The Women's Vote

Darragh Christie, 28 October 2020 · #

Recently I came across the following image of ‘Mrs Toorak’. It matched a quote perfectly in the story The Blood Vote: Mosman votes YES, others NO, about how women from both sides argued their positions in the Conscription referendum of Oct 28, 1916. The quote and images here are obviously from the leftist point of view:

Mrs Toorak published in ‘Labor Call’ 23-November-1916.Courtesy National Library of Australia

‘With their men interned, women socialists stepped-up. The ‘terrible recruiting sergeants of the war’, the ‘white feather brigade’ who shamed men into enlisting, were especially hated by them. When the conscription of female labour was proposed by a pro-war women’s group, ‘Mrs Potts Point’ and ‘Mrs Mosman’ were singled out for derision:

‘The spectacle of this idle, vicious, good for nothing clique, who cannot wash their own soiled underwear without having a woman of the working class to do it for them, discussing the problem of work, is enough to raise a howl of laughter in hell. If one could be sure they could be taken out of their mansions and motor-cars, placed in the factory, and compelled to house, clothe, and keep themselves on fifteen shillings a week which statistics show to be the average wage for female labour in Australia, industrial conscription might be justifiable.’‘

‘Direct Action’ Magazine front cover published by the Industrial Workers of the World Australian Administration