NSW Labor leader Michael Daley is standing by his attack on the SCG Trust's board members despite the threat of potential legal action.
Mr Daley on Tuesday told high-profile broadcaster Alan Jones live on air he intended to remove the unelected trustees that oversee the Moore Park sporting facilities if elected premier at the March 23 election.
During the fiery interview, he suggested the board colluded with the NSW government over its plan to knock down and rebuild Allianz Stadium at a cost of $730 million.
Mr Daley also claimed the trust was involved in removing fire sprinklers from the stadium “under the cover of darkness”.
However his claim was found to be totally false by the AAP CrossCheck team, which independently tests and verifies statements made by public figures.
“Mr Daley’s claim that the SCG board ripped out stadium fire sprinklers under the cover of darkness is false because the stadium never had sprinklers,” AAP CrossCheck concluded.
Jones on Wednesday hit back at the opposition leader, saying he didn’t react angrily to the accusations at the time because he “felt sorry for the bloke who is completely out of his depth and still is.”
The broadcaster said the accusation the board removed sprinklers was incorrect. Board member Maurice Newman labelled it “extraordinary, offensive and defamatory”.
Mr Newman told The Australian newspaper he was considering his legal options.
“I have confirmation it’s defamatory and I’m considering what action I’m going to take,” he said.
Mr Daley didn’t repeat his claims on Wednesday instead pointing out that “soft demolition” was already taking place.
“If people are fixating today on the issue of sprinklers, I think that’s a bit of a weak red-herring,” he told Sky News.
“I haven’t made any comments about Mr Newman. I’m sure he’s a very capable fellow. My comments were about the board acting together as a corporation, not about anyone individually.”
He doubled down, however, on his assertion that some trustees helped Sports Minister Stuart Ayres “cook up” the $730 million redevelopment plan which was a “bad” one for taxpayers.
“I do not have confidence in them. I can’t work with that board,” Mr Daley said.