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Sex Discrimination Warning for Australian Golf Clubs

Chyloe Kurdas (Golf Aus.), Kate Jenkins (Australian Human Rights Commission) & Stephen Pitt (Golf Aus.) at today's launch. (Photo: Henry Peters)
New guidelines released today by Golf Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission serve as a warning for Australian golf clubs which may be discriminating against golfers based on gender.

The Australian Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with Golf Australia, launched a 42-page publication titled ‘Guidelines for the promotion of equal opportunity for women and girls in golf’ at Mt Derrimut Golf and Community Club in Melbourne’s west.

Golf clubs are being urged to promote equal opportunity and, in the process, minimise the chance of a successful discrimination claim being made against them.

The guidelines state that golf clubs can avoid discrimination claims by: providing gender neutral membership categories, offering course access at all times for adults and children of all genders and facilitating the participation of women and girls in competitions and governance arrangements.

Speaking at Mt Derrimut - a club which offers seven-day a week open access to all genders - Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Commission, Kate Jenkins, said the guidelines clarify the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and how golf clubs can adhere to it.

“The guidelines provide an opportunity for golf clubs around Australia to revisit their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Act, and to address these issues," she said.

"There's no question that some of our consultations told us things that would be unlawful," Jenkins added.

"This idea that boys can do things but girls can't, you can get certain tee times based on sex; Those are discriminatory practices.

"This is a really nice way to flag for 1500-plus clubs, actually, this is what it should look like now." 

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt strongly encouraged all clubs to read the publication and follow the guidance of the Commission.

“We believe it to be particularly important in assisting clubs to meet their legal obligations and, where there is any doubt as to whether a certain practice complies with the law, we would urge clubs to focus on maximising the inclusion of women and girls and where appropriate, seek legal advice,” Pitt said.

“Everyone who loves our sport should be excited about this latest step we are taking with the Commission to deliver a friendly experience for all golfers, regardless of their sex."

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