A stunningly uncomfortable exchange has occurred between Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a presser shortly after Queensland won the hosting rights for the 2032 Games.

Palaszczuk had previously said she would not attend the opening ceremony after copping heat over her trip to Tokyo after she had pushed for a reduction of international arrivals accepted by Australia.

Instead, she was going to watch it from her hotel room.

However, Mr Coates, with arms crossed and in front of the world media, ordered the premier she was going to attend.

“You are going to the opening ceremony,” Coates said.

“I am still the deputy chair of the candidature leadership group [for the 2032 bid]. So far as I understand, there will be an opening and a closing ceremony in 2032, and all of you have got to get along there and understand the tradition parts of that, what’s involved in an opening ceremony.

“None of you are staying behind hiding in your rooms, alright?”


Palaszczuk, clearly shocked and embarrassed, attempted to laugh off Coates’ comments, saying “I don’t want to offend anybody”.

But Coates wasn’t done.

“You’ve never been to the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games have you? You don’t know the protocols. I think it’s a very important lesson for everyone here. The opening ceremonies cost in the order of $75-100m – it’s a major exercise for any organising committee, it puts the stamp on the Games, it’s very important to the broadcasters that follow.

“I think, it’s my very strong recommendation that the premier, lord mayor and minister be there and understand it.”

Watch the exchange here:


Online, the pitchforks have been sharpening over Coates’ “bullying”, “mansplaining” and that it should have been, at best, a private conversation.

“Awkward? He’s treating her as if he’s her father. He’d not talk to a fellow male like that,” was one tweet.

“Not awkward but an attempt to be intimidating and bullying. The Premier’s reaction was like one of contained rage which I think Coates will hopefully receive,” was another.

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