The Australian Club vote against female membership

Surprise, surprise: The Melbourne Club vote to prohibit female membership after 142 years

Melbourne Club

The Melbourne Club will not be changing its rule anytime soon to allow women in as members. 

On Tuesday afternoon, president Michael Bartlett announced the results of a survey conducted of the club’s 1500 members.

The survey apparently failed to produce majority support for a change to the rule. 

“A clear majority of members who completed the survey have expressed the view that the membership base of the club should remain men-only, which is in keeping with the 142-year history and tradition of the club,” Bartlett wrote in an email obtained by AFR’s Aaron Patrick.

“It is clear that the maintaining of friendships and the club’s history and traditions are the two primary reasons for becoming a member of the club, well ahead of any business, professional or work-related considerations.”

Bartlett also revealed that his sources claimed fewer than 400 members (roughly one quarter of members) wanted to allow women into the club. 

The survey was conducted by Melbourne-based market researcher JWS Research, according to Patrick, and began its research last December.

Currently, women are only permitted to dine in the club, and participate in its functions. 

Barlett told AFR he was not privy to the full details of the survey, such as the nature of each questions asked, why the members valued the club, and their opinions about the changes to the rules. 

Members of the club are currently permitted to read the report at the club’s site on Collins Street.

The Melbourne Club, founded in 1838, requires its members to pay a yearly fee of $375 and has included high profile public figures such as Malcom Fraser, former Chief Justice Owen Dixon, High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne and former CEO of Western Mining Corporation, Hugh Morgan. 

Last June, the men-only Australian Club in Sydney’s Macquarie Street voted against allowing women to join the group. 

The club released a statement saying:

“The Australian Club today held a Special General Meeting to consider a specific resolution for the purpose of amending the Club’s Constitution to allow women to be Members. There was a record turn-out of members to consider and vote on the resolution. The meeting determined that the 75 percent threshold to pass the resolution was not met.”

The Club, which was also founded in 1838, has included members such as John Howard, George Pell, Malcolm Turnbull and James Packer and Kerry Packer.

The Melbourne Club’s president Michael Bartlett told AFR that his club was considering a “luncheon session to present the findings” and that he would “gauge member interest in such an event.”

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