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It will be remembered that a fortnight or so ago a resolution m favor of, the franchise to women, moved by Sir John Hr.ll, was carried m the House of Representatives by a sweeping majority ; and it is quite possible that other persons beside Sir John Hall were sanguine enough to suppose that Parliament was ready to enfranchise the gentler sex forthwith, 'Witt if so, the division taken on ""hursday night will certainly undeceive' them. The hon. member for Selwyn proposed to add a clause to the Electoral Acts Amendment Bill, which would have had that effect, but after a somewhat lengthy discussion, it was rejected by 26 to 19. It does not follow that there was inconsistency on the part pf hon members, that they had changed their minds m the interval, or that they were joking on the first occasion and serious on the last. It was abundantly clear, from speeches made, that the facts were that some who voted for Sir John's resolution a fortnight ago did so merely with a view of affirming the view that the extension of the franchise to women should occur m the near future, while others did so meaning thereby that some women should be enfranchised?J—that is to say, for example, spinsters and widows possessed of the requisite property qualification. Again, even of these there were not a few who on Thursday opposed the new clause, not because they had altered their opinions, but because they believed that the occasion was inopportune—first, because to add the clause would have been to lead to the risk of the rejection of a useful and necessary measure; and, second, because it would be exceedingly inconvenient, to say the least of it, to so widely alter the basis of the electoral rolls immediately upon the eve of a general election. The rejection of the clause is, therefore, not necessarily to be held as implying that the House has on this last occasion decided against the female franchise. Indeed, on the contrary, it has been clearly shown that the weight qf opinion m the House is m, \ia ffVVQr, and we venture to, think that, m the new Parliament, a Bill will be passed denning and granting the suffrage at least to female property-holders, if not to all adult women.

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Bibliographic details

FEMALE SUFFRAGE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2499, 23 August 1890

Word Count

FEMALE SUFFRAGE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2499, 23 August 1890