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The struggle for women's suffrage in Queensland.


Several failed attempts were made to extend the franchise to women in Queensland between 1890 and 1904 (1) before success was finally achieved by the passing of the Elections Acts Amendment Act in early 1905. They must be seen in the context of the prevailing conditions in the new colony, and in the context of the major stakeholders of the day.

When Queen Victoria signed the Order-in-Council of 6 June 1859 to excise the northern two-thirds of New South Wales to form the new colony of Queensland, the men over twenty-one who lived up there and earlier that year had voted for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, would probably have assumed they would remain enfranchised. Unfortunately, Queen Victoria had signed the Order of Separation prior to NSW granting manhood suffrage, and when the first Queensland election was held in April and May of 1860 a NSW roll from which about a third of the names had been removed was used. (2) Accordingly, a large section of the males in the new colony were disenfranchised.

The new colony repealed many of the provisions of the 1858 New South Wales electoral legislation pertaining to the collection of electoral lists, (3) and enacted fairly stringent conditions that had to be met before your name could be entered on the voter's roll. You had to be a man of twenty-one years, a natural born or naturalized subject of Her Majesty or legally made a denizen of Queensland, and there were various property qualifications. (4)

Thus, instead of manhood suffrage for all males over twenty-one, as was the case in South Australia (1856), Victoria (1857) and New South Wales (1858), the new colony adopted a system designed to favour the conservative pastoral interests. In fact, the new colony at that time could be fairly described as Australia's equivalent of the American Wild West, controlled by wealthy pastoralists. Like the Wild West there were vast lands to be opened up, native inhabitants to oppress, and gold to be found. The Wild West differed in one important aspect, apart from everybody carrying guns, in that it had already enfranchised its women. (5)

It wasn't until 1872 that there was anything remotely resembling manhood suffrage in Queensland. The six months residency qualification was retained, but property qualifications were relaxed in as much as you could now register if your leasehold property only had eighteen months to run, or if you had been in possession of leasehold property for eighteen months instead of the previous three years requirement. Also the maximum vote that could be cast by an individual in the same electorate was now one. However, this new legislation also introduced a restriction that did not exist before: "Provided also that no aboriginal native of China or of the South Sea Islands or of New Holland shall be entitled to vote except under a property qualification." (6) Presumably this measure was introduced to ensure that the Chinese on the goldfields in the 1870s, and the Kanakas imported to work in the cane fields were not enfranchised.

The retention of the six months provision continued to disadvantage the mostly single male itinerant workers who never stayed in a place long enough to fulfil the residency requirement. A significant sector of the over twenty-one male population was disenfranchised because they were unable to fulfill the six months residency qualification, or own or lease property. Rich men could make multiple registrations to vote if they owned multiple property. The voting system, known as plural voting, allowed a man to vote in any electorate in which he held property. A wealthy pastoralist could cast multiple votes at a single election and, in theory, also buy votes by sub-dividing his land and registering the various lots in the names of friends and supporters who would then presumably vote for him.

Needless to say there were many even in the 1890s who were still opposed to electoral reform. In 1895 John Cameron was adamant that: 'I have never believed in the principle of one man one vote, and nothing will convince me that all men should have equal voting rights.' (7) In 1897 William Armstrong expressed a similar view: 'The country should recognize thrift by allowing a property vote ... one man one vote will lead to a preponderating influence of the towns over the country.' (8) Other members in that debate expressed the same sentiments: 'If the country is to be wisely and judiciously governed, it must be governed by the best intellects that we have, and not by the unthinking mob.' (9) 'I do not believe, for instance, that a man who is idle, dissolute, and disaffected, and who carries all his belongings under his hat, is the equal of a man who by his industry, thrift, and temperate habits has made a home for himself.' (10)

Two years later, in 1899, the Home Secretary bemoaned the fact that: 'Now, the leading principle of this Bill is, of course, one man one vote. I little thought that it would ever fall to my lot to be the one to introduce a Bill of this sort into the Assembly.' (11)

Parliamentary Politics

Although there were two houses of parliament those qualified to vote could only do so for the Legislative Assembly which was elected for five years and initially comprised twenty-six members drawn from sixteen electorates. Three year parliaments were introduced in 1890, by which time there were sixty electorates returning seventy-two members. The members of the Legislative Council were appointed for life, and it remained an appointed house until its abolition in 1922. (12)

In theory all those qualified to vote could also stand for parliament but, as MPs did not receive expenses until 1886 (13) and were not paid until 1889, (14) the system ensured that only wealthy men could afford to become politicians. Members of the Legislative Council, however, received neither salary nor expenses, although they did get free railway passes. Voting in Queensland was first past the post from 1860-1892 when 'contingent' (optional preferential) voting was introduced, (15) and by 'secret ballot'. In 1914 Queensland became the first state to introduce compulsory registration and voting. (16)

The new colony's discriminatory voting system was one of the causes of the enormous political turmoil and instability that lasted for some fifty years. Queensland produced Australia's most radical and militant labour movement which resulted in the formation of the Trades and Labour Council in 1885, and eventually the Labor Party in 1891. (17)

Owing to the lack of an entrenched party system, allegiances changed, and governments came and went; even during the fifteen years (1890-1905) of the women's suffrage campaign Queensland had seven changes of governor, with six different individuals occupying that position. Even then they consisted of only three full governors, plus two lieutenant-governors, one lieutenant-governor administering, and one administrator. (18) In the same period there were nine premiers, (19) three changes of speakers in the lower house (20) and two different presidents of the Legislative Council. (21) In addition, there were five state general elections, (22) two federal general elections, (23) one state referendum, (24) a Royal Commission, (25) three Constitutional Conventions, the great shearers' strike of 1891, and the depression of 1892.

Clearly then every government of the day considered it had more important things to worry about than votes for women, and herein lay part of the problem because most of the legislation introduced into the parliament to effect this reform was private members' Bills. These are notoriously difficult to steer through two houses of parliament unless they have the support of the government and, in any case, most of the Bills were encumbered by other issues.

