The rainbow elephant in the room at AFLW launch

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

There was a jarring juxtaposition on Monday night as Four Corners aired an episode about homophobia in the AFL at the same time as the AFLW season launched and a slew of openly queer players took centre stage.

A few attendees at the launch noted the slightly odd optics of the episode airing while departing AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and his executives, including CEO-elect Andrew Dillon, were in a room with – to put it frankly – so much gay energy.

AFLW stars gather for the season launch.Credit: Dylan Burns / AFL Photos

Non-binary Hawks captain Tilly Lucas-Rodd was on stage and non-binary artist G Flip was announced as the season’s cup ambassador (inexplicably introduced on stage by a Harry Styles song rather than their own work).

Half the AFLW’s captains are openly gay.

As his media team was issuing statements in response to the latest bit of reporting on the AFL’s lack of male out gay players, Dillon gave a speech that did not mention the rainbow-coloured elephant in the room. “I love our game. I love the way it can unite like no other,” he told the room.

Seems about right, because as the ABC report pointed out, the AFL was the only major sporting code in the world that hadn’t had a single elite male player publicly identify as gay.


Nothing like a free pour of Laurent-Perrier to loosen lips – and CBD has been told Monday night’s star-studded 70th-anniversary bash for Arnold Bloch Leibler was a hotbed of hot goss.

Perhaps the hottest rumour in the room: the future of former Victorian governor Linda Dessau. She ended her stint in June, replaced by Monash University VC Margaret Gardner.

Linda Dessau – Australia’s next GG?Credit: John Shakespeare

The word is Dessau is in consideration for an even higher calling: governor-general of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Governors-general tend to get swapped every five years or so; incumbent David Hurley, a former governor of NSW, was appointed in 2019.

Dessau’s team did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.

But the real action at the ABL bash, as ever, was at the back of the room, where Antony Catalano was facing his toughest negotiation yet.

The master dealmaker and property entrepreneur, who sold Metro Media Publishing Holdings to Fairfax Media for many tens of millions, is now trying to determine how much pocket money his kids should get.

His teenage son is pushing for $200 a week, arguing he has to spend $10 a day on his lunch at school. Catalano was testing the market among fellow guests about the fair going rate. It’s a decision with big financial implications for the Cat: the father of nine risks setting an expensive precedent for future pocket-money negotiations.

Former PwC chief executive Luke Sayers (left) with Daniel Andrews at the Arnold Bloch Leibler party on Monday.Credit: Patrick Durkin

Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had positioned himself strategically near the back door of the cavernous Grand Hyatt ballroom, with his good mate and ex-PwC boss and Carlton president Luke Sayers dispatching himself to the bar to fetch the premier a beer.

We hear Dan made a quick tactical retreat at the end of the night – not sure why. But it was the sudden gleam of the lights at 8.02pm that signalled a sharp end to the party. The bar closed at the same time, leaving a few multimillionaires still chasing their Perrier.


The Victorian government has been under increasing scrutiny for its long-standing but unofficial “jobs for the boys” policy.

Among the more than 30 ex-Labor pollies to get golden parachutes are former deputy premier James Merlino, who chairs to the Suburban Rail Loop Authority, Marsha Thomson, who gets $19,999 a year for sitting on the Zoos Victoria board, and Liz Beattie, who is on the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.

Just last week, former minister for health and the arts Martin Foley landed the plum chairmanship of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation, to add to his other recently acquired roles as chairman of Alfred Health and director at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The ombudsman has already been asked to take a look at all this.

Daniel Andrews was defiant when asked about the posts, telling parliament he wouldn’t take grief from the opposition over the issue at the same time that former Liberal Party and Nationals MPs kept hitting him up for board positions.

He even foreshadowed the appointment of a former Liberal minister to a board.

That’s why Labor sources were keen this week to spruik former Liberal assistant treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips’ appointment to the giddy heights of the Wannon Region Water Corporation board, where he will oversee 973 kilometres of sewer mains.

Interestingly, Gordo’s more into ships of the air: he once had to defend the handing of a million-dollar government grant to the private aero club where he happened to be storing his plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article