Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has been bombarded with telephone calls after his mobile number was broadcast on Channel 7 as belonging to Melbourne Cup winning horse trainer Gai Waterhouse.
In the hours after Fiorente’s victory at Flemington, Mr Newman received hundreds of congratulatory calls from happy Australians who had backed the Cup winner.
“It was annoying and a little scary,” said Mr Newman. “At first, I thought it was some sort of personal attack because there were all these strangers asking me if I was gay. When I denied it, these people said I must be gay because Channel 7 told them so. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Mr Newman said it was only after he received a particularly nasty telephone call from John Singleton that he realised what was going on.
“Although Mr Singleton was very drunk, it was clear he thought I hadn’t looked after his racehorse properly. It was then that I put two and two together. Singo still took some convincing. Apparently Gai and I sound very similar on the phone.”
Channel 7 has apologised for the incident, which it described as “a funny but regrettable prank made by a now former employee with a passion for motorbikes”. Mr Newman has not excluded the possibility of taking legal action against the station.
This has been the second recent occasion that Channel 7 has broadcast Mr Newman’s contact details. Last month, the station mistakenly listed Mr Newman’s mobile phone number as one of the voting lines for the X Factor grand final.
“Let me assure you, it was no fun answering my phone thousands of time in the one night just to speak to teenage girls,” said Mr Newman. “But I had to pick up just in case the calls were from Jeff Seeney or the media or someone really important.”