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Friday, 20 August 1920

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Elliot Johnson (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! The honorable member is going beyond the scope of 'the Bill.

Mr BAMFORD - Reverting to the suggestion which I made during the last election campaign, I remind the House that the persons who suffer most during a strike are the women and children. Recently the women at Broken Hill voiced their opinion and asked for some relief, which, of course, they were not able to get in a legal way. My suggestion is that before any strike is declared there should be a secret ballot conducted by independent officials, in which the wife of every unionist should have a vote. I put that proposal before my electors in December last, and it received very favorable consideration from the women. A little time ago I read that there were in Broken Hill many young men who appeared to be both well-fed and wellclothed. The strike had caused them- no suffering. Relief funds were being sent from all parts of the Commonwealth, and the men went short of nothing. They got their regular meals, their tobacco, and their beer, and experienced very little disadvantage from the strike. The real suffering is always borne by the women and the children, who look to the mothers for food and comforts. I know the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) is a man to whose sympathies one can appeal, and I ask him to give earnest and favorable consideration to the suggestion that the wife of every unionist should be provided with a ticket, similar to the old elector's right in New South Wales, which would entitle her to a vote in a secret ballot upon any question of striking.

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