A HERVEY BAY hotel discriminated against a political party founder by telling her the party was not welcome and by not allowing her and supporters to enter the pub, a tribunal has found.
Beach House Hotel and its general manager Paul Robins have been ordered to pay anti-Islam Love Australia or Leave party founder Kim Vuga $2500 compensation.
It is for direct discrimination on the basis of political belief.
The manager had told Ms Vuga, in a call the day before she and supporters were to meet at the hotel "for drinks'', that he did not want anything to do with her political party.
Mr Robins also discriminated by saying the party was not welcome at the hotel and on August 9 last year, Ms Vuga and supporters were not allowed to enter the hotel or its car park.
"A substantial reason for these things happening was Ms Vuga's political belief,'' Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Jeremy Gordon said in his decision.
Mr Gordon rejected the hotel's and Mr Robins's defence that the exclusion was because of concerns about the health and safety of hotel staff.
Two weeks before Ms Vuga planned to hold a meeting in Hervey Bay, a party representative was told by a duty manager they could only meet at the hotel for drinks.
A party flyer later advertised a "meet for drinks'' at the hotel and said: "Venue of meeting given on arrival''. The party had booked the local RSL for a meeting, but the club later cancelled.
After seeing the party's flyer, on August 8 last year, Mr Robins became concerned that people were being invited to a meeting at the hotel the next day.
Mr Robins was told by police that there could be up to 200 people turn up, including supporters and protesters. It was to be at a time when families with children would be in the main bar.
In the phone call to Ms Vuga, Mr Robins told her they could not meet at the hotel or in the carpark and said: "Sorry, I don't want anything to do with your association''.
In an email, Mr Robins later told Ms Vuga: "We do not want to get involved or have the name of our business associated with the party''.
Mr Robins also made comments to media, which Mr Gordon said clearly showed he was saying the hotel did not support Ms Vuga's views and it should not be associated with them.
Ms Vuga had wanted $25,000 compensation, but Mr Gordon found she was unlikely to have suffered much offence or humiliation by the exclusion.
"She was able to convert what happened to her advantage through the media,'' he said, also rejecting her application for the hotel to publish apologies and have anti-discrimination training.
Ms Vuga, who represented herself in the tribunal, said she always knew she had a strong case for a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act, on ground of political belief.
She said it was important to stand up and make sure anybody affiliated with a political party did not suffer from discrimination.
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