Men threaten to quit club after women allowed to join
TATTERSALL'S Club members who say they are "gutted'' by this week's vote allowing women to join have vowed to explore a recount or potential legal challenge to the decision, which was decided by just 37 votes.
Some say they plan to resign in protest, while others allege there are plenty of unanswered questions surrounding the 242 disallowed votes and the way the election was overseen.
Members of the deeply divided Brisbane institution voted 1405 to 1368 to allow women to join for the first time in the club's history, which dates from 1865.
"Huge numbers of members are saying there's a stench around the vote when there's more than six times the number of votes declared invalid than was the margin of victory,'' one said.
President Stuart Fraser said the vote was well-monitored by neutral observers and officers.
But one member alleged that repeated requests to Fraser for supporters of the status quo to act as "scrutineers'' to observe the voting process were rejected.
"That raises a lot of questions about the validity of the outcome that's not necessarily accepted by members,'' he said.
Fraser said yesterday about 150 postal votes had not even been opened because they couldn't be identified as coming from financial members.
Others were tossed out because they had been cast by deceased members, sent by email or come from someone who voted twice.
Of particular concern were 61 votes that were nullified because members had used ticks instead of crosses to fill in ballot boxes.
A majority of these votes still supported the case for change, but it's still not clear why they had to be invalidated if the voting intention was clear.
Member Charlie Green, a prominent stockbroker in Brisbane, said the club should be held to the same standards as a public company.
"If Tatt's was a public company, there'd at least be a recount, including the 61 votes where the intention was clear, as well as more transparency about those 242 (informal) votes,'' Mr Green said.
"Given how close it was - it's closer than Brexit - I reckon there should be a recount, giving the donkey voters another chance and including the disputed 61 votes.
"I don't think we've heard the last of it, put it that way.''
State minister Kate Jones yesterday ended her boycott of the Tattersall's Club, attending a lunch at the venue following the yes vote.
Previously she had rejected invitations to attend official functions at the club.
She said she believed it was important to back institutions when they seek to make such important reform.
"It has taken too long but this is a great day now Tatts have finally seen the light to welcome women," Ms Jones told The Courier-Mail.