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Chaff bag jacket donor quits Woolies


Simon Berger, the Woolworths executive who donated the chaff bag jacket to the dinner that triggered a furore over Alan Jones' comments about the prime minister's father, has resigned from the retailing giant.

Mr Berger, government relations manager at Australia's largest supermarket chain, on Friday offered his resignation, which the company accepted.

"While Simon attended the function in a private capacity, he has acknowledged that it has directly affected his ability to carry out his role at Woolworths as a member of corporate affairs team," a Woolworths spokeswoman said in a statement.

His resignation follows the fallout from a speech that Mr Jones, the Sydney 2GB radio breakfast presenter, gave to a Sydney University Liberal Club function last month in which he said John Gillard had died of "shame" because of his daughter's political "lies".

Several companies have dropped their sponsorship of Mr Jones' program and the radio station.

Mr Berger said on his Facebook page that the comments by the guest speaker were "completely out of line" and eclipsed the event.

"I have really wanted to explain myself, but had a responsibility to my employer to not unfairly attach them any further to a controversy or add fuel to a bushfire," he said.

He said his biggest regret was that colleagues had been dragged in to the episode.

"To be clear, this event had absolutely NOTHING to do with my employer," Mr Berger said.

"I was neither invited nor introduced in my work capacity.

"I attended on my own time and paid every expense with my own money.

"However, given the difficulty this episode has caused my company and the difficult position it will put me in as its community and government relations manager, I am removing myself from the role."

Mr Jones had signed the jacket made from a chaff bag that was donated by Mr Berger to an auction held at the Liberal Club function.

The broadcaster has said on air that the prime minister should be put in a sack and dropped into the ocean.

Mr Berger said the auctioning of a chaff bag jacket was not aimed at Julia Gillard.

"It was a prop to put myself in after taking the mickey out of Alan Jones," he said.

"So, two weeks after first putting myself in a chaff bag, I guess I'm doing it again."

Mr Berger leaves the company after nearly three years at the retailer.

He said he would always remain a proud Liberal member.