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SEAMEN'S VOTES, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
IS THE PRIVILEGE ABU MID?
POLITICAL JOBBERY SUGGESTED
[From Ouk Parliamentary. Reporter.]
WELLINGTON, October 22. The whole of last night's sitting of the House of Representatives was occupied with the remaining stages of the Legislature Act Amendment Kill (No. 2). A supplementary Order Paper issued by the Minister in charge of .the Bill (Hon. F. M. B. Fisher) contained a number of amendments, the chief of which was an alteration in regard to the voting of seamen, who, it is now proposed, shall vote in the electorate in which they signed th«ir jifticlee-
The Opposition severely criticised the proposal to alter the method of recording seamen's votes, contending that the change was being made entirely in the interuHts of the Minister of ' Marino (Hon. Mr Fisher) and the member for Auckland West (.Mr Bradney). Sir Joseph Ward contended that the Bill aimed at depriving- seamen of a privilege which they had enjoyed since 1893. He moved as an amendment to the title that "This is an Act to deprive the seamen of New Zealand from exercising their votes with the same freedom that has existed since the passing of the Act in 1893."
The Minister said his proposal was made for the purpose of preventing seamen from improperly using the privileges which they enjoyed. Mr Wilford, Mr Bradney, and the Hon. J. A. Millar having spoken, a division was taken on the amendment, which was defeated by 36 vote* to 28. Clause 3 was amended to provide for ono month's residence for qualification to exercise a vote.
A new clause (7a) was added, providing that a seaman shall be deemed to be an elector of the district comprising the port at which he signed articles. Any seaman not engaged upon a ship shall be deemed to be an elector of the district comprising the port at which he was last discharged.
WOMEN AS LEGISLATORS. Mr M'Comba moved an amendment providing for the election of women to the House of Representatives.
The Prime Minister objected to the clause, and said it was quite a different thing from the clause passed the previous night giving women the right to sit in the Legislative Council. The atmosphere there was placid, but he did not think anyone would wish to see a lady friend in the House. The member for Lytteltou argued that his amendment affirmed the principle that all the electors should have equal electoral rights! He could not understand the inconsistency of the Prime Minister, who so readily accepted the amendment the previous night, and now declared that he would opjK>so this proposal. Mr Isitt argued that when we gave the women the franchise it carried with it the right to represent their fellow-citi-zens.
The Prime Minister replied that Sir George Grey was regarded as the great apostle of Liberalism, but, while he was in favor of women becoming good and useful members of the revising chamber, he was never ia favor of their becoming members of the Lower House.
Mr Witty strongly supported the amendment, and said it was the honest and logical sequence of the franchise. . Mr iiunnn was of opinion that tho right to sit in the House was tho logical outcome of the franchise, and that women should have the right given to them. It did not follow that if it was given to them they would exercise it. The Australian experience showed they would not exercise it to any extent, but it was not for the House to say who would represent the people. That was for the people, and since women had been allowed to become members of local bodies, there was no reason why they should not sit in the House, if they could get a sufficient number of their fellow-electors to send thcin there. On a division being taken, the clause was rejected by 29 votes to 27. Following is the voting on the proposal to allow women to be nominated for the House: —For the Clause.— —Against.— Anderson Allen Buddo Bollard, R. F. Buxton Bradney Carroll Buchanan Coates Campbell Colvin Dickson t 'raigie Fisher Davev Eraser Ell Clover Forbes ' Guthrie Hanan Harris Hindmarsh Herdman Isitt Herries . M'Galium Hine M'Combs Hunter MaeDonald Lee Newman, I)r Mander Payne Massey Poland Nosworthy Robertson Okey Seddon Pearce Kidey Pomaro Svkes 'Rhodes, R. H. Veitch Rhodes, T. W. Ward Scott Webb Smith, F. H. Witty Rtatham Thomson, G. M. Wilkinson —Pairs.— Ngata Wilson M'Kenzie Bollard, J. Smith, R. W. Newman, E. FINAL STAGES. The Bill was then reported from committee, and the Prime Minister proposed to take the third reading. To this course the Leader of the Opposition protested. The amendments required careful consideration, and thft proposal to fore© the Bill through was a most unreasonable one.
The Prime Minister insisted on going on, and the Hon. Mr Fisher moved the third reading.
Sir Joseph. Ward protested against the dogmatic proceeding of the Government in "driving' the, Bill through. No one had asked for the measure. It- was pure reprisal against the seamen, and was being promoted for party reasons. The Prime Minister replied that it waa unfair to allow the seamen to concentrate their votes in any one electorate for the nurpos? of crushing a particular candidate. Ho repudiated the suggestion that the Bill was introduced in the Reform party's interests. After a short debate the Minister replied, and the third reading was agreed to.
SEAMEN'S VOTES, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
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