The Labor Party's position was quite clear, it supported votes for women, but its first priority was the abolition of the plural vote. (26) It is difficult to say whether the non-Labor parties were as implacably opposed to giving women the vote as they were to the abolition of the plural vote because most of the Bills contained both issues, (27) but they did have their share of powerful misogynists. These included the Colonial Secretary/Home Secretary Horace Tozer (MP 1871, 1888-98) (28) who had recommended shooting down the striking shearers in 1891; and Premiers Nelson (MP 1883-1906) (29) who later as governor must have found it particularly galling to give assent to the successful 1905 franchise bill; Byrnes (30) who maintained it was against the wish of women to have the vote thrust upon them; Dickson (31) who made political mileage by tying the plural vote into the federation referendum, then promised a referendum about women's suffrage, but died in office before his word could be tested; and Philp who ,appears to have been totally duplicitous with respect to women's suffrage, and only offered the so-called 'baby vote'. (32)

Women's Activism

The suffragists (33) campaigned through their various organizations. They tended to be white, Anglo-Saxon women, based mainly in the towns, especially Brisbane and, by and large, from the upper and middle classes. (34) There seems to have been regular contact between suffrage groups in the six colonies and, even, with similar groups in Britain and America. Queensland was in no way isolated in terms of its suffrage campaigns, but only the wealthier women would have had the necessary leisure or money to keep up this regular contact. (35)

Poorer women, particularly those who worked in the factories and sweat shops, didn't have much time to worry about the vote and were not organized before 1890 when Emma Miller and May Jordan (36) founded Brisbane's first women's trade union, known as the Female Workers' Union, to try to improve the appalling conditions which existed for working women. There had been a couple of attempts in 1887 and 1889 to organize a tailoresses union, no doubt inspired by the Melbourne tailoresses strike of 1882, but these came to naught. (37)

Thomas Glassey raised the issue of conditions in sweat shops in parliament, (38) and the following year the government set up a Royal Commission into Shops, Factories and Workshops 1891, the first Royal Commission on which women were allowed to sit. Emma Miller gave evidence to the Commission. There were two Reports--the first recommended early closing at 6pm signed by labour representatives and all the women; the second was signed by commissioners linked to the Traders' Association. It was shelved by the government, and legislation for early closing was not passed until 1900. (39)

During the 1880s working women in Brisbane had to cope with typhoid, bad sanitation, inadequate pure water, and poor housing. Girls were denied access to higher education, women workers were restricted to manual tasks and, of course, female wages were lower. (40) They weren't even able to own their own property until the Married Women's Property Act of 1890.

Suffrage organizations

The first women's suffrage organization in Australia appears to have been founded in Melbourne by Henrietta Dugdale in 1884. Queensland's first such organization is not recorded until a meeting held in Wickham Terrace on 4 February 1889 at the home of Mrs Elizabeth Edwards, where it was agreed that the Queensland Women's Suffrage League be formed. (41) The QWSL was short lived, however, and existed for two years only--February 1889-May 1891.

By this time, the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) (42) had established branches in all states. Established in Brisbane on 3 September 1885, its primary objective was of course in its name. It decided to form a suffrage department and take up the cause in 1891, but did not embrace the women's vote with any great enthusiasm until Eleanor Trundle (43) became its suffrage superintendent in 1893, and would be instrumental in pushing for the women's vote in that capacity until 1905. The WCTU also lobbied the federal government in support of the federal franchise. (44)

The WCTU's decision to pursue the women's vote was no doubt influenced by the fact that, no matter how hard it tried to influence the government of the day, it made little headway. This was especially galling to them in the light of legislation such as the Contagious Diseases Act of 1868 which specified that women, but not men, could be forcibly examined for sexually transmitted diseases and then incarcerated in hospitals if they were infected, and the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1891 which maintained the age of consent at twelve. The WCTU's 1897 annual report recognized that the organization was helpless without the vote. The WCTU also raised other questions such as the father's right to power over his children, and unequal wages in the education department. Clearly it considered that the franchise would act as a springboard when lobbying the government in a range of areas. The WCTU always emphasized its non-party political alignment, however, and campaigned through its networks, especially the church. (45)

Emma Miller was active in various political organizations, and the Workers' Political Organisation, of which she was a foundation member and later a life member, was the forerunner of the Labor Party. (46) Emma Miller become a founding member of the next suffrage organization, the Women's Equal Franchise Association (WEFA), formed on 28 February 1894 with Eleanor Trundle as president and Leontine Cooper as vice-president. (47) Shortly afterwards Leontine Cooper resigned and formed a new group called the Women's Suffrage League (WSL). (48) In April the same year new elections were held in WEFA and Emma Miller replaced Eleanor Trundle as president.

Few records of WEFA have survived, but it appears to have campaigned strongly on a range of issues besides the franchise. It petitioned parliament for the vote on 4 September 1894; circulated letters regarding the vote to all MPs in July 1894 and February 1896; and sent several deputations to Home Secretary Tozer and Secretary for Public Works Dalrymple regarding a female inspector of orphanages in November 1896; to Tozer regarding a female inspector of factories in December 1896; and to Premier Byrnes with respect to the franchise in August 1898. (49)

Thus by 1894 there were three women's pressure groups campaigning for the enfranchisement of women in Queensland, and all were expanding throughout the state. They used the tried and true campaigning methods of public meetings, demonstrations, protests, resolutions, relentless leafleting of MPs, and petitions to parliament. (50) However, although they shared a common suffrage goal, and expressed sympathy for the conditions under which working women were forced to toil, that is where the similarity ended. Co-operation did happen from time to time, however, and was of course much easier during this period owing to the relative lack of strong political party affiliation. They seem to have worked reasonably well with one another from the time when the abolition of the plural vote was promised in 1899, until just prior to the December 1903 federal election when two new suffrage groups were formed.

The first of these was the Queensland Women's Electoral League (QWEL) which was founded by Margaret Ogg and Mrs Leslie Corrie, and supported by the non-Labor parties, and received funding from the Queensland National Defence League. (51) Its aim: to encourage and preserve private enterprise, and combat unnecessary interference by the State with the individual rights and liberties of its citizens, (52) is quite clearly the ideology of liberalism. QWEL campaigned through the non-Labor establishment and the newspapers. Its objects were to: Educate women in the use of the franchise and generally to promote the interests of women and children, to organize meetings, lectures, and deputations, to arrange for the selection of suitable candidates by ballot amongst the members, and to take any other steps which may be deemed advisable in order to obtain reforms on legislation whereby the interests of the whole community may be conserved. (53)

To this end Margaret Ogg, who was to be the secretary of QWEL for the next thirty years, travelled around Queensland campaigning for women's suffrage. On one such foray she subdued a heckler with: 'The gentleman is obviously a confirmed woman hater; for his own peace of mind I would strongly advise that he refrain from wedlock, as his father did before him.' (54)

QWEL was principally, though not solely, concerned with the suffrage and getting women elected to parliament. It also campaigned for: 'Equal pay for men and women workers where equal standard is required.' (55) It advocated that preference be given to Australian and British goods, to the establishment of bush nursing homes and a permanent home for disabled soldiers, and that a chair of domestic science be set up. It also approached Premier Kidston and Home Secretary Appel to raise the age of consent from 14 to 17. (56) The influence of QWEL can be appreciated from the fact that on at least two occasions its guest speaker was the Prime Minister of the day. (57)

The other group was the Women Workers' Political Organisation (WWPO) which had been formed by Emma Miller and the other women from WEFA. (58) This campaigned through the unions and Labor organizations on a platform of equal pay for equal work, the nationalization of monopolies, and equal marriage and divorce laws. (59)

Between them the various suffrage groups had most of society covered--the non-Labor establishment, the Labor organizations and unions, and the churches. They all contained amazing and formidable women including Emma Miller (60) (WEFA and WWPO), Leontine Cooper (61) (WFL), Elizabeth Brentnall (62) and her daughter Flora (later Mrs E B Harris), Agnes Williams, (63) Mrs W H Carvosso (64) and Eleanor Trundle (WCTU), Margaret Ogg and Lilian Cooper, Queensland's first woman doctor (QWEL). (65)

All these organizations could take heart from events in Australia and overseas. New Zealand became the first country in the world to enfranchise women in September 1893, although they were not given the right to stand for parliament at the same time. Then with the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia, all persons (including Aborigines) allowed to vote for the lower house of their state at that time received the federal franchise with the passing of the Australian Commonwealth Act of 1900. This meant that women in South Australia and Western Australia were able to vote in the first federal election which was held on 29/30 March 1901.

