The Sydney Opera House is not a 'billboard': Shorten

This image provided by Racing NSW shows an artist???s impression of how horse race advertising will look on the Sydney Opera House. A plan to project a horse racing advertisement on the famed sails of the Sydney Opera House is dividing Australians. (Racin

However he did not directly address the question of whether the Opera House should be used to promote the Everest horse race, saying that as someone whose electorate was "home" to two major races ( the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup) he "liked" racing and "can see the impact that promoting racing brings to jobs".

However, The New South Wales government has ordered the Sydney Opera House to display the ad following a campaign by Sydney tabloid newspaper the Daily Telegraph and radio shock jock Alan Jones.

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.

Racing NSW had also wanted to list horse names on the Opera House sails, but that will not happen.

The Guardian also reports the United Nations body that declares world heritage sites is "looking into" the Racing NSW promotion.

"This is one of the biggest events of the year why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has", he said on Sunday.

"These events generate massive economic opportunities".

"I don't know why people are getting so precious about it", he 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.

On Friday's 2GB Breakfast show Jones repeatedly yelled "we" own the Opera House over the top of his interview subject.

Graham Quint, a National Trust of Australia manager, went as far as suggesting the advertising went against federal and state laws governing use of the Opera House.

A petition to "Defend Our Opera House: Support Louise Herron" on change.org has been backed by 45,000 people.

"If we said yes to this, "we're fine put the Everest logo on there" our policy is worthless to us, we're just going to allow whoever comes along to use the Opera House as a billboard, ' we would lose our World Heritage status", she said.

In the past the Opera House has been used to project colours and images, marking events, from sports matches to religious holidays, as well as the annual Vivid light and sound festival.

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". But the state government blocked that plan and offered the Opera House instead.

The Everest has A$13 million in prize money and is billed as the world's richest turf race.

"Gambling destroys lives and has no place being displayed on the sails of the Opera House", said Elizabeth Smits, one of the thousands who signed the online petition.

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