MUNICIPAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN,
ALDERMAN CLARK'S MOTION.
At yesterday's meeting of the Brisbane Municipal Council Alderman Clark, in moving his resolution in favour of an altera- tion in the Local Government Act to admit of ladies sitting as aldermen, said the amendment he proposed to make in the Local Government Act might be considered a little in advance of our time. [The Mayor:
"Certainly not; we are not ahead of New Zealand."] He (Mr. Clark) was very glad to hear the Mayor say that, and he believed he would have that gentleman's support. [The Mayor: "I did not say that."] The Act pro- vided that women should be voters; but he went further, and claimed that they should also be permitted to sit in the council as alder- men. The Act was passed in August, 1878. That was a good many years ago, and he was unable to find any reasons urged by members of the House at the time why women should be excluded, except that it was felt that woman was an inferior creature, and existed solely to administer to the wants of man. Or it might have been that it was considered she should sit at home and mind the children. [Mr. Heal: "Hear, hear."] But he did not see why on these grounds the women of this city should to-day be debarred from sitting in the council chamber on an equality with the males. During the past few years the fran- chise of women had made great progress both in the old worth and in the new -- especially in Australia. It was only the other day that the privilege was extended to the women of New Zealand to vote in the Legislative elections. A very strong effort had been made in South Australia, but the measure was defeated in the Upper House. In New South Wales, too, the amendment had been before the House not very long ago, but it was lost by a very narrow majority. In our own House, it had unfortunately been talked out. [An Alderman: "Oh! Stick to the question."] He found that on the School Boards of Great Britain both males and females were privileged to sit. These boards conducted business on lines almost identical with those of the City Council. He contended that their having been permitted to occupy seats on one of the most important councils in Great Britain was one of the strongest possible grounds why Brisbane should be one of the first in the field to grant them the powers enjoyed by aldermen. [Mr. Heal: "When the women come it will be time for us to clear out."] He thought the women would give a much better account of themselves than some of the men did. One of the greatest compliments that could be paid to a municipality or divisional board was to have it said that it was healthy; and who, he asked, were more deeply interested in the healthieness of a place than the mothers -- the head of the household? [Mr. White: "Speak for your-
self."] He maintained that woman was the
head of a household. He claimed the right of a woman to sit in the council, too, on the ground that she was subject to the same responsibilities as the male. ("No.") She was sued for rates in the same way, and should have representa- tion. She was equal to man in every sphere of life; this she had proved beyond a shadow of doubt. He contended, too, that the moral tone of all municipal bodies would be greatly improved by the presence of women. In con- clusion he expressed the hope that his motionw would be carried and that before long the council would appoint a deputation to wait on the Colonial Secretary to ask him to amend the Act. He moved -- "That a deputation wait upon the Colonial Secretary with the view of asking that clause 33 of the Local Government Act, 1878, be amended by adding after the word "male" on the line thereof the words "or female".
Mr. Thorne seconded the motion. He agreed with the Quaker who had said man was the head and woman the neck, and the neck turned the head. The only reason he had in opposition to woman suffrage was that women were conservative, and he was a radical. One strong point had been missed by Mr. Clark -- namely, that women were now members of the London County Council; and if they were allowed to sit there, he thought they might be granted the same privilege here. If they declared that women were not suitable, then they said that the women of Queensland were inferior to the women of England, and
this he denied.
Mr M'Ln bnoll) nuppoitetl tho motion.M
The M wait sugge.led that the motion should be submitted to a Committco of tho Wliolo. Tha Lae ti Government Act roquiiod amending in wvenil paiticulai3, and the whole mattet should bo gone into at tho sanio timo.
Mi Winn wai thoioughly in favour of fournie fi inclino lio aid not think, howovor, th it they should go to tho Government until all thou amendment!! ivciu in older Ho did not net with (ho objtat of (helving tho rtattei, but ho would move that tho motion bo loferrcd to a Coinmitloe of tho W ho o
lins hann» boon i «contled, and Mi, CIAMC consenting to v itlultiw hu motion on tho undoifitanding that tho i II ttei would bo dealt with at onci, it wir earned, Me JIS. Heal and 1 nsei alona onpcin ' i'
Mr . Y i tes, the Lid) Mayot of Ontliunga (nuits tlio New / il md tonc,pondent of tho Iri/iti), ondently intend i to koop hor
conncilloi -t woll undei contitil. At a moot mp calli d to elect a town clerk, two councillors who havo resigned, but hold oluco till thou surccstns aro elected, wora piosont, and in reply lo a question, said they intended tal mg paît m the business. Mrs. Yates decided that no business should bo ttansaoted while thoso councillors woru piosont, and sho nccoidingly adjourned the mooting,
Foi tho first timo in tho histoiy of tho country (wnlts tho ¿VCIB YoiK Nation on lbth November) tho majority of tho nun in a Slato lattweck voted duactly in fivom of givin? tho woman of that Steto the ballot on oque! tetras vi'h tliem rive, 'lho ootrtiaition c1 Colorado hu a provision tint i oman nitirrgo shall bo (/ranted whcmvoi tlio Lepislattua shall submit tho question to tho qualified votois and tlioy shall latny it. Tho last Lcpislatuio thui submitted it, and equal ¡ulfrago vas tainui on 7th November h) a majonty of sei eral thou ands. Women voted foi )eaii in tho ti intones of Utah, YVyoming, anti YVatlnnpion, but it was only by ¿Yet of the Le 'isl itme, and although YV)oimng orme into the Union as a State with a constitution tint im bids any denial or ahidgmcnt of the ridit to voto and hold ollice on account of nov, Hu, costitution was iittiliod ni a wholo, without any separato voto on tho suuutgo clause. In Colorado, on tho othor hand, tho quotum of extending lho ballot to women wit submitted at tho polls as a sepatato pioposition, arid it was tho only State ís^uo which was thus submitted thin yeal, tho elections being for county oflicials Tho íesult consequently evpiosses tho dolibmato judgment of tho mon, and equal still i ago of tho two sexes must bo accepted hcioaftoi an tho settled policy of that common- wealth. Theio lias boon a rotablo chango of sontimcnt on Hut qu"btion among tilt mon of Cohiado dining tho past si\teen year«, as in 1S77 tho 'anio question was submitted and a «.mular propo ltion wi.s rejeotcd by a volo of two to oru K woman sufhego amondmont to the Constitution of kansas will bo submitted to tiio mon of that Matu nett autumn.