However, Queensland women had to wait until the Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902 extended this to include women in the rest of Australia. This Act was assented to on 12 June 1902, and Queensland women voted for the first time in the second federal election on 16 December 1903. Thus Australia became the second country in the world to enfranchise women, and the first to allow them to stand for parliament.

In theory, Aboriginal women were enfranchised at the same time as other women: in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, but legislation specifically excluded them (along with Aboriginal men) in Western Australia and Queensland. (66) In those states where Aborigines technically possessed the federal franchise they were often discouraged from voting, however, and the situation was not resolved until the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1949 confirmed that all Aborigines who were entitled to vote for the lower house of their state or had been a member of the Australian Defence Force, were entitled to vote in federal elections. (67) The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962 extended the federal franchise to all other Aborigines in Australia (ie in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory), and the Queensland and Western Australian governments extended their state vote to Aborigines soon afterwards. (68)

The Struggle for Votes for Women

Besides the gradual spread of the women's franchise in other parts of Australia, Queensland women had a few other things going in their favour, not least of which was the steady increase in the number of Labor MPs in the Queensland Parliament as the suffrage campaign progressed, plus the fact that Queensland women would vote in the 1903 federal election. The upsurge in Labor numbers began with the election of the first endorsed Labor candidate, strike leader and shearer, Tommy Ryan, who became the MLA for Barcoo at a by-election in 1892.

The idea of women's suffrage was first put before the Queensland Parliament in 1870 by Premier Charles Lilley during a debate on electoral reform. (69) He lost office the same year but remained a staunch supporter of the enfranchisement of women. In 1892 William Taylor made the suggestion, but did not move a motion, that propertied women should be added to the electoral roll. (70) The first serious attempt at reform was made by Richard Hyne with a private member's Bill on 29 July 1890. (71) This Bill was quite clear and unencumbered, and gave women the vote under the same conditions as men. It was a matter of justice: they paid taxes without representation, and they had to obey laws they had no say in formulating, Hyne pointed out. Although the bill was shelved and no vote was taken, the issue had been given an airing.

The next attempts occurred in 1894 when Charles Powers (72) and Thomas Glassey (leader of the Legislative Assembly's sixteen Labor MPs) (73) introduced separate private member's Bills to enfranchise women. The Powers Bill was encumbered by including the abolition of plural voting, and the Glassey Bill by including all itinerant workers. The Glassey Bill stated it applied to all natural-born or naturalised British over the age of twenty-one, but excluded Aboriginal natives of Australia, or those from Japan, China, India or parts of Asia, Africa, South Seas or Oceania. (74)

The Bulletin produced numerous cartoons about women's suffrage around Australia. This one is dated 29 September 1894.

Plural voting was very dear to the non-Labor side of politics as it was one of the bases of its power, and the proposals in the Glassey Bill for enfranchising itinerants were clearly unworkable. Inevitably both Bills failed to gain enough support in the Legislative Assembly. The following year they both tried again. This time Powers dropped women and concentrated on the plural vote, but again both Bills came to naught. (75)

A referendum to decide whether Queensland would become part of a federated Australia was held on 2 September 1899, and was passed by a small majority of about 7000. The Premier, James Dickson, an opponent of women's suffrage, promised to abolish plural voting if the referendum was passed, but was silent with respect to the women's vote. (76) A one-man-one-vote bill was drafted, but his government fell before it went before parliament. The wording of the bill had upset the women's suffrage organizations, and the WCTU sent a deputation to Dickson asking that it be changed to one-adult-one-vote. (77)

The Dickson ministry was succeeded by the world's first Labor government in 1899. It was led by Anderson Dawson, but only survived for one week when it was replaced by the regrouped non-Labor forces under Premier Robert Philp. (78) During his premiership a government Bill came before the house that will probably go down in history as one of the silliest pieces of legislation ever placed before an Australian parliament. Introduced by the Home Secretary, Justin Foxton, it included one-adult-one-vote and enfranchised the police force, but the Bill also prescribed that men would in fact get two votes if they had two or more children who were born in 'lawful wedlock' and in Queensland. (79) The local press, (80) and even the overseas press, (81) had a field day with the so-called 'baby vote'. The Rockhampton Bulletin reported: 'Notwithstanding all the silly things the present government have done we do not like to think they seriously anticipate placing such a farcical law on the statute book ... As we have said, the principle of the measure is rotten, the details are a burlesque, and it is an elaborate legislative joke ...'

Hansard paints a vivid picture of the parliamentary debate and, even though it was a government Bill, it was shelved after it passed the second reading. One MLA evoked a scene whereby men would turn up at the polling booth with their two children, to show they were entitled to two votes; (82) another asserted that it was phallic worship. (83) Someone interjected that it was the law of procreation, (84) one member branded it the physical capability vote, (85) and another the stud vote. (86)

The Philp government was returned in the March 1902 general election, and shortly thereafter William Kidston tabled a private member's Bill to enfranchise women. Once again it failed, and the government only allowed a short time for debate. (87) That same month, a deputation from WEFA, WSL and the WCTU saw Philp and demanded a sensible government Bill to enfranchise women. But despite his promises they were to be disappointed. (88)

In mid September 1903 Arthur Morgan replaced Philp as Premier, and promised a QWEL deputation that he would introduce an electoral reform Bill. (89) However, an election intervened which saw the 34 Labor MPs form a coalition with Morgan as Premier, and a government Bill to give women the vote and abolish plural voting was introduced into the Legislative Assembly in September 1904. (90)
   Airey framed a little Bill,
   Designed the fatman's vote to kill.
   His party generally were mute--The
   Opposition used the flute.

