Wagners vs Alan Jones: Family sues for $10m in damages

Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones.
Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. Kevin Farmer

MORE than 30 broadcasts from controversial Sydney-based shock jock Alan Jones have been referenced in a $10 million defamation suit filed by the Wagner family.

Lawyers for Denis Wagner, and his three brothers Joe John and Neil, filed the suit late Wednesday afternoon, seeking damages of $2.5m from each of the four defendants.

They are Alan Jones, Radio 4BC Brisbane and parent company Harbour Radio, and The Australian journalist Nick Cater.

The substantial suit references broadcasts by Mr Jones in which he accused the Wagners of corruption and cover-ups in the family's culpability during the deadly Grantham floods in 2011.

The quarry - owned by the Wagners at the time of the flood - was cleared by Gratham Floods Inquiry Commissioner Walter Sofronoff SC as having any role or culpability in the floods in which 12 people were killed.

Denis Wagner
Denis Wagner Nev Madsen

Mr Jones, in his broadcast, accused the Wagners of conspiring with Barnaby Joyce and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss in an effort to cover-up the family's culpability in the floods.

The suit claims Mr Jones inferred to listeners of corruption between the Wagners and Member for Groom MP and then-industry minister Ian Macfarlane.

If the suit proceeds to trial, the high-profile politicians could be called to give evidence.

The flood inquiry found the quarry played no role in exacerbating the floods but rather delayed the wall of water which inundated the town.

The findings were handed down on October 8.

The lawsuit also claims Mr Jones inferred the Wagners had broken laws in its pursuit to build the Wellcamp Airport.

Mr Jones did not comment on the suit, nor was it referenced in his regular radio broadcast on 2GB this morning.

Mr Cater is included in the suit due to his statements made on-air during one of Mr Jones' broadcasts.

Mr Cater was quoted in today's The Australian as saying: "All of my work on the Grantham floods story was done by me as a journalist acting in the public interest to answer unresolved questions."

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