John Elliott (businessman)

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For other people named John Elliott, see John Elliott (disambiguation).

John Dorman Elliott (born 3 October 1941) is a former president of the Liberal Party, and former president of Carlton Football Club. In 2003 he was found guilty of trading while insolvent and in 2005 declared bankrupt. He has frequently provoked controversy due to his political affiliations, his brushes with the law, and his abrasive personal style.


He completed his secondary schooling at Carey Baptist Grammar School, in Kew. He then attended the University of Melbourne and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and later completed a Master of Business Administration degree at Melbourne Business School.


Elliott joined the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. From there, he and several partners acquired control of IXL Ltd, an Australian Stock Exchange listed jam manufacturer.

Elliott and his team built the company up through a string of acquisitions throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, including Australian corporate icons Elders Limited, an agricultural services concern, Carlton and United Breweries now part of the Foster's Brewing Group and Australia's largest beer manufacturer, and Henry Jones IXL food manufacturer.

During this time he was also a high-profile President of the Carlton Football Club. He was an effective advocate for the club on a range of issues, and during his presidency the club won two VFL (now AFL) premierships.

In 1985 Elliott's company - by then called Elders IXL - played an important role as a white knight in fending off Robert Holmes à Court's attempted takeover of diversified mining company BHP. Elders bought a large share in BHP which blocked Holmes à Court's attempt to take control. As a result Elliott joined the BHP board. He then attempted a management buyout of Elders, but this was unsuccessful and left his A$80 million fortune considerably reduced.

Subsequently the National Crime Authority (NCA) investigated a foreign exchange transaction undertaken by Elders. Though one of his executives was jailed, Elliott was cleared of criminal charges. He accused the NCA of a vendetta inspired by the then Labor government and motivated by his position as Liberal Party President (which he held from 1987 to 1990). He later launched civil action for damages, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

In 1990, Elliott was a vocal supporter of the Multifunction Polis (MFP), a controversial concept to build in Australia a new technology city with a population of 100,000. At the time, the leader of the Liberal Party, Andrew Peacock, was vehemently opposed to the plan, claiming the Multifunction Polis would become an "Asian enclave".[1][2]

Later developments[edit]

After the 2002 AFL season Elliott was sacked as President of the Carlton Football Club, a position he had held for two decades. His term ended when the club was found to have breached the Australian Football League's salary cap conditions, prompting large fines and other penalties. He was also blamed for Carlton winning the wooden spoon in 2002.[citation needed] In a move some thought to be ungracious, given his long service, his name was removed from the club signs at its home ground, Optus Oval, Princes Park.

Elliott's venture into rice milling with Water Wheel Holdings led to a corporate collapse in 2000. In 2003 the Victorian Supreme Court ordered him to pay grain suppliers, farmers and trade creditors A$1.4 million in compensation for allowing Water Wheel to trade while insolvent. He declared himself bankrupt in 2005, owing money to 14 creditors, including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Crime Commission, the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

He was caricatured in Rubbery Figures, a satirical rubber puppet series that screened in Australia in various forms from 1984 to 1990.

Personal life[edit]

He is divorced from Lorraine Elliott, a former Victorian state parliamentarian for the Liberal Party. They have three children. The eldest is Tom Elliott (born 1967), an investment banker and radio and television presenter.


  1. ^ Morgan, Gary C. (11 July 1990). "Now there's Democracy in Russia – Australia must be Next". Roy Morgan Research. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  2. ^ Jupp, James (2007). From White Australia to Woomera: The Story of Australian Immigration. Cambridge University Press. pp. 107–219. ISBN 0-521-69789-1. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ian Rice
Carlton Football Club president
Succeeded by
Ian Collins