Frosty Coates-Palaszczuk exchange ‘completely misinterpreted’, says AOC boss

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) boss John Coates says his awkward exchange with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been “completely misinterpreted”.

A clip of Mr Coates forcefully insisting Ms Palaszczuk attend the opening ceremony in Tokyo — the Premier had initially said she would watch it from her hotel — went viral on Thursday morning.

“You are going to the opening ceremony,” Mr Coates told Ms Palaszczuk during a press conference after Brisbane had been announced as the host of the 2032 Games.

“I’m still the deputy chair of the candidature leadership group and so far, as I understand, there will be an opening and closing ceremony in 2032 and all of you are going to get along there and understand the traditional parts of that, what’s involved in an opening ceremony, so none of you are staying behind and hiding in your rooms, alright?”

In a statement released by the AOC, Mr Coates said he and Ms Palaszczuk had a “long-standing and very successful relationship”.

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John Coates tells Annastacia Palaszczuk she cannot “hide” in her room and must attend the opening ceremony.

“My comments regarding the Premier and the opening ceremony have been completely misinterpreted by people who weren’t in the room,” he said.

“Absolutely I believe the Premier should come to the opening ceremony and she has accepted.

“I am thrilled about that. Attending the opening ceremony has always been her choice.

“My view has always been all three levels of government should come to the opening ceremony.

“The Premier and I have a long-standing and very successful relationship. We both know the spirit of my remarks and I have no indication that she was offended in any way.

“Those in doubt should ask her.”

Ms Palaszczuk remained mostly silent during the exchange, but later said she had no rift with Mr Coates.

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Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 37 seconds

Ms Palaszczuk says she is ‘all good’ with John Coates after awkward media exchange.

“Yeah, absolutely. He’s fantastic. If we didn’t have John Coates, this would not have happened,” Ms Palaszczuk told ABC News Breakfast.

“John Coates has been the driving force behind us securing the Olympics. He has been able to get all levels of government to work together for us to have this bid and his engagement with the business community, his networks are absolutely phenomenal.

“I’m going to give credit where credit’s due. It’s great for him that he was there with Sydney [in 2000] and now he’s ushered in this opportunity for Brisbane and Queensland.”

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