The male only Tattersall’s Club prepared to enter the 21st Century last night, when its members voted to allow women to join the club.
Still, the vote in favour of women only narrowly won, with 1368 members voting against women joining club, compared to 1405 members voting in favour of the change. More the 200 votes were declared informal, with reports some members declared cries of “shame”as the result became known.
The vote followed a month long debate on whether women should be allowed in the 150-year old club as members, rather than only if they were attending a function or had access to a ‘partner card’.
It also followed a failed vote on the matter a number of years ago, as well as Sydney’s Tattersall’s Club making the move to allow female members in 2013. Last month the club was described as “out of step with modern Australia” by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The club’s called a “home away from home” for members and refers to itself as one of the country’s “most prestigious private membership clubs.” It offers a number of function options including weddings, corporate functions and school formals.
Will #Tattersall’s vote to end #gender discrimination or will it remain an elite men’s club for the affluent – but not influential as none of the female leaders of Qld are allowed to join @YvetteDAth @AnnastaciaMP @abcbrisbane https://t.co/ytnyQTelcN
— Kerry Carrington (@CarringtonKL) December 19, 2018
Tattersall’s Club president Stuart Fraser welcomed the decision and told the ABC that 63 per cent of the member base voted, the highest for a motion in the club’s history.
Brisbane Tattersalls Club members have voted to allow women as members. pic.twitter.com/pK6KY2TNbT
— Josh Bavas (@JoshBavas) December 19, 2018
“This is a significant moment for Tattersall’s Club. We have been part of Queensland’s history for more than 150 years, and we have evolved continuously over that time.
The move appears to also make financial sense, with the club looking to increase its patronage, introduce a family membership model and ultimately help “reverse a decline in usage of the club”. The function spaces possibly look a little more appealing for event organisers knowing that the women attending can actually join the club they are visiting.
— Cassandra Heilbronn (@LawyerCas) December 19, 2018
Earlier this week the ABC reported that in the weeks before Justice Thomas Bradley’s appointment as a Supreme Court Justice, he put his name to a motion to change voting rules at the club, in a move that would have resulted in it being “practically impossible” for the club to allow women to become members.