Jones scandal claims first scalp
The Alan Jones scandal has claimed its first victim with Woolworths executive and prominent Liberal party member, Simon Berger, tendering his resignation last night.
Mr Berger was the master of ceremonies at the Sydney University Young Liberals dinner two weeks ago at which Mr Jones made his offensive remarks about Julia Gillard’s father dying of shame over his daughter’s lies.
Mr Berger also arranged the auction of a jacket, signed by Mr Jones and made from a chaff bag. Labor was equally furious at this action given Mr Jones had used his radio show to demand Ms Gillard be tied in a chaff bag and dumped at sea.
Mr Berger was the State Government Relations manager for Woolworths, one of the companies which pulled its advertisements from Mr Jones’ show in protest.
The company had stood by Mr Berger but it is understood he offered to resign yesterday because he felt bad over what had occurred. He was also the target of a social media campaign.
Mr Berger explained himself on Facebook, saying the dinner “was overshadowed by a comment by the guest speaker that was completely out of line”.
“I have really wanted to explain myself, but had a responsibility to my employer to not unfairly attach them any further to a controversy or add fuel to a bushfire,”‘ he said.
“My biggest regret this past week is that colleagues have been caught up in this episode. They have important jobs to do and I do not want to be a distraction.”
A Woolworths spokeswoman told the Herald:
“While Simon attended the function in a private capacity, he has acknowledged that it has directly affected his ability to carry out his role at Woolworths as a member of Corporate Affairs team.”
Mr Berger is a popular member of the NSW Liberals. He worked for Brendan Nelson when Dr Nelson was the Opposition leader and was one of several candidates who sought preselection for the North Shore seat of Bradfield when Dr Nelson resigned.