BILL O’CHEE VOTES NO TO WOMEN AT TATTS
THE STATUS QUO
WOMEN won’t be allowed to become members of the Tattersall’s Club if the mood of this week’s annual meeting is anything to go by.
Hundreds of gents packed the Brisbane Institution on Thursday night as the highlycontentious issue of allowing females to join once again flared up. City Beat spies tell us that president Stuart Fraser and other top guns, who appeared to be pushing for a change, will now retreat to weigh up their options, which include a possible vote on the issue down the track.
One irate member asked Fraser whether he’d step down if a vote fails, since it’s about the third occasion the issue has arisen during his time on the committee. Fraser pointedly said he wouldn’t respond to the question.
We hear former National Party Senator Bill O’Chee (illustrated) was the standout backer of the status quo on the night, voicing the sentiment of many in the room who support keeping the heritage and traditions of the 153year-old club intact.
He won applause after he took a potshot at an emailed survey of 5600 members, which drew a response from 1600.
It delivered an inconclusive result on a general question about changing membership that didn’t specifically canvas allowing women to join.
“I’ve seen enough surveys in my time in government and the style they are written is structured towards the answers you want,’’ he said.
WHAT’S clear is that the membership base is ageing and patronage is falling, the meeting heard. Like many clubs these days, Tatts faces the perpetual challenge of attracting new blood.
Intensifying that problem is a bottom line that has been hurt by lost rent from its Queen Street Mall arcade.
Indeed, three significant tenants -the Sono Japanese restaurant, Bankwest and Virgin Mobile – have all vacated retail space in the past 12 months. That’s deprived the club of about $2.3 million in annual revenue.
Opponents of change questioned whether allowing women members would really improve the financial outlook.
After all, mixed membership hasn’t necessarily helped the Brisbane Club, which is understood to have suffered a loss this year.
It certainly didn’t make a difference to the nowdefunct Polo and Queensland Rugby clubs. O’Chee even suggested that most Tatts members
would gladly cough up another $100 each to improve the outlook. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But what’s the longerterm solution? There seemed to be a consensus that the retail space needs to be filled while the food and beverage offerings should be improved.
CARRY THAT WEIGHT
TEAMS of sponsored volunteers carrying 42kg packs for 42 hours started climbing up and down the stairs of Suncorp Stadium yesterday.
They’ll be there through tomorrow, when ceremonies play out for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
It’s all part of a threeyear-long fundraising drive by former Army engineer
Sean Mulqueen to raise $120,000 to build a memorial garden next to the stadium for the 41 Australian troops killed in Afghanistan.
Mulqueen hopes his 60 volunteers will help generate up to $50,000. There’s even talk that the state and federal governments will kick in some dough to get the project over the line.
IF the PNG welcome crew for next Saturday’s APEC summit in Port Moresby makes a good impression, you can thank Jodie BacheMcLean.
The Brisbane-based consultant spent four days there last month training 160 locals in the finer points of protocol and corporate etiquette.
Bache-McLean, who heads up JDW Education and Training, likened it to helping the volunteers who made the Commonwealth Games a success.
“It was a great experience to empower those people,’’ she told us yesterday.