One of the country’s most elite and selective clubs – a club populated almost exclusively by rich old men, so the story goes – just voted down a measure that would have seen women granted membership for the first time in its 183-year history. Women, collectively, must surely be weeping at this news.
The Australian Club – which allegedly counts the likes of Tony Abbott, John Howard, George Pell, Alan Jones, and James Packer amongst its members – reportedly held a meeting this afternoon on a motion that, if passed, would have permitted women to join the club as members.
Up until now, women have only been permitted inside the walls of club buildings – which occupies prestigious real estate on Macquarie Street in Sydney – as guests, and only if they are being accompanied by a male club member.
Today’s vote, which was charmingly referred to as “The Desirability or Otherwise of Women Being Entitled to Membership of the Club,” required a 75% majority for it to pass. However of the 700-odd ballots that are said to have been cast, 62% voted in favour of the proposal, which was below the required threshold.
The 183-year-old Australian Club is one of the most exclusive clubs in the country, and is said to sport a laundry list of political power, business elite, and flat-out filthy rich men among its members, though an official membership list has never been published.
Regardless, both Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard were in attendance at the club this afternoon, as was former Liberal MP Bruce Baird. A Wikipedia page documenting a supposed list of past and present members also counts Pell, Packer, and a truly stupid amount of post-nominals and honourifics. “Sir Samuel Henry Egerton Barraclough KBE VD” is apparently the name of a real person who, at one time, was a member. So the story goes.
The club maintains “reciprocal” arrangements with other such gentlemen’s clubs across both Australia and the world, including the similarly-named Australian Club in Melbourne, the Knickerbocker Club in New York City, and something called “Boodle’s” in London.
The vote at the fancy boy’s secret clubhouse is binding, and will keep it’s Men Only policy in place.
Women have collectively not issued any official comment on the matter.