   When Airey's little Bill goes through,
   Heaven and earth will smile anew,
   Each woman then will be a queen;
   Three meals a day--no work between. (91)

Known as the Electoral Franchise Bill, it was introduced into the Legislative Assembly by the Home Secretary, Peter Airey, on 27 September. It completed its second and third reading on 11 October without a vote being taken as there was clearly overwhelming support for it. It then went to the Legislative Council where it was read a first time the same day. (92) The second reading was moved by the Secretary for Public Instruction, Andrew Barlow, and debate was completed on 25 October, but the Council baulked at abolishing the plural vote and it was decided that the Bill would not be read a second time for another six months. (93) The Council was promptly dubbed the 'House of Prejudice, Privilege and Property', and the 'slaughterhouse of reform'. (94)

On 16 December 1904, in moving the adjournment of the House, Premier Morgan announced an extraordinary scenario to force the passage of his franchise legislation. Not only was the measure unprecedented, but also the inconvenience it posed to members of parliament. Country members would have had difficulty in getting home for Christmas and back again by 4 January, and sitting in parliament in January without any airconditioning would have been a very unpleasant experience. But Morgan's own words show his determination in the matter:
   It is intended to summon Parliament to meet on the 4th of
   January next year for the purpose of dealing with the
   Franchise Bill and the electoral machinery Bill. These Bills will
   form the sole business of the special session. The government
   was returned upon promises I claim have been substantially
   carried out as far as it was possible to carry them out in the
   session now closing. But that portion of their policy dealing
   with the question of electoral reform, though assented to
   almost unanimously in this Chamber, since the Bill dealing
   with the question passed without challenge--without a
   division--was unfortunately rejected by the other branch of
   the Legislature.... Reasons were advanced to justify the
   rejection of the measure, the chief of these being that the
   Franchise Bill should have been accompanied by a machinery
   Bill for the application of the Franchise Bill ... As I have already
   intimated, we propose to resubmit the Franchise Bill which
   was passed by this House less than three months ago. We shall
   submit, in addition, a Machinery Bill. (95)

When the parliament reconvened, both the Electoral Franchise Bill and the Machinery Bill, known as the Elections Acts Amendment Bill 1905, passed through the Legislative Assembly without a division and were conveyed to the Council. A problem with the postal vote now emerged in that women in the outback who couldn't travel to polling booths couldn't travel to a post office either to register their vote. A couple of messages were sent from the Council to the Assembly, and eventually a compromise was reached whereby a woman could post a ballot paper that had been witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, and would not have to go to a post office in person. Nevertheless, a motion in the Council that the Electoral Franchise Bill go into the committee stage was lost, and the basic thrust of both Bills was encompassed in the Elections Acts Amendment Bill when the other Bill failed to return to the Assembly from the Council.

Finally, on Wednesday 25 January 1905 the Legislative Council acquiesced, and the Elections Acts Amendment Act of 1905 was assented to on that same day by the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Hugh Muir Nelson. The next day, Thursday 26 January 1905, the Elections Acts Amendment Act of 1905 was proclaimed by a Queensland Government Gazette Extraordinary.

The Suffrage Debates

The arguments put forward in support of the enfranchisement of women were simple enough, and changed little during the fifteen-year struggle. Richard Hyne had clearly enunciated them in 1890. It was a matter of justice that women should have equal voting rights with men. They paid taxes but had no representation; they were subject to all the laws, especially those relating to themselves, yet had no voice in formulating them; they had the right to hold property, (96) conduct business, and sue and be sued; they were permitted to vote in municipal elections.

John MacFarlane pointed out that women were becoming lecturesses, lawyers and doctors, and so they were certainly entitled to equality with men. (97) The Postmaster-General Charles Powers agreed and said that women should have a vote, and a say over injustices taking place in orphanages, among the poor women of the colony, and in the matter of rape and seduction of innocent girls. (98) Powers, who had alluded to some of the states of the United States that had enfranchised women during the debate in 1890, was able to add New Zealand and South Australia to his list for his own Bill in 1894. (99) James Drake, and John Annear who was the Chairman of Committees, were for the first time also able to use the fact that the parliament had received petitions as proof that women wanted the vote. (100)

By the time the first government Bill to enfranchise women was introduced in 1901, Labor Leader William Browne was able to use the additional example of Western Australia, which had extended the suffrage two years earlier, (101) as well as the usual equality arguments which Jason Boles embellished with a new word to differentiate the sexes: 'women are entitled to the same rights as are possessed by the sterner sex.' (102) The following year when William Kidston introduced his Private Member's Bill, things had moved on even further and he was able to claim that it was necessary to bring Queensland into line with the Commonwealth which had enacted its suffrage legislation that year. (103)

Arguments against women's enfranchisement ran the whole gamut from the speculative, through the ludicrous, to the bizarre. The objections fell into six categories: 1) women did not want it; 2) they were unfit to use it; 3) they were too easily led; 4) it wasn't in the male interest; 5) fear of the unknown; 6) women should be revered and uncontaminated.

Objections that women did not want the vote were not only pure speculation but also flawed, as there was no compulsion to register to vote. They surfaced in all debates from 1890 to 1905, however. Premier Boyd Morehead was a great opponent of the suffrage, considering it:
   much better that the other sex should keep out of the troubled
   sea of politics. They have higher functions to perform than
   political ones, and to those functions their attention should be
   confined.... The bulk of the women in this colony do not want
   it. (104)

In 1894 the Ministerialists showed that nothing had changed so far as they were concerned. David Dalrymple was convinced that 'the most intellectual, and the greatest number of domestic, motherly women are against it.' (105)
   The majority of women are distinctly opposed to it; and the
   only result of carrying a measure of this sort will be, that a
   majority of women, at the instance of a minority of women,
   and with our assistance, will be compelled to take the
   responsibility of entering into a sphere of life--political
   life--which has very few charms, and which is utterly distasteful to
   most women who love their homes ... The great majority of
   women look forward to be compelled to register and record
   their votes with the most intense disgust and horror. (106)

John Kingsbury maintained that: 'The ladies have never endeavoured to get their vote. They have never put in a claim for it,' (107) and Justin Foxton sang to the same tune, that:
   three-fourths of the women of the colony are either absolutely
   indifferent or strongly opposed to it ... all they appear to have
   been able to do is get a petition signed by 7000 women. The
   enormous disparity between the number of signatures to the
   petition and the number of women who have had an
   opportunity to sign it and did not do so confirms me in the
   opinion that a majority of the women of the colony do not
   desire the franchise, (108)

Foxton had become Home Secretary by the time the first government Bill was introduced in 1901, but had not changed his opinion. (109) George Story overlooked the fact that it was around 7.30pm when he commented during the 1901 debate: 'If the woman vote had been wanted the gallery would have been filled with women.' (110) Even in 1915 Donald Gunn was not convinced that women really wanted the vote, and asserted in any case they were just a duplicate vote of their husband. He advocated a referendum on the matter. (111)

The second objection that women were unfit to vote drew upon notions of women's intellectual capacity not being the same as men's, and the fact that women were not able to fight to defend their country. They were alleged to have defects in their character, be narrower in their views, or more conservative. Byrnes remarked in 1894 that women were: 'brought into work for which her past training and her physical frame of mind do not eminently fit her.' (112) In the same debate Dalrymple maintained of women: 'seeing that they are on the whole more emotional than men, their presence in political life will increase the bitterness of political life.' (113)

The third objection was based on the premise that women would easily be misled by designing males. Dalrymple was of the opinion that 'in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, women will vote as their husbands, or brothers, or male friends tell them', (114) and George Thorn went one step beyond that, asserting that 'if there was a good-looking young man he will get their vote irrespective of his politics.' (115)

The fourth objection, that women's suffrage was not in the male interest, was usually, although not always, handled euphemistically in debates. It included such things as the concern that women would vote as a bloc; they would neglect their families; they might corrupt the system; parliamentary institutions would suffer; the divorce rate would go up and the birthrate down; they might even get into parliament.

