Coates defends Games order for Palaszczuk

AOC president John Coates, Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and IOC chief Thomas Bach in Tokyo.
AOC president John Coates, Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and IOC chief Thomas Bach in Tokyo.

Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates insists his blunt Tokyo opening ceremony directive to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that was labelled 'misogynistic' has been taken out of context.

Brisbane's 2032 Olympic Games celebrations took an awkward turn when Coates ordered the Premier to change her plans and attend Tokyo's opening ceremony on Friday.

Palaszczuk had controversially flown to Japan with Brisbane mayor Adrian Schrinner and Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck to accept the hosting duties and intended to watch the festivities from her hotel room on Friday evening.

Coates appeared to surprise the Premier mid-press conference though as the AOC boss and International Olympic Committee vice-president set her travelling party straight.

"You are going to the opening ceremony," Coates said with arm-crossed.

"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?

"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 million to $100 million, it's a major exercise for any organising committee.

"It puts a stamp on the Games."

Former Socceroo and social equality advocate Craig Foster tweeted Coates had shot to the "top of the medal tally in misogyny", while the Premier attempted to play down the awkward back-and-forth on ABC News Breakfast on Thursday as "semantics".

Coates issued a statement later on Thursday asserting his comments had "been completely misinterpreted by people who weren't in the room".

"Absolutely I believe the Premier should come to the opening ceremony and she has accepted," he said.

"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."

Palaszczuk explained that an invite to the opening ceremony had not been on the table until they were officially awarded the hosting rights.

"If we didn't have John Coates, this would not have happened," she added.

"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."

Tokyo is facing a staggering financial loss with fans locked out and many of the Japanese population against the Games being staged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However organisers claim the Brisbane Games will be cost-neutral, meaning no additional expense for taxpayers beyond a $4.5 billion budget covered by ticket sales, sponsorship and the IOC.

"This is ultimately a win for every single Queenslander," Palaszczuk, who forecast $17 billion of economic benefit, said.

"This is going to set Queensland up for a golden age.

"It's going to be a decade worth of investment. It is going to be a catalyst for change, opportunity ... this is our moment to shine."

Australian Associated Press