NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has defended western Sydney after media personality Eddie McGuire described the area as the “land of the falafel.
McGuire is now under fire for the remark on his Triple M breakfast show on Thursday morning, when he said Greater Western Sydney Giants recruits would soon get tired of living there.
“I’ve just a put a team together of your 17-year-olds who’ll be sick of living up in the land of the falafel in western Sydney playing in front of a 12,000-seat stadium that’s still not put up,” McGuire said.
Ms Keneally said she hadn’t seen his comments herself but highlighted the diversity of residents of western Sydney, AAP reported.
“Sydney and NSW is the most multicultural, diverse place on earth, some 200 language groups – people from some 200 countries on earth have come to NSW and made it their home,” she said in response to a question at the National Press Club in Canberra.
“Western Sydney is a powerhouse of our economy.”
On twitter, opinion was mixed.
Some thought it was a light-hearted jibe, but others hit back. ‘”#GWS is falafel land. Guess that makes collingwood an illiterate suburb with no teeth” Doppiopapa said.
Even Triple M was confused at its own stance, first issuing one statement, and then retracting it, News reported.
McGuire has been invited to dine with Minister for Western Sydney David Borger and sample the area’s cuisine – and falafel needn’t be on the menu.
“I invite Mr McGuire to come and spend the day in Granville with me and my family to see how great our region really is,” Mr Borger said on Friday.
He called on the president of the Collingwood Football Club to apologise for his “quite frankly ridiculous and offensive” remarks.
“If he wants to talk great food, there are a host of Australian, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Turkish and Lebanese restaurants we could meet at,” the state MP said.
“I also know a great local take-out that sells falafel that would knock his socks off.”
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