Annastacia Palaszczuk has been awkwardly ordered to attend the opening ceremony in Tokyo by Australia’s most senior Olympic official – as it emerged her $1billion plan to redevelop the Gabba almost derailed Queensland’s bid to host the games.

The Queensland premier said on Tuesday she would refuse an invitation to be one of 1,000 VIPs in attendance at the ceremony on Friday night, which is being held behind closed doors because of rising coronavirus infections across Japan.

But on Wednesday night Australia Olympic Committee chair John Coates told the state leader she needed to ‘learn’ about the traditions of the ceremony.

‘You are going to the opening ceremony,’ he told Ms Palaszczuk in a bizarre press conference exchange moments after Brisbane was announced as the host of the 2032 Olympic games.

‘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 Olympic movement behind I.O.C president Thomas Bach. 

Leaders hope the Brisbane Games will put Brisbane on the global map in the same way Sydney was after the Harbour City’s world-renowned effort in 2000 (pictured, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk celebrates in Tokyo)

The Sydney-born administrator and businessman has twice served as a vice president for 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 influential powerbroker told her she had ‘never been to an opening ceremony’ and didn’t ‘know the protocols’.

‘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,’ he said.

‘My very strong recommendation is the premier and the lord mayor and the minister be there and understand it.’ 

The premier on Thursday morning 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.

Australia Olympic Committee chair John Coates told the state leader she needed to be in attendance at the opening ceremony and to ‘learn’ about its traditions

Ms Palaszczuk almost derailed Queensland’s Olympic bid though when she announced a $1billion plan to rejuvenate the Gabba that she had not discussed with the federal government. She is pictured during that announcement in April

‘John has been the driving force behind us securing the Olympics. His networks are absolutely phenomenal.’

The exchange came as it emerged the premier nearly derailed Brisbane’s 2032 chances on April 19 when she revealed a $1billion plan to rejuvenate the Gabba as part of the city’s Olympic bid.

Ms Palaszczuk said the plan to boost seating capacity by 8,000 seats and make the stadium the games’ ‘crowning glory’ would only work if the federal government agreed to back the deal.

But in an act of political posturing, the Queensland premier had at that point not even mentioned the plan to the federal government, The Australian reported.

Brisbane residents celebrate on Wednesday night upon hearing the city would host the Olympic Games

The Queensland premier said on Tuesday she would refuse an invitation to be one of 1,000 VIPs allowed to watch the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Pictured is the National Stadium where the ceremony is being held

The federal government eventually agreed to terms on a 50-50 $11billion deal to fund the Brisbane games with the Queensland state government, but Liberal politicians claimed the move nearly scuppered the bid. 

‘You don’t publicly announce a $1bn project without consulting the other parties,’  Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s representative on the Olympic Candidature Leadership Liberal MP Ted O’Brien said.

‘Far worse than an act of ill-discipline, it demonstrated poor judgment and risked a fight breaking out that may have killed the deal.’ 

Fireworks erupt in the sky in Queensland (pictured on Wednesday night) as Brisbane residents celebrate the Olympic Games coming to their city in 2032



Yes – it brings in billions 99 votes No – there are more important things 472 votes

The revelation came as some MPs in Queensland – including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson – claimed the games would send the Sunshine State into economic ruin.

Thousands of Queenslanders erupted with joy on Wednesday night when the announcement was made, as fireworks lit up the sky over the Brisbane River. 

Queensland was the only place on the ballot for the 2032 games, but that didn’t stop jubilant Aussies as well as the Prime Minister and Queensland’s state premier celebrating the milestone win.  

Leaders hope that the Games will see Brisbane put on the global map in the same way Sydney was after the Harbour City’s world-renowned effort in 2000.  

An estimated $5billion will go towards hosting the sporting event, slammed as an expensive ‘vanity project’ by Ms Hanson.

Pauline Hanson has lashed out at the Queensland government claiming its sending the state into economic ruin after it was announced Brisbane would host the 2032 Olympic Games

Some MPs within Queensland have rejected the announcement Brisbane will host the 2032 Olympic Games with Pauline Hanson labelling it a ‘waste of money’

The leader of the One Nation party shared a mocked up poster for Queensland Ms Palaszczuk with the phrase ‘let the games begin’ being changed to ‘let the waste begin’. 

‘It’s official Brisbane will be holding the Olympics which means funding that could go to schools, hospitals, highways, water security, electricity generation, you name it, has been thrown out so Palaszczuk and Labor, with the backing of Scott Morrison and the Coalition, can waste billions on an Olympics vanity project,’ Ms Hanson wrote on Facebook.

