An Elite Australian Club Has Decided in 2021 That Women Still Aren’t Allowed In

The Australian Club is one of Australia’s oldest gentlemen’s clubs, with membership boasting former prime ministers, CEO's, and other rich people.

The Australian Club

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

In disappointing but expected news this week, members of Australia’s oldest club for old men have voted against women joining the elite group — despite it being 2021 and all.

Yesterday, members of the Australian Club held a once-in-a lifetime meeting for a historic vote that could’ve allowed women to finally sit at the table of the exclusive Australian Club.

Despite a “record turnout” for the vote according to the club, 75 percent voted against the resolution of allowing women to join the club, with only 37 percent in favour of women and 1 percent abstaining.

Meaning the club will pretty much remain the exclusive, elitist club it has been for centuries.

What The Heck Is The Australian Club?

The Australian Club is one of Australia’s oldest gentlemen’s clubs. It was first founded in 1838 and is situated on Macquarie Street.

It’s pretty much a club where rich and powerful men come together to chat about everything from politics and current affairs to fine wines, automobiles, poetry, literature, sport and the arts.

According to its website the club is “where tradition and modernity have skilfully blended to preserve what is best in a club” — preserving the no-women rule, and offering membership by invitation “to gentlemen who are able to embrace the club’s ethos and who enjoy good fellowship”.

Sounds riveting.

But it’s kind of a big deal regarding power and influence over Australian society.

Members of the Macquarie Street club include former Liberal Prime Ministers John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull, not to mention CEOs, significant board and corporation members and judges as well.

The Macquarie Street Club is one of several Australian clubs that still don’t allow women to become members. They do however allow women access to the private club but only as guests accompanied by a male member — how kind of them.

Do Women Even Want To Be A Part Of This Sexist Club?

Despite members apparently being told not to speak about their membership, one senior member told the Sydney Morning Herald following the vote, that “what goes on here that men need to do only with other men … being boorish after a few drinks perhaps?”

And according to high-profile businessman Geoff Cousins, who has since quit the club in protest over the outcome of the vote, some of the men were legitimately worried about having to change their behaviour at lunch if women were to join.

Which just doesn’t sound enticing at all.

But The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson made a good point that women should be allowed to know what happens behind closed doors.

At this stage, both John Howard and Malcom Turnbull have apparently declined to comment on the outcome of the vote.