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Ladies’ lunch: Abbott’s big win for women

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has celebrated a decision to hold an International Women’s Day luncheon at a Brisbane club that doesn’t accept female members.

LNP Women – a branch of the Liberal National Party that supports female political participation – has booked the exclusive Tattersall’s Club for its event on March 6.

The club allows only men to join as members.

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Women may receive a partner’s card if their male counterpart consents, or can attend the club as guests or for functions.

Event organiser Peta Simpson said she didn’t see a problem with hosting the event at the club.

“They do have a beautiful venue and they offered us a really good price,” she told AAP on Wednesday.

“If they refused our booking and said no we’re not even interested in hosting it because you’re a women’s group and we’re a men’s club, well then you would have heard from me weeks ago, but that’s not the situation at all.”

The issue reached Parliament on Wednesday, when Opposition Leader Bill Shorten asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott to respond to the decision.

Mr Abbott, the Minister for Women, described the choice of venue as a triumph against “chauvinism”.

“This is just how wonderful this broad church that I lead is … obviously they’ve just broken down the last barrier and they’ve made the men-only club admit women,” Mr Abbott said.

“Admit women! Isn’t that fantastic? At last, this bastion of chauvinism has admitted women and they’ve done it on International Women’s Day because of the Liberal National Party.

“Good on the Liberal National Party, smashing the glass ceiling yet again. I say congratulations and thank God that bastion of old-fashioned chauvinism has finally collapsed like the walls of Jericho at the trumpet cry of the Liberal National Party.”

— with AAP

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