Wagner: 'Tens of thousands of people asked about Jones'
A MEMBER of a prominent Queensland business family has told a court "tens of thousands of people" had raised with him radio broadcaster Alan Jones's critical comments about his family.
Denis Wagner, one of four brothers suing Alan Jones and others for a total of $4.8 million for alleged defamation, said people still regularly asked him about Mr Jones's broadcasts.
Mr Wagner told the Supreme Court in Brisbane he would be asked about it a few times a week and sometimes daily.
"People regularly say to me 'What have you done to him?, what is actually going on?, what are you hiding?," Mr Wagner said.
"Those comments and questions were common place."
When asked if it was an exaggeration to say tens of thousands of people had spoken to him about Mr Jones's comments, Mr Wagner told the defendants' counsel he did not think it was.
Mr Wagner said the comments were intense and consistent until he and his brothers commenced legal action for alleged defamation in 2015.
After broadcasts critical of the Wagners over the building of Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba, he said he was questioned about it by bankers, business people, government bureaucrats and politicians.
Mr Wagner said he wondered how many times their business had lost opportunities because people had formed opinions that they had been corrupt or had "covered up stuff" or were not honourable people.
Mr Wagner said it was not uncommon for people to ask him about Mr Jones's comments that his family had caused the flood in Grantham in 2011.
When he talked to some people about it he got the impression that some of them believed what Mr Jones had said.
People had even questioned him about the Alan Jones broadcasts at school functions he had attended, asking him what he had done to Alan Jones.
"There was an underlying tone that he wouldn't say them unless they were true," Mr Wagner said.
EARLIER: THE four Queensland brothers at the centre of a defamation lawsuit against Alan Jones are expected to continue giving evidence on Wednesday.
Wagner brothers John, Denis, Neill and Joe have accused the talkback radio host, Harbour Radio, 4BC and journalist Nick Cater of making damaging comments during 32 broadcasts in 2014 and 2015.
John Wagner held back tears during his evidence on Monday, while Denis Wagner claimed on Tuesday the attacks on his family at the hands of Jones were "gut- wrenching".
Denis is expected to continue giving evidence on Wednesday, before one of his other brothers takes the stand.
The high-profile defamation trial is expected to go for several weeks.
During the second day of the hearing, Denis Wagner told the Supreme Court in Brisbane Mr Jones would refer to their quarry wall or embankment collapsing, allegedly sending a "tsunami'' of water to Grantham in 2011.
"This guy who is seen as an authority on what is happening around this country is making statements that we were actually responsible for things that caused the death of a number of people,'' Denis Wagner said.
"He would always say, to put more venom in there, 'and the death of a child'.''
Denis Wagner, chairman of Wagners Holding Company board, described as "gut wrenching'' many of the allegations about him and his family aired by Mr Jones on national radio.
"Unfortunately, when he speaks with such authority, people believe him. The impact of that is far and wide,'' Mr Wagner said.
Mr Wagner said for months Mr Jones falsely accused the family of building a toxic waste dump and then had alleged they had built Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba illegally.
"They are quite vicious in their content, the tone of them, it was just vicious,'' Mr Wagner said.
He said there were also allegations of corruption with politicians, graft and paying people off.
Mr Wagner said Mr Jones had mentioned Toowoomba councillors, former premier Campbell Newman and then Federal member Ian McFarlane.
He said the allegations were that his family were probably in their pockets, or had done something not above board with them.
Mr Wagner said former premier Anna Bligh also was mentioned in allegations that his family had participated in corruption and done something untoward with her and her government.
He said all the allegations were untrue. The seven-week hearing continues.