After the Holden blimp crashed the AFL Grand Final party at the MCG, Cricket Australia told Crikey that they’d be lobbying for a no fly zone during the Ashes summer.

“It’s just un-Australian to try and sneak a free ride off the back of someone else’s work,” said Peter Young, General Manager of Public Affairs at CA. And anti-sponsor too — Ford is a commercial partner of Cricket Australia.

Now Federal Tourism Minister Fran Bailey is singing from the Cricket Australia songsheet. She’s called for the Bracks Government to urgently legislate against so-called “ambush marketing” ahead of the Boxing Day test with the blimp identified as a prime target, reports The Herald Sun.

“The Victorian Government acted to ban ambush marketing for the Commonwealth Games — why not for the Ashes?” asked Bailey.

Bailey has identified the three-day pre-Christmas sitting of Parliament as a perfect opportunity to address the matter but Victorian Sport Minister James Merlino says there are bigger issues to discuss, like the drought.

Cricket Australia suggests that Victoria follow Queensland’s approach — the Sunshine State signalled its intention to legislate a ban and the blimp stayed away from the Gabba Test.

If not, with an audience of billions for the Ashes, people will start to see Australia as a “major events banana republic”, says Young.

Not to mention the safety concerns, he says. The blimp’s “dramatic and unexpected” shadow could foreseeably distract a batsman who should be concentrating on “a projectile that’s coming at him at 140k/hr”.

Peter Fray

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