A recurrent theme was that some members were worried their womenfolk might not vote for them. In 1894 James Chataway was very concerned about those ramifications:
   We will be impaled upon the horns of this very awkward
   dilemma. That women will either vote in accordance with the
   views of their husbands, fathers, brothers, or, as I hear an hon.
   Member say, their sweethearts, or they will vote against them.
   If they vote with them, we are only doubling the number of
   men already on the rolls. If they vote against them, we are
   preparing for ourselves a very great deal of trouble. We are
   preparing for ourselves domestic friction and war in the home,
   the results of which we cannot anticipate. (116)

In 1901, George Story similarly predicted: 'There must be dissension at home unless the woman votes exactly as the man wants her. She might vote directly against her husband's interests.' (117) Dalrymple in 1894 thought further and anticipated the collapse of the couple:
   'If, in addition to the many causes of trouble in domestic life,
   we introduce the element of politics, then I am afraid that the
   number of marriages which take place will rapidly diminish,
   and that the divorce court will be more thronged with
   suitors.' (118)

Damage to children was another common theme. William Little was certainly worried about it in 1890:
   They would consequently have to attend the public meetings at
   which the candidates express their views, and the result would
   be that the children at home, whom it is their burning duty to
   protect and educate, would be neglected. I say it will be a cruel
   day for Queensland ... (119)

These same sentiments were still being echoed in 1903 by Donald MacKintosh:
   If they get the franchise, they will be saying to their husbands,
   "Look here, I am going to a meeting. You can stop home and
   mind the children" ... That is how the women's franchise will
   work. By and by there will be no children at all. (120)

Thorn was worried about the effect on north Queensland:
   The North now returns seventeen members; but if this Bill
   becomes law, owing to the large proportion of women in the
   south as compared to the North, the number of Northern
   members would be reduced to twelve. (121)

In 1894 Byrnes predicted vastly more far-reaching consequences: 'parliamentary institutions would suffer, and the power of woman as the regenerator of man will also suffer. I look upon it as a dangerous experiment ... I believe that its result would be injury not only to the body politic but to the women themselves.' (122)

There were also worries that the vote would give women a taste for political influence and Dalrymple gave examples of how a woman might cast several votes:
   'The young woman went out in the morning ... and voted
   as Mary Johnson ... in the middle of the day she
   appeared ... as "fair, fat, and forty," ... as Mary Still; and in
   the evening ... she voted as an old woman ... Mary Yet.' (123)

Back in 1890 Hyne reported the concerns of some members, but wasn't particularly worried himself about women voting as a group: 'Another argument is that women will vote in a body and a number of my friends have a great horror of that.' (124)

The fifth objection, fear of the unknown, tended to be based around the lack of precedent and experience. Australia had survived until then without it; it might lower the tone of parliament; public opinion was not sufficiently advanced. Dalrymple perorated:
   we cannot foretell the consequences. What we can foresee is
   not at all encouraging, and the mere fact that it is a step in the
   dark is sufficient to prevent any reasonable man voting for it.
   Why should we take steps in the dark? (125)

The sixth objection revolves around the constructs of womanhood as being kept in a gilded cage or placed on a pedestal to avoid contamination by the hurly-burly of politics. Members spoke on this with considerable inventiveness: for example, there was no way a woman would register to vote if she had to give her age. (126) Peter Airey thought the government was deliberately exploiting femininity for its own ends:
   we all know that there is a decided objection on the part of
   many ladies to state their age. This, no doubt, arises from the
   tender reticence which we look upon as a graceful attribute of
   the feminine mind. It appears to me that the design of the
   Government is to get credit for conferring the franchise on
   women, while they are deliberately cutting that away by
   compelling women to state their ages. (127)

The notion that women were too virtuous to be exposed to jostling or bad language at polling booths also persists throughout the debates:
   Women will become unsexed by coming in contact with people
   at election times. (128)

   I do not think any man would like to see his wife, or sister, or
   any other female relative present at the scenes I have
   witnessed. (129)

   Drunken men scrambling for ballot-papers, and you often see
   that at general elections. (130)

   It has been said ... women ... dislike the publicity of voting at a
   polling-booth, and the possible crush and annoyance. (131)

At various times, the case for the innate virtuousness of women was put. Byrnes in 1894 implored:
   I hope that the women of this country will cast on one side the
   pernicious gift that is being offered to them, because it is one
   that they would find extremely prejudicial to their higher
   interests. (132)

James Blair in 1902 made several points in a speech:
   It may be a question whether women should embark in the
   maelstrom of politics. Extending the franchise to women
   deadens and roughens the innate sweetness of their lives which
   go to make us respect them. Giving them a privilege which
   undoubtedly should be theirs ... will have the tendency towards
   elevating, ennobling, and purifying political life. (133)

Finally, reasons that fitted no category but the bizarre for not giving women the vote were advanced:
   I find there are five kinds of women in the colony, judging not
   by the walks of life they may occupy, but by their appearance,
   their facial expression and countenance. There is the ugly
   woman, the plain woman, the fair woman, the lovely woman,
   and the beautiful woman. I find the first two kinds--the ugly
   and the plain woman-constitute about 10% of the women of
   the colony; fair women 75%; and the lovely and beautiful
   women, 15%. How do they express themselves on this question
   of the franchise? I have endeavoured to find out, and to the
   best of my ability I have found out. I find that the only women
   in favour of the extension of the franchise to women are those
   of the first two kinds, the ugly women and the plain women.
   The fair, the lovely and the beautiful are either indifferent to
   the proposed extension of the franchise, or opposed to it. (134)

Now, if you give women the franchise you will add to the Power of the clergy, and by that means will strike a terrible blow at the new unionism, and the democratic socialism, and all the other "isms" ... (135)

There is less disposition to hang women than men, and yet men have the administration of the law. It is possible that if women administered the law there may be greater disposition to hang women. (136)

