Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates has publicly mansplained to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about why she should attend the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, despite her previously saying she would not attend.
In an exchange just hours after Palaszczuk won Brisbane the hosting rights for the 2032 Olympics, Coates brazenly ordered her to make sure she attended the opening ceremony in Tokyo while she was there.
“You are going to the opening ceremony. 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?” Coates told Palaszczuk while sitting next to the Premier at a press conference.
Palaszczuk remained mainly silent and looked downwards as Coates continued to tell her the reasons she should attend the ceremony. The Premier had previously made clear she would watch the opening ceremony from her hotel room in Toyko, rather than attend in person due to COVID-19.
‘You are going to the opening ceremony.’ Here is that awkward exchange between AOC President John Coates and Queensland Premier @AnnastaciaMP at a media conference in Tokyo last night. #Brisbane2032 @BreakfastNews pic.twitter.com/bQqvFYyQla— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) July 21, 2021
Lightheartedly, Palaszczuk said she didn’t “want to offend anybody”, and laughed off the comments from Coates.
“You’ve never been to an opening ceremony. You don’t know the protocols and I think it’s a very important lesson for everyone here – opening ceremonies cost in the order of $75 to $100 million,” Coates continued.
“It puts a stamp on the Games and it’s very important to the broadcasts that follow and it’s my very strong recommendation is the Premier and the Lord Mayor and the minister be there and understand it.”
The exchange has spread across social media, with some commentators questioning whether a male premier or leader in sport would be subjected to such condescending remarks.
What a condescending, patronising man. How dare he tick off the Premier of Qld publicly as if she was a naughty schoolgirl? Takes me back to some similar moments in my own career. Too many men in power need to take a really hard look at themselves. https://t.co/hi9Yxs0QyB— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) July 21, 2021
If you watched episode 2 of @annabelcrabb‘s #MsRepresented with a lump in your throat & fire in your belly about the appalling treatment of women in politics watch this. It is the most disgraceful & disrespectful exchange. Would a male premier EVER be subject to this? Never. https://t.co/KrcS5XH9sV— Georgie Dent (@georgiedent) July 22, 2021
On Thursday morning, Palaszczuk downplayed the exchange, and credited John Coates for helping Brisbane secure the 2030 hosting rights. Speaking to ABC’s News Breakfast, Palaszczuk said she had no problem with Coates.
“I’ve known John for years,” she said. “So what’s happened now is that the lord mayor and the federal minister and I are expected to go. So I will leave that to John Coates and Thomas Bach.”
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s fantastic. If we didn’t have John Coates, this would not have happened,” Palaszczuk said.