NEWS AND NOTES.
Mataura Ensign, Rōrahi 17, Putanga 17, 19 Huitanguru 1895, Page 2
NEWS AND NOTES.
This new paper, oalled the ' Daybreak,' is the result of the wish " to make more widely known the thb Wellington great principles that women's paper, the Women's Social and Political Leagues have been working for for some time past." If we take the Wellington League as the type of such Associations, we find the ruling principle of guidance is embodied in seotion 6of its " platform " : To give support to men with the best reputation for integrity of character, provided their politics are of a Socialist and Radical tendency. The projectors of this new venture announce that " the 'Daybreak ' is in the proud position of being the first newspaper published in New Zealand, not only in the interests of women, but edited and carried en by the weaker sex." No one will grudge them their occupancy of this proud position. If they are able to shed new light on the hackneyed topics of the Socialist and Radical creed we shall gladly welcome it. But whether they do so ot not they have at least as good a reason to offer for their appearance in public as that presented by an eccentric author in his preface to a book of travels through Turkey and Palestine. "No one," he said, "who had the capacity of a hen would think of sitting down at home after travelling in these countries without writing a book. 'Tis something, sure, to see one's self in print ; A book's a book although there's nothing int." The paper, judging from the introductory article which announces the purpose and plans of the promoters, is remarkable for the modesty of their disclaimers and the very extensive programme they have laid out. It embraces the advocacy and defence of a steady and progressive increase of the Land Tax and what is known as the Betterment principle. They advocate also the initiation of pensions for the old and infirm, and the finding of work by the State for all those who are able and willing to work, but cannot get the opportunity. They uphold the State ownership of all monopolies, as the drmk traffic, railways, coal mines, gas, water, tramways, eto. They have also opinions on the Referendum, schools, borrowing, etc., which are to be disclosed on a future ocoasion. With such a ready-made extensive plan of turning society upsidedown, it is surprising to notice such strongly expressed sentiments of womanly modesty and delicacy which will guide their proceedings, for they intimate their desire "to let not only the men in Wellington, but New Zealand, know that we do not intend to overstep the power we have received in having the franchise granted us by forgetting our sex, and appearing in places where we shall not only be the laughing-stock of the ill-natured, but, which is far worse, merit the contempt of the wise and true.'' This seems specially to refer to a disclaimer of any wish for women to enter Parliament, on which they pronounce very emphatically. " Our women," they say, " are not mentally capable as yet of undertaking the onerous duties of legislation, nor would it be for the welfare of the State if they did so. Their minds have not sufficiently grasped the difficult problems dealt with, their education, we may say without offence, is only just beginning in politics, and all tbe social questions that are at present agitating and even perplexing the minds of the sterner sex." It is strange to find such views regarding the qualifications necessary for a member of Parliament on the Government side of the House, emanating from those who have no doubt been close attenders in tbe gallery, and are familiar with the unquestioning obedience to Government orders by all their supporters when there is a call for theic vote. They are not required to understand the merits of the question on which they vote. If they should have an opinion of their own, it may be, and as some have openly confessed has been, quite opposed to tho side which Government adopts. That is» as a Yankee says, a mere circumstance. All the samo they record tbeir votes as Government orders. "We venture to think, therefore, that the political women of Wellington underestimate their capacity to act as members of Parliament because they havo not fully grasped and sottled to their own satisfaction all the difficult problem, of legislation. All that is donp so far as js deemed necessary by the Minister who introduces a Bill. The Government .supporters have only to act as claqueur.* and to enter the Government lobby when the division bell rings. Theohief. trouble might arise in the case of married women with young infants at home, when tbe sittings of the House were unduly prolonged. But as a Minister once arranged to have -bis board and lodging within the pre|
cincts of the Parliament Honse, no doubt 1 domestic arrangements could be made to [ meet such cases as we refer to. : If any of the political women in Weli lington or elsewhere have aspirations after the distinction of obtaining a seat in the House, they have only to induce Mr Seddon or Mr Reeves to place such an Act on the Statute Book. Then their course is simple. On obtaining Mr Seddon's approval to represent a constitui ency, they will no doubt be furnished with a type-written address to the electors for advertising, along with one or two model speeches to be delivered to meetings of the constituents. The Government will arrange the rest that is necessary by directing the leaders of the various Labor Unions and the executive of the Women's Political Leagues in the district, to bring up their voters on the polling day, and the business is over. Salary at L2O per month begins from the date of election, free travelling to Wellington is provided, the Premier graciously welcomes them to the Empire City. They are introduced into the most select society, and become entitled occasionally to a seat at the Governor's table. Their chief duty in Parliament is to attend to the instructions of the Government whip and to keep themselves within reach of immediate summons all the time the Honse is sitting. We cannot attempt to offer any criticism on the proposals contained in the extensive programme set forth in this number. We may have opportunity of doing so when these are dealt with in detail. We might, however, suggest to our new born contemporary the propriety of dealing with a subject not mentioned in the list — the curtailment of the useless and extravagant expenditure incurred in the great business of making new laws as if that were the principal work for which the Colony existed. Much discussion has been raised by the recent request of the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church inspection of to have their schools n.c. schools, examined and reported on by the Inspectors appointed by the Education Boards. We cannot see any reasonable objection to this proposal. On the contrary we think the Roman Catholic section of the community is to be congratulated on their maintaining their schools in such a state of efficiency that they can confidently submit them to the examination of the public Inspectors. It is due to the parents of the children attending these schools that they should have the satisfaction of outside official authorities testifying to the worth of the secular education there imparted. The difficulty was raised by some that the Inspectors were fully occupied with the examination of the publio schools. Still the fact must not be overlooked that the Inspectors are appointed for the sake of the schools and not the schools for the convenience of the Inspectors, and they mast make their arrangements to suit the whole of tho work to be overtaken. The Education Act provides for their examining private as well as public schools, and the Roman Catholics, like the rest of the community, pay their share of the whole expense of public education. By their building and maintaining their own schools and paying tbeir own teaohers they save the Consolidated Fund a considerable amount of expense which would have to be incurred in providing additional school accommodation and teachers if all their children were sent to the public schools. It is but a small compensation they ask for their contributions to the Consolidated Fand to have the services of the public Inspectors. We are glad to see that the request has been agreed to, and shall be pleased to learn, when the reports of such inspection are made public, that these schools can bear favorable comparison, for the efficiency of the instruction imparted in them, with the public schools. There are some who dread that this amount of acknowledgment of these schoolß would tend to endanger the stability of our national system. They may say — and we admit, with some truth— that the same argument which justifies the public inspection of these schools would also justify the payment of capitation grants according to results. Even if this were carried out, we do not see that it would lessen tbe security of the national system. Such capitation grants, if allowed to these schools, would by no means meet the expense of supporting them. The erection of suitable school buildings and the payment of efficient teachers would necessitate sacrifices on the part of the Roman Catholics that would prevent the unnecessary increase of their schools. It would only be, as it is at present, in populous centres that they would ba established. That is a question which may arise in the future, but in the meantime the request for public inspection is reasonable, and probably will involve little, if any, additional outlay.