Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been sensationally blocked from speaking at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been sensationally blocked from speaking at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Premier snubbed for Beattie at Games opening

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been sensationally blocked from speaking at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, sparking a bitter feud six days from the showpiece.

The decision is ultimately made by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). However, The Courier-Mail can reveal it has sparked an ugly fallout and anger among senior State Government ranks.

Former Queensland premier and now Games organising committee chairman Peter Beattie will have a speaking role alongside the CGF's Scottish president Louise Martin.

 

Former Queensland premier and now Games organising committee chairman Peter Beattie will have a speaking role at the Opening Ceremony. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Former Queensland premier and now Games organising committee chairman Peter Beattie will have a speaking role at the Opening Ceremony. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

 

It is understood the CGF executive will meet today to discuss a possible speaking role for Ms Palaszczuk at the Closing Ceremony alongside Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate as part of the handover to Birmingham.

Sources indicated the Premier would be unsatisfied with a Closing Ceremony speaking part, and she had been under the impression as late as February that she would speak at the opening.

One stunned high-level Games source said: "How can they think it is OK to have a welcoming ceremony to Queensland with not one Queenslander on stage?"

Ms Palaszczuk tried to steer clear of the controversy yesterday saying: "This is the Gold Coast and Queensland's time to shine and as Premier of the host state, if the situation had been different, of course I would have loved to have given a very warm Queenslander welcome at the Opening Ceremony."

Mr Beattie said there is "no ego in this for me, my only interest is seeing the Games be a success".

Mr Beattie said the host city agreement signed by Queensland's then-Labor premier Anna Bligh in November, 2011, allowed for the CGF to have final say on Opening and Closing Ceremony arrangements.

The agreement also allows for GOLDOC to make representations about the ceremonies to CGF six months out from the Games kick-off.

"I've made representations the Premier should speak, that was my recommendation, but the CGF has made a decision she should not," Mr Beattie said. "I respect their decision. I've offered to give up my spot to the Premier on a number of occasions, but that's entirely a matter for the CGF, nothing to do with me."

The Courier-Mail has been told the CGF is "gun-shy" about any risk of politicisation after Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond - a month from the Glasgow Games in 2014 - declared it would be "Freedom city" in a push for independence.

A CGF statement yesterday said: "As the CGF has stated at every Gold Coast 2018 Coordination Commission visit, it is critical that these Games remain un-politicised.

"Similarly, for the Closing Ceremony, the CGF has an established protocol which includes a representative of the current Games host city and of the future Games host city, who take part in a flag handover sequence."

Games Minister Kate Jones referred comment to the Premier's office.



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