Brisbane’s men-only Tattersall’s Club has decided to end 150 years of gender discrimination by voting to allow women to become members for the first time.
But it almost didn’t happen – with 1405 members voting for the change, and 1368 voting against.
The club was founded in 1865 by ‘a group of gentlemen’ involved in the Queensland horse racing industry.
It describes itself as “one of Australia’s most prestigious private membership clubs”.
Members last voted on whether to allow women more than a decade ago, with the motion being knocked back.
Female relatives and friends had been allowed into the club as guests only.
Reason for change
Tattersall’s Club president Stuart Fraser said the vote to allow women came about after members said they wanted to address declining patronage.
“This ballot follows the most extensive consultation in the club’s history – our members told us they needed us to amend the dress code, dining options and our membership model to reverse a decline in usage of our great club,” he said.
“We welcome the women in our families, the women in our lives, and the women in our communities.”
So what does the law say?
In simple terms, the law says you are not allowed to treat someone differently based on an attribute.
An attribute are things like a person’s sex, age, race, beliefs, sexuality, family responsibilities, political beliefs or pregnancy.
Clubs like Tattersall’s have been granted special exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act, similar to exemptions that are given to women’s-only gyms.
Should be relegated to the dust bin of history
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims welcomed the change.
“It’s 2018 – women run companies, they serve on boards, they are premiers and prime ministers – why on earth would you not want them as part of your club,” he said.
“The days of these old-fashioned, sexist, exclusive mens-only clubs are numbered – they are a relic from a hundred years ago, and should be relegated to the dust bin of history.”
READ MORE: What is discrimination
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If you have experienced discrimination based on your sex, gender or sexuality, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call our expert team at Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
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