Coates has insisted he is not ‘anti-women’ after making the awkward demand of Ms Palaszczuk during a press conference last Wednesday.
The Queensland premier had declared she would not attend the opening ceremony as she faced mounting backlash over her trip to Japan while her state continues to enforce hard border closures to international arrivals.
Mr Coates claimed Ms Palaszczuk approached him before the press conference and asked him to help her find a way to take the edge off the public pressure for her to give the event a miss.
The IOC vice president (pictured, John Coates) has hit back at allegations he was ‘mansplaining’ when he ordered Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics
John Coates has insisted he is not ‘anti-women’ after making the awkward demand to Ms Palaszczuk during a press conference last Wednesday
‘She said to me: “Give me a hand, John, will you?”,’ he told The Australian.
‘So I did. She’s my very good friend. I might have done it too crudely. But I thought if I did it crudely, I would be taking the hit for her.’
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, Mr Coates turned to Ms Palaszczuk to order her to attend the ceremony.
‘You are going to the opening ceremony,’ he said. ‘There will be an opening and a closing ceremony in 2032 and all of you, everyone there, has got to understand the traditional parts of that.
‘None of you are staying home and sitting in your room.’
Mr Coates is one of the most influential figures in international sport and is commonly described as the second most powerful figurehead in the International Olympic Committee behind president Thomas Bach.
The Sydney-born administrator and businessman has twice served as vice president of the International Olympic Committee and was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2006.
Ms Palaszczuk watched on in awkward silence as the powerbroker told her she had ‘never been to an opening ceremony’ and didn’t ‘know the protocols’.
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, Mr Coates turned to Ms Palaszczuk to order her to attend the ceremony
JOHN COATES’ FULL STATEMENT ON HIS EXCHANGE WITH THE QUEENSLAND PREMIER
My comments regarding the premier and the opening ceremony have 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.
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.
‘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 million to $100 million,’ Mr Coates said.
‘My very strong recommendation is the premier and the lord mayor and the minister be there and understand it.’
His comment sparked backlash from the public with media personalities levelling criticism at the IOC vice president.
Nine News journalist Leila McKinnon praised Ms Palaszczuk for showing ‘restraint’ while being ‘spoken to on the world stage as if she were a recalcitrant teenager’.
‘My blood would have been boiling,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Ms Palaszczuk reportedly sent a text to Mr Coates to apologise for the backlash.
Ms Palaszczuk reportedly sent a text to Mr Coates to apologise for the backlash following the press conference on Wednesday
‘I’m sorry there was negative media on this,’ the text read. ‘They always look for a problem when there is none.’
On Thursday, the premier appeared to suggest she would follow Mr Coates’ instructions and attend the ceremony.
‘I’m not going to be offending anyone. John Coates was laying down the law last night,’ she told ABC Brisbane.
‘I’m not going to offend the IOC, I’m not going to offend the Japanese government, so I’ll let them sort that out.
‘If we didn’t have John Coates, this [the successful bid] would not have happened,’ she said in a separate interview with ABC News.
‘John has been the driving force behind us securing the Olympics. His networks are absolutely phenomenal.’
On Thursday, the premier appeared to suggest she would follow Mr Coates’ instructions and attend the ceremony (pictured, the Olympic Cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium)
Mr Coates later claimed his comments to Ms Palaszczuk had been ‘completely misinterpreted’.
‘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.
‘We both know the spirit of my remarks and I have no indication that she was offended in any way.’