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NOTES., Issue 7964, 20 July 1889
■■ « ■.'— Majoh Steward's Bill providing for the abolitiou of tho cumulative vote
Tho Hiily of the '• Lords.*'
iu elections for school committees has once more passed
the House of Representatives, and we are glad to notice that our Parliamentary reporter has reason to believe that the Legislative Council is unlikely this timo to reject this much-needed measure. "Their Lordships" have just expressed the decided opinion that they do not stand in need of reform ; here is an opportunity for them to prove that they aro really not entirely indifferent to the manifest wishes of the people. The cumulative vote is utterly out of harmony alike with our education system aud with the principles underlying our representative institutions. It has only existed so long owing to the childish shibboleth which pronounces the Educacation Act perfect in all its details; and a short timo after tho disappearance of the cumulative system people will marvel that it was ever tolerated.
A VEitY pathetic interest attaches to the death of Mr Charle3 E. Bunny,
the counsel lor Lhemis in the Kaiwarra murder case. It
might even bo said, with no great stretch of accuracy, that tho deceased barrister laid down his lifo in the attempt to save that of a fellow-creature. By the way, in regard to the final scene at the trial, it seems strange that a slight omission in the formal sentence should necessitate the entire repetition of the ghastly performance. If the necessity really exists, then we can only say emphatically that such careless omwBions ought not to occur. It has been grimly suggested that one Eenteuec would appear to have been for Chemis, the other for poor Mr Bunny.
We were anxious that the female franchise question should be brought to
the front during the present session, but a more unsuitable
occasion for its introduction than tho committee stage of Major Steward's Triennial Licensing Elections Bill could hardly have been chosen. In the first place there was the danger—felt by Sir John Hall and other members —of imperilling the passage of a simple and dosirable measure ; secondly, female ratepayers already have the right to vote at licensing elections, and the House was hardly likely to grant the sex a wider franchise than that enjoyed by t'.io male population. The thirty-three members wao voted for Mr Monk's motion must surely have contemplated the extension of the franchise on this question to all males over twenty-one as well as females; and this would seem to bo the drift of the Premier's reply to Mr Fish, that "he would give equal rights to both sexes." We have not the slightest objection to the lowering of the licensing franchise down to manhood and womanhood sulrage; but it is in regard to the Parliamentary franchise that the really gross injustice is done to women, This franchise is, theoretically, and in part actually, the lowest of all; yet female ratepayers cannot vote under it, though they possess the right under higher and mora exclusive franchisee. The 'anomaly is a glaring one, and we regret that no member has yet Been fit this session to invito the House of Representatives to reaffirm tho principle sanctioned by it at the second reading of Sir Julius Vogol's Bill two years ago. As the Legislative Council is not unlikely to prove recalcitrant a few times over the matter, a measure in the desired direction should be persistently introduced every session until finally passed,
NOTES., Issue 7964, 20 July 1889
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