Mens-Only Clubs and the Freedom of Association

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Commentary On June 15 around 700 members of Sydney’s exclusive Australian Club voted on a motion to determine whether women were allowed to be full members. Currently, women are only welcomed as guests of existing members but are not eligible to become full members. The Cub, founded in 1838, is described on its website as “a private members” club situated in the heart of Sydney with “unparalleled views of the Botanic Gardens and North Shore.” The website claims that “tradition and modernity have been skillfully blended to preserve what is best in a club for today’s Members, where Members bring their guests to enjoy the best amenities the Club has to offer.” The Australian Club has reciprocal arrangements with several other private members’ clubs nationally and internationally. The proposal to admit women was defeated, with 62 percent of members voting against the motion, against 37 percent who voted in favour. …

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