Brave New Weld

Tinkering with discrimination has many faces       7 January 2006

It should not be up to the Labor Government of Western Australia to dictate the rules of private clubs.

There are many examples of clubs throughout the State that discriminate in one way or another.

OLD WORLD: BARRACK STREET, PERTH’S WELD CLUB

The foremost example is Perth’s Weld Club where women are not allowed to be members. However, this is mirrored by the Karrakatta Club, which does not allow males to be members.

There are ‘Women Only’ gymnasiums that no men want to invade and it appears that this argument is being supported by the usual suspects – Jim McGinty and Eric Ripper (seeking votes) and Yvonne Henderson and Sheila McHale (pleading foul on behalf of the modern woman – read feminista).

Golf clubs may be a different story as they allow members and associates – i.e. women are associate members and don’t have voting rights (or diminished voting rights) on club issues. This may be considered discriminatory, although the associates would almost always pay less membership fees to the club.

The Weld and Karrakatta clubs are different because they are the last bastions of exclusivity. Presumably they hold functions that include the opposite sex but they have memberships exclusively of the one sex. These clubs will probably die out through natural attrition.

However, another school of thought may be that they thrive in a coming time where people long for some escape from the opposite sex.

Whether individuals see these clubs as right or wrong, the clubs still have a democratic right to exist under their own set of standards and rules and no government – Liberal, Labor or otherwise – has the right to dictate these standards, especially as no one is harmed.

Will Mr McGinty impose and direct the same standards to Bikie Clubs?

These groups may only allow male members. Apparently they treat girlfriends and women as ‘associates’?                                                                 

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