Thomas Byrnes in 1894 claimed women's suffrage would have an astonishing impact:
   a sudden and violent revolution not only in our political
   system, but in the innermost portions of society ... They are
   seeking by this Bill ... to interfere with the social arrangements
   which have existed from the beginning of civilization. (137)

Queensland would be the second last state to enfranchise women, when this took place in 1905 without the extreme consequences predicted. It was the second state to give women the right to sit in parliament. (138) This was legislated in 1915 with the passing of the Elections Act. (139)


* In possession of a freehold estate to the value of 100 pounds sterling for at least six calendar months, or

* Being a householder occupying any house, warehouse, counting-house, office, shop or other building of the clear annual value of ten pounds sterling, and having occupied the same for six calendar months, or

* Having a leasehold estate to the value of ten pounds sterling per annum held upon a lease which at the time of registration [on the voters roll] has not less than three years to run, or

* Been in possession of a leasehold estate for three years or more, of the aforesaid value, or

* Holding a government license to depasture [ie. graze cattle] lands, or

* Having a salary of 100 pounds a year and having enjoyed the same for six calendar months, or

* Being the occupant of any room or lodging and paying for his board and lodging forty pounds a year or for his lodging only at the rate of ten pounds a year and having occupied the same room or lodging for six calendar months.

Those specifically exclude from voting included:

* Those of unsound mind.

* Anyone in receipt of aid from a charitable institution.

* Those who had been attainted or convicted of treason, felony or other infamous offence unless pardoned or having completed their sentence.

* Persons in the military service or the police force.

* Clerks of Petty Sessions.

* Paid police magistrates.
Year    Mover        Bill    First         Second       Third
                             Reading       Reading      Reading

1890    Hyne         PMB     29 July       31 July      Shelved
1894    Powers       PMB     19 July       28 Sep       Def 2nd
1894    Glasse       PMB     8 Au          6 Sept       Def 2nd
1895    Glassey      PMB     12 Jul        23 Oct       Def 2nd
1901    Foxton       Govt    1 Oct         13 Nov       Shelved
1902    Kidston      PMB     1 Jul         7 Aug        Def 2nd
1904    Airey        Govt    27 Sep/ 11    11 Oct/      11 Oct/
                             Oct           18-25 Oct    n/a
1905    Franchise    Govt    5/10 Jan      6/17 Jan     Jan
1905    Machine      Govt    5/12 Jan      11/25 Jan    12/25 Jan

Vote     Vote     Premier
LA       LC

None     n/a      Morehead
17-31    n/a      Nelson
26-32    n/a      Nelson
29-35    n/a      Nelson
26-18    n/a      Phil
26-30    n/a      Phil
nil      12-19    Morgan
nil      8-16     Morgan
nil      nil      Morgan

In the above table for 1904 and 1905 under Readings, the dates for
LA and LC are shown LA/LC.


(1) One in 1890, two in 1894, two in 1895, one in 1901, one in 1902, one in 1904.

(2) Audrey Oldfield (1992) Woman Suffrage in Australia: A Gift or a Struggle? Melbourne, Cambridge University Press: 112.

(3) Electoral Lists Collection Abolition Act 1860 (See NSW Electoral Act 1858).

(4) Registration of Electors Amendment Act 1865; Elections Act 1867. See Appendix for these.

(5) Wyoming 1869, Utah 1870, Colorado 1893, Idaho 1896.

(6) Parliamentary Elections Act 1872.

(7) John Cameron (Opposition/Ministerialist-Mitchell 1893-96, Brisbane North 1901-8). QPD 73, 1895: 700.

(8) William Armstrong (Ministerialist/Opposition/Liberal-Lockyer 1893-1904, 1907-18). QPD 77, 7 July 1897: 224.

(9) John Murray (Normanby 1888-1901, Legislative Council 1901-3). QPD 77, 7 July 1897: 233.

(10) Thomas Cribb (Ministerialist-Ipswich 1896-1904, Legislative Council 1893-96, 1913). QPD 77, 7 July 1897: 229.

(11) Justin Foxton (Ministerialist-Carnarvon 1883-1904). QPD 82, 7 November 1899: 846.

(12) Constitution Act Amendment Act 1922.

(13) Members Expenses Act 1886.

(14) Payment of Members Act 1889. This did not include MLCs who were never paid a salary or attendance allowance, but did receive free railway passes.

(15) Elections Act 1892.

(16) Elections Act Amendment Act 1914.

(17) Raymond Evans and Carole Ferrier (eds) (2004) Radical Brisbane: An Unruly History, Melbourne, Vulgar Press.

(18) Sir Henry Norman (Governor, 1889-95), Sir Arthur Palmer (Administrator, Nov 1890-May 1891 and Lieutenant Governor Administering, Nov 1895-Apr 1896), Baron Lamington (Governor, 1896-1901), Sir Samuel Griffith (Lieutenant Governor 1901-02), Sir Herbert Chermside (Governor, 1902-04), Sir Hugh Nelson (Lieutenant Governor,1904-05).

(19) B.D. Morehead (Nov 1888-Aug 1890), S.W. Griffith (Aug 1890-Mar 1893), T. McIlwraith (Mar -Oct 1893), H.M. Nelson (Oct 1893-Apr 1894), T.J. Byrnes (Apr-Oct 1898), J.R. Dickson (Oct 1898-Dec 1899), A. Dawson (Dec 1899), R. Philp (Dec 1899-Sep 1903), A. Morgan (Sep 1903-Jan 1906).

(20) A. Norton (1888-93), A.S. Crowley (1893-99 and 1903-07), A. Morgan (1899-1903).

(21) Sir Arthur Palmer (1881-98), Sir Hugh Nelson (1898-1906).

(22) April 1893, March 1896, March 1899, March 1902, August 1904.

(23) March 1901, December 1903.

(24) This was the Federation Referendum held (and carried) on 2 September 1899.

(25) Electoral Districts Act 1892 added an additional electorate to the previous 60, but still 72 members.

(26) The Worker 13 June 1891.

(27) For example, Frederic Brentnall (Elizabeth's husband) who was a member of the Legislative Council 1886-1922, voted against the 1904 Electoral Bill, not because he opposed the women's vote, but on the grounds that he was opposed to the abolition of the plural vote. QPD 93, 18 October 1904: 381.

(28) The Worker 14 March 1896: 'If you ask me whether I am in favour of an absolutely indiscriminate suffrage to all women, I say again, certainly not.'

(29) Brisbane Courier 20 March 1896: 'I have consulted my matrimonial authority, who thinks that women would be better without it.'

(30) QPD 71, 8 November 1894: 1200; though the WCTU annual report of 1898 indicates he may have had a change of heart. Thomas Byrnes was Attorney-General (1893-98) when he made this statement, and Premier as well in 1898.

