View Full Version : Woman donates estate to help "white babies" only

Jan 5th, 2004, 08:23 AM

Bequest for 'white babies' is not racist, rules judge
By Mark Chipperfield in Sydney
(Filed: 04/01/2004)

A court in Australia has upheld the right of an eccentric old lady to leave money to a Sydney hospital for the exclusive treatment of "white babies", ruling that such an act did not breach the country's laws on race discrimination.

Justice Peter Young, a judge in the New South Wales supreme court, ruled that the 82-year-old Sydney woman, Marjorie Williams, was entitled to attach conditions to a charitable gift but he rejected a second proviso in her will that her house be sold only to a "young white Australian couple". He argued that this was too difficult to define.

"There is far more room for uncertainty here than with the words 'white babies'," he said. "Does it mean Australian by birth or a person who has since obtained Australian nationality? Does it mean that both members of the couple must be Australian?"

The judge described Miss Williams, who died in January 2002, as "a lady who had very strong dislikes". She had a particular antipathy towards her brother Eric, who she specified should "not get anything out of the [sale of the] house or one cent of any money".

Miss Williams and her idiosyncratic views came to light after her executor, Stephen Kay, and members of her family including her brother challenged the will. The supreme court ruling has displeased all involved - it upheld the A$10,000 (4,340) gift to the Sydney Children's Hospital but the fate of Miss Williams's house is now apparently in limbo.

Residents of Gaza Road in West Ryde - the quiet Sydney suburb were Miss Williams lived in a modest bungalow for more than 30 years - have been shocked that their elderly neighbour held such strong views.

Audrey Hunt, 85, a long-term resident, said Miss Williams had never made any overt racist comments but did seem to disapprove of the large number of Chinese, Lebanese, Sri Lankan and other migrants moving in.

"It's peculiar that she wanted to leave her money to children," she said. "She was a bit short with our kids. I remember her getting upset about kids running a stick along her fence."

Mrs Hunt said that Miss Williams, who left an estate worth about A$800,000, equivalent to 347,000, had a reputation as a miser - she once complained when asked to contribute a few cents to a floral tribute for an elderly neighbour who had died.

Joyce Garland, 82, said that she was not entirely surprised that the old woman wanted to leave money for white babies: "I know she was upset when she discovered that her new doctor was Chinese, even though he had an English-sounding name."

Moira Young, Miss Williams's niece, described her aunt as "the black sheep of the family". One of three sisters, the spinster had worked in a nursing home for many years but "never really liked anyone". In retirement Miss Williams acquired a reputation for eccentric behaviour by wearing short dresses and weeding her garden while lying on her back.

Other beneficiaries of Miss Williams include the Royal Blind Dog Association and a group of hospital volunteers known as the Pink Ladies. The will made no special bequests to her relatives but made clear her scorn for her brother Eric, Mr Kay, and even Mr Kay's solicitor, who she specified should not be involved in the sale of her property "as I do not like him".

While the intent of Miss Williams's bequest to the Sydney Children's Hospital was overtly racist, the judge found it permissible under Australian law. He said that although the man in the street would have a fair idea of what the term "white children" might mean, it was not specific enough to be used in an Australian court of law.

"Generally speaking, testators can be as capricious as they like," he said. "The gift is valid; it is a charitable gift because it is a gift to treat sick children in hospital."

~ The Leopard ~
Jan 5th, 2004, 08:38 AM
Of course it's racist, but that doesn't mean it breaches anti-discrimination laws. A private individual can be as racist as he or she likes about how he or she spends her own money. I might hate Chinese people and so refuse to eat in Chinese restaurants, and there's nothing illegal about it. However, if my actions are based on racial hate they are, of course, racist.

I guess I can leave my money to whomever I like as well, even if I have a racist motivation.

Anti-discrimination law tries to stamp out racism in employment, provision of housing, how businesses deal with customers, etc, etc, but it doesn't address all racism in private life, and no one has ever suggested that it could or should.

The issue here was not whether the will was racist but whether it broke any laws. The headline writer obviously doesn't know the difference. Another stupid journalist. :rolleyes:

Jan 5th, 2004, 09:01 AM
What the judge "should" have done was invalidate that condition. Problem solved/ case closed /everyone happy.

