Sydney at odds over horseracing adverts on opera house roof

The son of an architect of the Sydney Opera House says any advertising on it would be a desecration

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has backed Alan Jones' position in favour of horse race advertising on the Sydney Opera House.

The shock-jock broadcaster accused Herron of making a bad decision, saying, "If I were [NSW Premier] Gladys Berejiklian, I would pick up the phone and sack you today".

"This is a global event that receives global attention", she added, referring to the Sydney horse race, which will be run on Sunday.

On Monday, an online petition against the planned advertisement garnered over 190,000 signatures.

"He has always been a promoter of the gambling industry and also has commercial interests in racing", Mr Costello wrote in the Guardian on Sunday.

"The gambling lobby, particularly in New South Wales, is the equivalent of the National Rifle Association in America. Why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has", Morrison, a former head of Tourism Australia, told reporters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the Sydney Opera House as a "big billboard" and says he'd happily advertise events on the Harbour Bridge too.

"These events generate massive economic opportunities".

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"I say to people, have a look on Tuesday before you judge it", she said.

"It's not as if they're painting it on there". I mean it's some lights flashing up there for a brief moment of time.

Almost 165,000 people had signed an online petition as of Monday against using the Opera House for the promotion, which has dominated social media in Australia.

"People have a great deal of respect for the Opera House, it's World Heritage so people worldwide treasure it. and the idea that we'd use it as a Parramatta Road billboard is quite wrong - this is just crass commercialism", Quint said.

But many view the decision as a risky tipping point, saying it risked the building's commercialisation and its world heritage listing.

Herron pointed out, she'd already agreed to the projection of the jockeys' colours, which Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys argued would be "meaningless". After all, there is no evidence that advertising would degrade the value of the Opera House; indeed, it is possible that regular and colourful displays of prominent brand names on the otherwise bland white sails of the building would enhance, rather than diminish, its tourist appeal.

"When you have a look at The Everest, it is the richest race on turf in the world which is bringing in tourists and visitors", he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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