‘Mark my words, we will be seeing cost blowouts and waste that will make your eyes water. 

‘And when it’s time to pay the bill, it’s every taxpaying Aussie who will be forced to pay the price.’ 

Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy, in far north Queensland, even went so far as to blow up a makeshift ‘state economy’ to demonstrate his feelings towards the state hosting the Olympics.

Sharing footage of the bizarre political stunt online, Katter is seen pushing down on TNT explosives as a box representing the ‘economy’ erupted into flames behind him.

Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy, in far north Queensland, even went so far as to blow up a makeshift ‘state economy’ to demonstrate his feelings towards the state hosting the Olympics

‘Premier Palaszczuk blows up Queensland’s economy with her Brisbane Olympics,’ he captioned the video.

‘The Labor party doesn’t want coal or the sugar industry, so I’m not sure what will be funding her 2032 party?’.

Mr Katter has been loud in his opposition to Brisbane hosting the Olympics saying it will drain money from regional areas of the state. 

‘The Queensland economy is being blown up before our eyes,’ Mr Katter told the Townsville Bulletin.

‘We should be focused on a vision for the state out of the pandemic, and I don’t think a two-week sporting carnival is going to be the panacea. 

‘The rest of the world doesn’t think so anyway because no one else has bothered to bid for the 2032 Olympics.’

George Christensen, federal member for Dawson, also said he wouldn’t be supporting the games.

Brisbane residents are seen celebrating the win on Wednesday night with jubilant scenes and a firework display

‘Roads, dams and local services should come before a big sporting event,’ he said.

After the ballot revealed Australia would once again be hosting the Olympics, Scott Morrison was seen throwing a fist into the air via video link in his office in Canberra as coloured fireworks were set off across Queensland.

‘How good is Brisbane, how good is Queensland and how good is Australia?’, he said, adding the city was ‘really shooting for the stars’. 

Brisbane’s hosting of the Games will be the third time the Olympics make their way to Australia (pictured, celebratory fireworks in Brisbane on Wednesday night)

‘The whole world’s going to see it again and we’re just absolutely stoked about this. 

‘Congratulations to everyone involved.’ 

‘It’s a 50/50 partnership, we’re sharing everything in doing this together, that’s what we said we’d do’, the Prime Minister said of the cost of the games. 

‘Share the decisions, share the cost, doing all of this for the people of Australia and the people of Queensland and Brisbane and south-east Queensland. 


Cost: $5billion, estimated

Economic benefit: Queensland – about $8.1billion, plus $8.6billion in increased export opportunities and $20.2billion in international tourist expenditure. Australia – estimated $17.6billion.

Proposed dates: Jul 23 – August 8, 2032   

Venues: 32 venues for 28 sports at Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Melbourne and Sydney  

Brisbane: 22 venues. Popular Brisbane sporting and entertainment venues including Suncorp Stadium (rugby), Ballymore (hockey), the Gabba (athletics), the Chandler Sports Complex (cycling, shooting, diving, gymnastics), the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (table tennis, badminton, fencing, taekwondo), Brisbane Showgrounds (equestrian), Royal Queensland Golf Club (golf), Victoria Park (BMX, equestrian) and Queensland Tennis Centre (tennis).

New venues to be constructed will include the Moreton Indoor Sports Centre (boxing), the Redland Whitewater Centre (canoe/slalom) and the Ipswich Stadium (modern pentathlon).

Brisbane athletes’ village: 300-hectare site in the North Shore Hamilton precinct. 

Gold Coast: Six venues. Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (weightlifting, volleyball preliminaries), Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre (judo, wrestling), Broadbeach Park Stadium (beach volleyball), Broadwater Parklands (triathlon), Coomera Indoor Sports Centre (volleyball, wheelchair rugby), Robina Stadium (football, preliminaries).

Planned residential village for 2600 Gold Coast-based athletes and officials will be built at Robina.   

Sunshine Coast: Four venues. Sunshine Coast Stadium (football -preliminaries), Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre (basketball – preliminaries), Alexandra Headlands (cycling – road, athletics – marathon, walks, sailing – kiteboarding); Sunshine Coast Mountain Bike Centre (mountain biking)

Sunshine Coast satellite athletes’ village in heart of Maroochydore CBD 

Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns (football preliminaries)

Sydney and Melbourne (football preliminaries and quarter finals) 

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