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Cite as: December 2015 89 (12) LIJ, p.8

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I have noted with disappointment recent articles in the press and now in the LIJ: “Men’s clubs breach human rights charter”, September 2015, highlighting the apparent discrimination by men’s clubs in not admitting women to membership.

The reason for my disappointment in reading these reports is that the converse is not referred to and that the reports are wholly unbalanced. That is, we also have two women member only clubs in Melbourne, the Alexandra Club and the Lyceum Club, yet these clubs are not referred to in any of the reports. Are we to assume that these clubs are deemed to be non-discriminatory in their membership?

If senior members of the profession wish to be critical of the rules applicable to male-only clubs then one would expect that their criticism should be directed equally to the women-only clubs, or are these seen for some reason as different and sacrosanct.

Please, if we are going to have a rational debate about discrimination at this level then let’s look equally at the rights and wrongs of single sex clubs for both genders and not concentrate on one without reference to the other.

Robert B Turner, legal practitioner
Sauce for the goose

I note with interest Chief Justice Marilyn Warren and Court of Appeal president Justice Chris Maxwell have declined to speak at Melbourne clubs because of their men-only membership rule (LIJ September 2015). Justice Maxwell refers to men’s clubs refusal to admit female members as discriminatory and a breach of the human rights of women.

I also note their Honours do not refer to women’s clubs which refuse to admit male members. Sauce for the goose?

The Country Women’s Association comes to mind as such a women’s only organisation; while I am not able to join, happily I can (and do) stay at their Toorak B&B – surely Melbourne’s best kept secret – albeit at a higher tariff than that for their female members.

Bill Freeman, LIV 50 year member, Buckrabanyule
Gossip just silly

An LIV president’s blog in June 2015 on the topic of bullying in the workplace suggested that gossiping, among a large range of behaviours, could amount to bullying. One of the reasons I have my own tiny practice is that I do not want to get involved in office politics.

However, to elevate gossiping, which has been going on since Adam and Eve, to the level of bullying is emblematic of the need many lawyers have to create laws to attempt to change human nature. Gossiping is annoying and usually undertaken by silly people but rarely would it amount to bullying.

Michael T Helman, solicitor From the president

Thank you for your letter. I appreciate you taking the time, not only to read my blog, but to also send me your views. One of the things I most value about being a member of the LIV is that members can discuss the big issues in a rational and sophisticated manner. Thank you for being part of the conversation.


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