re in that funny time of year between the footy season and cricket season when several sports poke their heads above the greater dustbin of public apathy and bathe in their time in the sun.

Horse racing is like this. Granted it’s on all the time. Any day of the year otherwise it’s wallpaper. As one race finishes another one starts. Poker machines work like this. Ka-jung, ka-jung, ka-jung.

You can walk into any pub in the land and bet on the first in Pukekohe to the last in Turffontein.


I’ve bet on trotters in Norway running on ice. And know this: Nordic form, like Scando noir movies, is mysterious.

So yes – there’s quite a lot of things to bet on, all year round.

But the Springs is gambling’s time. Well horse racing’s. Which exists because of gambling.


The Everest (yeah, the one from the Opera House ads) (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Regardless! Melbourne’s Spring Carnival is a cracking time of year for the horse hound and hound-ette, and getting to Moonee Valley for the Cox Plate or Flemington for Derby Day or the Cup should be on every sport’s hounds to do list.

Even if you’re not into horses, the parties are top notch. And if Australians can’t get on the drink and bet on horses and spill beer down loud ties they bought in the op shop then the terrorists have won.

It’s foolishness of course, but it’s our foolishness. It’s a celebration of life, and it beats the alternative every single day of the mother-lovin’ week.

Which brings us to this foolishness over the barrier draw for The Everest being beamed onto the sails of the Opera House.


How about that for a monster mash of stoopid?

I’m not gonna pick a side – I can see both points of view: left and right, Toff and Unwashed, Hippie of Newtown versus Grouse Aussie Sporto.

I started off being cool with it. Went to being quite un-cool with it. Now I’m still un-cool with it, after a fashion.

I think advertising on the Opera House is bad. But promoting big sports events – of which the Everest you can argue is one – I’m good with.

You know that song ‘Torn’? I’m torn.

But I’m leaning towards it being bad because of our dear leaders. The premier, the prime minister, and the man who pulls their strings: Alan Jones.

Beaming the barrier draw onto the sails, I’d have been sweet with. And I reckon the greater left-leaning light-shiners would’ve been relatively sweet with it too.

Well, they’d have grumbled about it. But had they just beamed it up. Or not beamed it up. That’s what we’d have gone with. Because: democracy.


But I went against it – and 300,000 people signed a petition against it – because Alan bloody Jones bullied the Opera House lady – who was just doing her job – and then hectored the Premier to pull her into line.

This is The Jones Way.

Then the premier capitulated to the barking little parrot with the apparently all-nodding, all-powerful cabal of voting greybeards.

And the prime minister – in full wannabe-Bob-Hawke vote-for-me-I’m-a-daggy-dad mode – said he couldn’t see what the fuss was, the sails are the greatest billboard in the land.

And thus kick-started a prodigious poo-fight.

Because people thought: those sails should not be for sale.

They are our sales.

They’re good for promotion.


But to advertise gambling?

Yeah. Nah.

Oh, it’s promoting a horse race? Be fair dinkum. Horse racing exists because of gambling.

And many people – me included – turned against the horse race’s barrier draw being beamed onto the sails of the Opera House, the people’s house.

Alan Jones and Michael Cheika chew the fat

Alan Jones in likeable rugby mode. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Because Alan Jones should not have the power to affect our democracy. We don’t elect him, and yet he wields power of our lives because he can bully and twist politicians to his will.

And that should not be.

Now! As I said I was at first cool with it being beamed onto the sails, as I would be any World Cups they might play here, or any other world events. That Opera House looks cracking during Livid. Light shows are good.


But Alan Jones is not good. Old Cash For Comment will tell you he’s holding authority to account, doing it for the little people. But he’s about his own interests, which include horses. He’s into horses, and the racing of them.

Which is cool – race away, Parrot man.

But he shouldn’t be using his radio show as a lectern to bully weak leaders and thwart democracy.

We have a country that has rules of engagement, and the Premier has kowtowed to Jones, and the Everest draw went up on the sails, and the prime minister backed the premier (you wonder what he’d have said were it Labor’s idea).

And of course he wasn’t going to say anything against Alan Jones. Indeed he immediately went on his show, a pair of jolly old chums.

And here we are, the people, divided, again, this time as the age-less battle between hippies and toffs, the latter forming a short and unholy alliance with the greater rump of the beer-drinking, spade-a-bloody-shovel-calling Australian sporto public.

And all because the Parrot is a bully, the premier’s a softcock and the prime minister’s a daggy big dork.

Scratch that – there’s plenty of sport on.