Concord Golf Club went on trial over alleged sex discrimination
Club president Ian Crichton said he preferred not to comment as negotiations were still ongoing. However, he continued to stress that the club has no desire to keep any agreement confidential and he hopes they can resolve a “technical issue with the way NCAT can issue its consent order” and settle the case.
“We have reached an agreement. We cannot find a way to document this agreement that is satisfactory to both parties,” Crichton said.
In a statement, NCAT said it would only issue an order with consent if the terms were acceptable and lawful. “Consent orders are issued by the court on the basis that both the claimant and the defendant have reached an agreement on a case,” it said.
The 18-hole private Concord Golf Club opened in 1899 and hosted the Australian PGA Championship in the early 1990s and the 2004 Women’s Australian Open. In the documents provided to the arbitral tribunal, Kirby states that the club currently has 544 platinum male and 31 female members.
The parties have a conflicted history; In 1994, Kirby took the club before the Anti-Discrimination Committee and secured women the right to drink in the members’ bar (they were already allowed to serve drinks).
Kirby also expressed sadness at an email from men’s captain Ken Lockery in 2022, which said the men’s major events would be held on a Saturday “so that men who work full-time during the weekday are not excluded”.
“They live in another world, these men, everything is a secret.” “It just seems sad that we have to go to war to be heard.”
Concord Golf Club member Judith Kirby
Lockery said Saturday is the most popular matchday for men and Tuesday is the most popular day for women, so it makes sense to do it that way. Mixed events take place on Sundays.
“She’s a member of the club, she has the right to advance issues that she feels are important,” Lockery said of Kirby’s campaign. “I will not criticize that.”
Some members are also concerned that the club is spending membership funds to keep Clayton Utz in the case. Crichton said once the matter is resolved, he will disclose full details, including costs, and members will be able to make up their own minds.
Kirby said antiquated attitudes are still prevalent among the predominantly male members who have run and founded private golf clubs. “They live in another world, these men, everything is a secret,” she said. “It just seems sad that we have to go to war to be heard.”
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