Man threatens to sue Tourism Australia over Winfrey’s visit

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MELBOURNE - A man in Australia has threatened to sue Tourism Australia after he claimed that the idea to bring talk show host Oprah Winfrey Down Under was actually his suggestion.

Reef Encounter managing director John Heuvel said he had spent 200,000 dollars developing and pitching his idea between 2004 and 2009 and would sue the tourism body as he had “got shafted”.

He claims the then-managing director of Tourism Australia, Scott Morrison, had assured him in 2005 he would not be shut out of any deal to bring Winfrey to Australia.

But when Winfrey finally did bring her crew and audience to Australia during a highly publicised tour last month, they did not spend time in Cairns or use his dive services.

“Scott Morrison promised me that I would never get cut out of the deal. Not only did I get cut out of the deal, but Tourism Australia is saying that it thought up the idea, which is ludicrous,” the Age quoted Heuvel as saying.

“I came up with the idea in 2004,” he stated.

Although he is yet to prepare or file a statement of claim, Heuvel said he planned to sue Tourism Australia for “millions” on the grounds of breach of contract.

Heuvel said Morrison, now the federal opposition’s immigration spokesman, was enthusiastic when told about the Winfrey visit idea in 2005 and gave him a written guarantee of involvement. (ANI)

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