Canberra Club Bans Man For Political Views, Compensates $63K

A Canberra club has been asked to compensate Danijel Kovac with almost $63,000 as it violated his dignity by banning him from membership for his political views against the Croatian politics in 2011.

One of the Canberra club’s board members allegedly found Kovac’s views to be “inappropriate.” According to the Canberra Times, the board members claimed that there were Facebook posts that showed Kovac attacking the club. They also claimed that there were photographs that indicated his links to the Nazi flag, proving him to be an “unsuitable character” despite the accused not seen in the photos itself.

Following Kovac’s complaint against the ban on his membership application to the Canberra club, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal discovered in 2014 that the club reacted on the matter unlawfully. Kovac told the tribunal that the club reacted in that manner because the board members disagreed with his views. The man filed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission first in 2012 and from there he had been referred to the ACT tribunal.

The tribunal also heard that Kovac’s brother’s membership was terminated for six months for his reported aggressive behaviour earlier to the former’s situation. The tribunal found that the views put forth by Kovac were general political beliefs on Christian democratic politics. It claimed the man’s views to be different to that of club’s board members’ views.

“The political conviction of the applicant may be contrasted with the views of the [board]. The tribunal does not accept that the [board] necessarily held a right-wing, totalitarian political view which is inextricably linked to the right-wing elements of the independent state of Croatia,” it said as quoted by the ABC. “However, the tribunal finds that the use of the terminology ‘proud Croatian strategic direction’ in the rejection letter and ‘in defiance of the political correctness of today’ in the newsletter, encompassed a statement about the board’s political beliefs which were contrary to the applicant’s political conviction.”

This week, the tribunal has ordered the club to allow Kovac membership and compensate him for the damage worth $62,817.

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