‘Big Jack’ back to tell a few tales
Wednesday, 7th August, 2013
By Kurtis J Eichler
Political veteran and controversial businessman John Elliott drew applause and roars of laughter at the South clubrooms last weekend.
The 71-year-old former national Liberal Party president and high-profile Carlton Football Club president was the guest of honour at Souths Old Timers function on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Elliott spoke for almost 90 minutes to a packed hall about his political life, business ventures and association with the AFL, particularly the Blues.
The media was not allowed to report the speech but spoke to the man known for his brushes with the law and his rough and ready style during a short break.
“I was here in 1966-1968 working for Zinc Corporation,” said Mr Elliott, wearing his Carlton tie.
“I was putting in a management system to improve performance at the mines.”
Mr Elliott - who has a Masters degree in Business Administration - spent one week in every four at the mine, then under the helm of Sir Maurice Mawby.
He had not been back to Broken Hill until Sunday when he was invited to attend one of the biggest social events on the South FC’s calendar.
Plenty of questions were fired at Elliot by eager Carlton fans on everything from coach Mick Malthouse’s performance to his thoughts on the club’s future.
He said a ninth-placed Carlton could still enter finals contention if they beat a top-notch side like Essendon.
“After last year you’d like to say they are on the up now.”
Mr Elliott was also full of praise for Blues champion and now chairman Stephen Kernaghan.
In 2002 the club was found to have breached the AFL’s salary cap conditions and incurred a raft of fines and penalties.
“He’s been the glue of the club through difficult times,” Mr Elliot said.
He also praised the South footy club. Mr Elliott does a public speaking circuit, mainly at country and metropolitan Victorian football clubs.
“It’s a fantastic club with a great sense of camaraderie,” he said.
“Everyone works for nothing - not one person gets paid and they are pleased to do it.”
South’s coach Peter Johns went down to Mildura to collect Mr Elliott and drove him the 300km to Broken Hill.
Mr Johns described his company on the journey, and his address to the club, as “fantastic.”
“He’s a really good bloke and a very interesting man,” he said.
Mr Elliott was also on hand to watch former South chairman Grahame Semmens crowned ‘Top Roo.’