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Former Liberal party president and Carlton boss John Elliott dies aged 79

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Joe Castro/AAP</span>
Photograph: Joe Castro/AAP

John Elliott, the controversial Australian businessman and former federal president of the Liberal party, has died aged 79.

Elliott was also president of the Carlton football club for two decades before being sacked in 2002 after the club breached salary cap rules.

He was federal president of the Liberal party in the late 1980s. He tried to stage a political comeback in 2012 by running for Melbourne city council.

Elliott’s son, broadcaster Tom Elliott, confirmed the death.

“Sadly, my father, John Elliott, died just a couple of hours ago,” he told 3AW radio in Melbourne on Thursday night.

“He had been ill for a few weeks. He had a bad fall a little while back and had been at the Epworth hospital at Richmond. We got the very sad news this afternoon that he had taken his last breath.”

The current federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, on Thursday night tweeted: “Very sad to learn of the passing of former Liberal Party & @CarltonFC President John Elliott. He was a proud Victorian and a larger than life figure.”

Elliott quit Elders IXL, the former jam company he turned into Australia’s biggest brewery, in May 1990. Earlier that year, the National Crime Authority had started investigating the management buyout of Elders.

When it finally came to nothing, Elliott launched an unsuccessful damages action.

He later moved into rice milling through Water Wheel Holdings, which collapsed in 2000. In 2003, the Victorian supreme court ordered him to pay $1.4m in compensation after finding he’d allowed the company to trade while insolvent.

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Elliott declared himself bankrupt in 2005. After the bankruptcy was lifted, he maintained a public profile, including with speaking engagements.

- additional reporting Australian Associated Press

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