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Friday, 4 October 1912

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) - - The charge has been repeated again and again against me that I have insulted the womanhood of Australia. But with my amendment before the Committee my meaning must be open and clear to every one. Towards the close of the debate last night, in order thai there might be no mistake, I read certain principles, which will appear in Hansard. One of them was that respect for motherhood was binding both on the nation and the individual. But, notwithstanding that I made that thoroughly clear, my meaning is still distorted - maliciously and deliberately, I am afraid - by Senator Needham. I have indicated the evil which I wish to prevent. Every one now understands it. If some such amendment is not to be inserted in the Bill, I do not see how that evil is to be guarded against. We have all heard of throwing sops to Cerberus. There is a certain moral condition, happily not too prevalent in society, but still existent, to" which I object to throwing sops. My amendment would permit an unfortunate woman to be assisted in the best and safest way. To secure that object is my only desire. The Bill at present is defective, and it is in order to guard against moral profligacy that I have moved the amendment. Every one now understands it, and any honorable senator who does not withdraw the imputations he has made against' me is, I will say again, lying to himself and to his own heart.

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