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‘She thanked me’: John Coates defends bizarre media conference

It came at a media opportunity after Brisbane had been awarded the hosting rights to the 2032 Olympics, beating a field of only itself.

Palaszczuk has been under fire for travelling to Tokyo for the announcement, promising she would not attend the opening ceremony nor events.

“You are going to the opening ceremony,” Coates said with arms crossed. “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, all right?”

Palaszczuk laughed off the remarks, saying: “I’m getting bossed around by John Coates? Hang on a minute …” Later in the media conference she said she “didn’t want to offend anybody”.

Asked if she had been offended by his tone, given her awkward response, Coates said: “I surprised her. But anyone at the press conference would’ve seen the glint in my eye. I don’t think people understand how subtle I am. My comments have been completely misinterpreted by people who weren’t in the room. People don’t know me.”

Palaszczuk said she had no rift with Mr Coates over the public exchange.

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“He’s fantastic,” she told the ABC. “If we didn’t have John Coates, this would not have happened.

“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.”

Coates scoffed at claims he was misogynistic because of the way he spoke to Palaszczuk.

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“I’ve kept this relationship going for six years and there’s a long way to go,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong. The relationship is unbelievably strong. I believe the Premier should come to the opening ceremony. She’s accepted.”

A spokesman from the Premier’s office said he had nothing more to add.

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