Is that man on crack or what. HE SAYS: It isn't specific enough to make a case against the condition. But then he says, everyone understands that the money is meant for wite children.


~ The Leopard ~
Jan 5th, 2004, 09:24 AM
^Yeah, God only knows what that was all about. The newspaper report seems to be totally garbled in that para, in addition to the fact that the headline seems to be wrong.

It appears that one of the issues was whether the will's language was clear, but who knows? :scratch:

Newspaper reports of legal judgments are so bad that you almost have to go and read the judgment yourself, but who has time to do that every time there is an interesting case? I'd be pretty sure that the seeming contradictions have come from the journalist rather than the judge. Most Australian judges are pretty smart people. Most Australian journalists are cretins.

Jan 5th, 2004, 02:48 PM
If the woman makes a donation to a hospital, how on earth could she have expected it to be used for treating one set of patients alone :rolleyes:.

I'm not surprised the will was challenged - she sounds :silly:.

The Crow
Jan 5th, 2004, 02:59 PM
Oh well, let them spend all that money on white babies only. I guess they have enough other gifts, so they can spend more of those gifts on babies of other race.

Jan 5th, 2004, 03:27 PM
I dont see how a hospital could spend donations only on a particular set of patients. I assume the hospital would use the money to buy new equipment, or research new treatments, so how on earth would that be tailored so that it would only benefit white babies? Unless they only let white babies use the new x-ray machine or whatever they buy, which is pretty stupid and no one would ever do that.

Jan 5th, 2004, 04:26 PM
the request in her will is most definitely racist and seeing that it is a private issue (will) she still has the right to make this request.

She has the right to make it, but I"m wondering what the implications are for the hospital in taking the gift and adminstering it? Legally and ethically? She has a right to give the money, but does the hospital cross a line saying "we have these funds, but they're only available for white patients"? I suppose they could say that using the biddy's money for white babies leaves them with more of their own funds to give to babies that aren't melanin-deficient, but that's still a bit dodgy.

perhaps she meant to set it aside to treat infants suffering from croc-feeding-related injuries ;)

Jan 5th, 2004, 04:57 PM
So suppose a hospital bought some XYZ piece of equipment with the money, would it only be able to use it on treatment of white babies? Or would the money only be used to settle bills of white babies?

Dawn Marie
Jan 5th, 2004, 08:21 PM
Damn the old lady left this world and will leave a legacy behind that defines her as a cold hearted racist. Not a good way to leave this world eh?

The hospital should not have received the monies it's as simple as that. Yet we all know they will do with the money as they choose and use it their way, which means all babies will have use of the money. I mean if white babies only get to use the money then that will only leave more moneis available for other babies anyway.

Really the only loser here is the lady who died and left behind the fact that she was full of hate.

a pity.

Jan 5th, 2004, 08:35 PM
10k is nothing. my emergency room bill after the car accident i was in was 11k.

Jan 5th, 2004, 08:46 PM
hell, a lot of people spend way more than that on just shoes each year! :lol:

of course, you wouldnt know this from personal experience, would ya? ;) :p

King Satan
Jan 5th, 2004, 08:47 PM
lol atleast she's giving something.

10k for shoes?? :eek:

Dawn Marie
Jan 5th, 2004, 09:47 PM
\The SAD fact is that she gave something but her intentions were full of hate. She was more concerned about giving to "white babies" only then she was to GIVING to humankind period...AND

she stressed more about NOT giving to non whites then she did about giving to "white babies" only and that is such a pity.

Colin B
Jan 6th, 2004, 12:31 AM
Wasn't there a case quite recently in which a dying patient agreed to donate organs, with a caveat that the recipient had to be of the same race?

Or did I imagine it?

Just wondering. :unsure:

Jan 6th, 2004, 04:37 AM
Did this woman post here? She sounds like a couple of our posters :p :eek: :rolleyes: :o

~ The Leopard ~
Jan 6th, 2004, 06:14 AM
^Yeah, true. :lol: