[In the week leading up to this important Election, we should not forget just how valuable our vote is.]
Upon the roughest coalfield,
There doing roughest work;
Within the closest factories,
Where vilest poisons lurk;
Out in the boiling sunshine
Weeding fields of corn;
Stopp'd only commence again
Ere morning light be born.
Behind the counter standing
From early morn till night;
In a dreary garrett stitching
Beside some fading light;
In a printing office working,
Behind a clerk's desk, too,
With men in a workroom toiling,
All this may woman do.
But when new laws are wanted
To defend her failing health,
To keep her a step above the serfs
Of the ancient men of wealth.
And when disputes are existing
As to who will frame these laws,
To say which man is the fittest
To bring in this wanted clause.
Just to name on a piece of paper
The one whom she thinks best
To have – when the same work she's doing
The same right as the rest.
To say what she knows is best for her sex,
For justice good and true;
To have a word where herself is concerned,
This, woman may not do.
And why may woman not do this,
If at hard work she's toiling?
Why must she always work and save,
Starvation to keep foiling?
Why? - if as some have oftimes said
That woman is too weak
To do the same as man can do
Why must she work but yet not speak?
It cannot be weak intellect
Which keeps her still behind,
For 'mongst lawyers and professions all
Her name we can easily find.
And it cannot be her courage
Which has not strength enough
To bear her through political wars
After facing others more rough.
So it cannot be through any just cause
That woman must have no say
In the laws which man may make for her,
And which she must only obey.
But if they are wrong she must not complain
Or dare to ask it anew;
For to make a law for herself is a thing
Which woman may not do.
A. L. Pupil R.J. Kelly's private school, South Brisbane.
Brisbane July 7, 1894