(31) Brisbane Courier 21 February 1899: 'Whether they had one man one vote or woman suffrage, it would not make two blades of grass grow where there was one before; it would not produce any wool or any more employment for artisans.'

(32) QPD 88, 13 November 1901: 1815; The Worker, 21 September & 23 November 1901, 30 August 1903.

(33) Suffragist was the more common word in use in Australia, whereas suffragette was the usual term in the UK.

(34) A E Lather (1965) A Glorious Heritage: history of the WCTU of Queensland, p.14, recounts a WCTU boat trip: 'Through courtesy of Morgan, state officials entertained delegates and friends on a river trip on GSS Lucinda--150 guests....'

(35) The struggle for women's suffrage, p.1, for example, recounts that the Wickham Terrace meeting was attended by a well known South Australian suffragist, Hannah Chewings.

(36) Mary Emma O'Connel (May Jordan) (1860-1929) was the daughter of Henry Jordan MLA 1860, 1868-71, 1883-90, Secretary of Public Lands 1887-88.

(37) Pam Young (1980) Proud To Be a Rebel: The life and times of Emma Miller, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane: 42.

(38) QPD 61, 23 July 1890: 347.

(39) Young: 59.

(40) Young: 36.

(41) Brisbane Courier 28 July 1890; Oldfield (1992): 114.

(42) For more on the WCTU (Qld) see: A E Lather (1965) A Glorious Heritage: History of the WCTU of Queensland.

(43) Eleanor Trundle was also WCTU corresponding secretary in 1899 and vice president 1903-05.

(44) A E Lather (1965) A Glorious Heritage: 13.

(45) WCTU Annual Report 1903, Oxley Library, OM 7147.

(46) Pam Young (1980): 84. She believed the foundation of the ALP was laid during the 1891 Shearers' Strike--1 May 1891--others date it from the First Labour-in-Politics Convention in August 1892.

(47) The Worker 3 and 7 March 1894; Brisbane Courier 28 April 1894.

(48) Brisbane Courier, 23 March & 4 April 1894.

(49) WEFA Papers, Oxley Library, OM87-19.

(50) One petition, tabled with the Glassey Bill in 1894, contained 7781 women's and 3575 men's signatures (QPD 71, 6 September 1894: 464).

(51) Minutes of Meetings, July-December 1903, in QWEL Papers, July 1903 August 1908, Oxley Library, OM 7174; Worker 18 July, 15 and 22 August 1903.

(52) Anne Wood. 'Women's Organisations in Queensland, 1859-1958', Royal Historical Society of Queensland Journal: Centenary Issue: 192.

(53) QWEL Papers 29 August 1903. Oxley Library, OM93-2.

(54) Ernest Briggs (c1951) Memories of early Brisbane by Margaret Ogg as sketched and told to Ernest Briggs, Unpublished: 141.

(55) QWEL Papers, Oxley Library, OM71-47/1.

(56) QWEL 6th Annual Report, Oxley Library, OM71-47/5.

(57) William Morris Hughes on 12 May 1922 and Stanley Melbourne Bruce on 16 October 1928. Oxley Library, OM71-47/10.

(58) The Worker 15 August 1903.

(59) The Worker 29 September 1903.

(60) For a biography of Emma Miller (1839-1917), see: Pam Young (1991) Proud to be a Rebel.

(61) Little is known about Leontine Cooper, but see: The Worker 21 July 1900; and Audrey Oldfield (1992) Woman Suffrage in Australia: A Gift or a Struggle?

(62) WCTU president 1886-99 when she was made honorary life president.

(63) Married to the Rev James Williams, she was WCTU secretary in 1886 and president 1903-22 and 1930-34, then honorary life president until 1943. The Worker 11 October 1902, said she would make a good representative of women in parliament; and on 6 June 1903, that she was the best known speaker in the state.

(64) WCTU president 1899-1901.

(65) Ernest Briggs (c1951): 140.

(66) The Elections Act 1874, Part II s. 7.2(e) excluded Aborigines unless they owned freehold property, and the Elections Act 1915, Part IIIs. 11 excluded all aborigines from the franchise.

(67) This is discussed in Pat Stretton and Christine Finnimore (1991) 'How South Australian aborigines lost the vote: some side effects of federation', State History Research Paper No.1, State History Centre, Adelaide.

(68) In Queensland this right was given by the Elections Acts Amendment Act 1965, ss. 3, 4, and 5.

(69) Charles Lilley (Hamlet of Fortitude Valley 1860-73; Fortitude Valley 1873-74). QPD 11, 20 Dec 1870:258.

(70) William Taylor (MLC 1886-1922). QPD 66, 19 July 1892: 68.

(71) Richard Hyne (Maryborough-1888-93). QPD 61, 29 July 1890: 376. 72 QPD 71, 19 July 1894.

(73) QPD 71, 8 August 1894.

(74) Telegraph 1 Sep 1894.

(75) QPD: (Powers) 1st reading 9 Jul; 2nd 26 Jul, 23,28 Aug, p.: (Glassey) 1st 12 Jul; 2nd 26 Jul, 18 Oct, p., 1895.

(76) James Dickson (Ministerialist/Independent-Enoggera 1873-88; Bulimba 1892-1901). QPD 82, 12 September 1899: 1.

(77) WCTU Annual Report 1899.

(78) Anderson Dawson (ALP-Charters Towers 1893-1901).

(79) Justin Foxton. QPD 88, 13 November 1901: 1815.

(80) The Telegraph (17 Nov 1901) said it was stupid and should be burned by the common hangman; The Worker (23 Nov 1901) dubbed it the baby vote, and also records Emma Miller's caustic remarks about the Bill (30 Aug 1901).

(81) Even the London Daily Mail carried the story according to QPD 88, 14 November 1901:1843 (William Browne).

(82) William Maxwell (ALP-Burke 1899-1909). QPD 68, 13 November 1901: 1818.

(83) Joseph Turley (ALP-Brisbane South 1893-1902). QPD 68, 13 November 1901: 1962.

(84) QPD 68, 13 November 1901: 1820.

(85) William Hamilton (ALP-Gregory 1899-1915, Legislative Council 1915-20). QPD 88, 15 November 1901:1877.

(86) Peter Airey (ALP-Flinders 1901-7; Brisbane South 1908-9; MLC 1907-8). QPD 88, 20 November 1901:1965.

(87) William Kidston (ALP/Opposition/Ministerialist-Rockhampton 1896-1911). QPD 89:1st ; 2nd 7 Aug, 4 Sep, 1902 : 265.

(88) The Worker 23 & 30 August 1902.

(89) Audrey Oldfield (1992): 127.

(90) QPD 93, 1904 (1st reading 27 September: 51; 2nd reading 29/30 September: 121/138; committee 5/7 October: 201/237; 3rd reading 11 October: 266). 91 Petrie, QPD, vol. 93, :147.

