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Friday, 20 October 1911

Senator WALKER (New South Wales) . - f think that most honorable senators will admit that a Bill of this kind especially should be above party. Its framers should consider the whole ' community, and not that section which is supposed to be on their side.

Senator O'Keefe - That is exactly what they did.

Senator WALKER - I am afraid that the Bill will introduce, if that has not already been done, the policy of "Spoils to the victors." The first clause to which I wish to refer is that dealing with voting by post. Senator Millen commented yesterday upon the very large number of persons who will lose their opportunities for voting if this provision be carried. It will press very hardly on men and women who are in delicate health, and who are unable to leave their homes. It will especially affect women. Since yesterday, I have looked into the figures relating to the population of Australia, and I find that, roughly speaking, there are 120,000 Births in this country annually. We may say that, on an average, a mother is compelled to keep to her house about oneeighth of the year preceding and following the birth of a child. Consequently, one-eighth of the mothers of this country would be disfranchised by the abolition of the right to vote by post. In other words, out of 120,000 mothers 15,000 will be disfranchised under this Bill. Senator Henderson kindly drew my attention to a newspaper entitled the Labour Call. I propose to read a short extract from it headed " A tribute to woman." When I have finished, I shall ask honorable senators opposite whether they are paying a proper tribute to women "by depriving 15,000 women, at every election, of the right to vote by post. The passage, which I comm'end to my honorable friends opposite, reads as follows -

It takes a hundred men to make an encampment, but one woman can make a home. I not only admire woman as the most beautiful creature that was ever created, but I reverence her as the most redeeming glory of humanity, the sanctuary of all virtues, the pledge of all perfect qualities of heart and head. It is not just nor right to lay sins of men at the feet of women. It is because women are so much better than men, that their faults are considered greater. A man's desire is the foundation of love, but a woman's desire is bom of her love. The one thing in this world that is constant, the one peak that arises above all Clouds, the one window in which the light forever burns, the one star that darkness cannot quench, is woman's love. It rises to the greatest height, it sinks to the lowest depths, it forgives the worst injuries. It is perennial of life and grows in every climate. Neither coldness nor neglect, harshness nor cruelty, can extinguish it. A woman's love is the perfume of the heart. This is the real love that subdues the earth; the love that has wrought all miracles of art, that gives us music all the way from the cradle song to the grand closing symphony that bears the soul away on wings of fire. A love that is greater than power, sweeter than life, and stronger than death.

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