2GB host Alan Jones has taken the stand in a Brisbane court today to defend himself against a multi-million dollar defamation claim from the prominent Queensland brothers John, Denis, Neill and Joe Wagner.
The Wagners are suing the outspoken talkback host alongwith Harbour Radio, 4BC and journalist Nick Cater over 32 broadcasts in 2014 and 2015, alleging Jones’ accused them of causing the deaths of 12 people in Grantham during the 2011 floods, after a wall of the Lockyer Valley quarry they owned collapsed.
Most of Jones’ remarks were made on 2GB and 4BC.
The allegations were made in 32 broadcasts aired on radio between 2014 and August 2015.
Jones was visibly upset in court today, holding back tears while giving evidence about his interactions with families impacted by the floods.
He told the court he received calls from a number of Grantham residents who believed a retaining wall from the quarry was responsible for exaggerating the effects of the floods.
“They all told the same story. These people would cry when they met me and they really felt they were abandoned and I really tried to give them a pillar of hope.
“It seemed impossible to believe that 12 people had lost their lives in six homes and we still don’t know how and there’s no resolution.
“I became a bit of a pivotal point for people who wanted to have their point of view heard.
“This was the single greatest cause of death in any one environment in the history of the Queensland floods,” he said.
The court had previously heard the Grantham Floods Commission of Inquiry in 2015 exonerated the Wagner family over the 2011 floods. If the lawsuit is successful, Jones and his co-accused could be liable for $4.8 million in damages.