(92) Andrew Barlow (Ministerialist-Ipswich 1888-96; LC 1896-1915). QPD 93, 18 October 1904: 378.

(93) Frederic Brentnall (MLC 1886-1992). QPD 93, 25 October 1904: 502. The vote in the Legislative Council was interesting in that most members were not associated with a party, nor did they call themselves independent, and the Ministerialists, who had previously opposed women's suffrage so strongly in the Assembly, split 50/50 in the Council.

(94) The Worker 12 September 1903.

(95) Arthur Morgan (Ministerialist-Warwick 1887-96, 1898-1906; LC 1906-16). QPD 93, 16 December 1904: 1355.

(96) Married Women's Property Act 1890-97.

(97) John MacFarlane (Ministerialist-Ipswich 1878-94). QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 443.

(98) Charles Powers (Opposition-Burrum 1888-93; Maryborough 1893-96). QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 445.

(99) Charles Powers. QPD 71, 28 September 1894: 717.

(100) James Drake, and John Annear (Ministerialist-Maryborough 1884-1902; MLC 1902-10). QPD 71, 1894:720 and 728.

(101) William Browne (ALP-Croydon 1893-1904). QPD 88, 14 November 1901: 1843.

(102) James Boles (Opposition-Port Curtis 1893-1904). QPD 88, 14 November 1901: 1860.

(103) William Kidston. QPD 89, 7 August 1902: 265.

(104) Boyd Morehead (Ministerialist-Mitchell 1871-80; Balonne 1883-96; MLC 1880-83, 1896-1905). QPD 61, 31/7/90: 441.

(105) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1142.

(106) David Dalrymple (Ministerialist-Mackay 1888-1904). QPD 71, 6 September 1894: 470.

(107) John Kingsbury (Ministerialist-Brisbane North 1893-96).QPD 71, 28 September 1894: 718.

(108) Justin Foxton. QPD 71, 28 September 1894: 727.

(109) Justin Foxton. QPD 88, 13 November 1901: 1818.

(110) George Story (Ministerialist-Balonne 1896-1904). QPD 88, 15 November 1901: 1876.

(111) Donald Gunn (Independent-Carnarvon 1907-20). QPD 120, 1915: 962.

(112) Thomas Byrnes (Ministerialist-MLC 1890-93; Cairns 1893-96; Warwick 1896-98). QPD 71, 23 November 1894: 1382.

(113) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1141.

(114) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 1894:25 October 1046.

(115) George Thorn (West Moreton-1867-73; Fassifern 1873-74, 1887-88, 1893-1902; Ipswich 1876-78; Northern Downs 1879-83; MLC 1874-76). QPD 71, 28 September 1894: 718.

(116) James Chataway (Ministerialist-Mackay 1893-1901). QPD 71, 23 November 1894: 1389.

(117) George Story. QPD 88, 15 November 1901:1876.

(118) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1141.

(119) William Little (Woothaka 1888-93). QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 443.

(120) Donald Mackintosh (Ministerialist-Cambooya 1899-1912; Pittsworth 1912-15). QPD, 5 November 1903: 1071.

(121) George Thorn. QPD 71, 28 September 1894:718

(122) Thomas Byrnes. QPD 71, 23 November 1894: 1384.

(123) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1141.

(124) Richard Hyne. QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 439.

(125) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1140.

(126) Edward Forrest (Ministerialist/Opposition-North Brisbane 1899-1912; MLC 1882-99, 1913-14). QPD 94, 1905: 69.

(127) Peter Airey. QPD 88, 14 November 1901:1853.

(128) Patrick Perkins (Aubigny 1877-84; Cambooya 1888-93; MLC 1893-1901). QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 443.

(129) William Little. QPD 61, 31 July 1890: 443.

(130) Jason Boles (Opposition-Port Curtis 1893-1904). QPD 88, 14 November 1901: 1860.

(131) Ernest Stevens (independent-Warrego 1878-83; 1883-96; MLC 1899-1920). QPD 94, 17 January 1905: 140.

(132) Thomas Byrnes. QPD 71, 23 November 1894: 1384.

(133) James Blair (Ministerialist/Opposition-Ipswich 1902-15). QPD 89, 4 September 1902: 478.

(134) George Thorn. QPD 71, 28 September 1894: 718.

(135) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 2 November 1894: 1142.

(136) David Dalrymple. QPD 71, 25 October 1894: 1046.

(137) Thomas Byrnes. QPD 71, 8 November 1894: 1198.

(138) The Constitution Amendment Act 1894 not only enfranchised the women of South Australia but also it gave them the right to sit in parliament at the same time. This was also true at the federal level where the Australian Commonwealth Act 1900 gave the federal franchise to all persons (including Aborigines) allowed to vote for the lower house in their state at that time, and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902/ Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 extended this to include women in the rest of Australia.

(139) A date that various authors insist on getting wrong: Marian Sawer and Marian Simms (1984) A Woman's Place: Women and Politics in Australia; Marisa Ruedas (1991) Women in the Senate--A History, Senate Brief No. 3; Janine Haines (1992) Suffrage to Suffrance: 100 years of Women in Politics; Margaret Reynolds (1992) Some of Them Sheilas; Marian Sawer and Marian Simms (1993) A Woman's Place: Women and Politics in Australia; Ann Millar (1994) Trust the Women; Susan Magarey (1994) in Suffrage and Beyond (ed Caroline Daley and Melanie Nolan); Margaret Reynolds (1995) The Last Bastion: Labor women working towards equality in the parliaments of Australia; Parliament of Victoria, Information Kit: Women in Parliament, June 1996; Australia. Department of the Senate (1999) Senate Brief No. 3; Jan darratt MP (2001) 'First Speech,' QPD, 5 April.

On the other hand: Janice Williams (1973) 'Women in Queensland State Politics'; Denis Murphy (1980) in Labor in Power: The Labor Party and Governments in Queensland 1915-57 (ed) DJ Murphy, RB Joyce and CA Hughes; Sol Encel and Dorothy Campbell (1991) Out of the Doll's House: Women in the Public Sphere; and John McCulloch (1994) Women Members of the Queensland Parliament 1929-1994; presumably checked the primary source, as they got it right. Curiously, M. Simms (1981) in The Politics of the Second Electorate (ed. Joni Lovenduski and Jill Hills), got it right, but in later publications changed her mind.


Various activities are being organised by a Steering Committee. These include:

* an essay competition for school students, through the Queensland History Teachers' Association

* a conference on "Queensland Women and the Vote" at Parliament House, 2-3 April 2005

* a walking tour of suffragist sites with a brochure

* web resources and other new research on suffrage history

Centenary of Queensland Women's Suffrage Steering Committee. Contact Carole Ferrier, Centre for Research on Women, Gender, Culture and Social Change, School of EMSAH, The University of Queensland.
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