An Autobiography HTML version
been very persistent among the electors, and their approval of the reform was reflected in
the minds of their representatives. We inaugurated during that year the series of citizens'
meetings convened by the Mayors of the city and suburbs, which has been so successful a
feature of our long campaign for electoral justice, and at the present time very few of the
mayoral chairs are occupied by men who are not keen supporters of effective voting.
The Hon. Theodore Bruce's connection with the reform dates from that year, when he
presided at a meeting in the Adelaide Town Hall during the temporary absence of the
Mayor. A consistent supporter of effective voting from that time, it was only natural that
when in May, 1909, the candidature of Mr. Bruce (who was then and is now a Vice-
President of the league). for a seat in the Legislative Council, gave us an opportunity for
working for his return, against a candidate who had stated that he was not satisfied with
the working of the system of effective voting, we availed ourselves of it. So much has
been written and said about the attitude of the league with regard to Parliamentary
candidates that, as its President, I feel that I ought to take this opportunity of stating our
reasons for that attitude. From its inception the league has declined to recognise parties in
a contest at all. Its sole concern has been, and must be to support effective voters, to
whatever party they may belong. To secure the just representation of the whole electorate
of whatever size, is the work of the Effective Voting League, and, whatever the
individual opinions of the members may be, as an official body they cannot help any
candidate who opposes the reform for which they stand.
I remember meeting at a political meeting during a subsequent general election a lady
whom I had known as an almost rabid Kingstonian. But the party had failed to find a
position for her son in the Civil Service, although their own sons were in that way
satisfactorily provided for. So she had thrown in her lot with the other side, which at the
time happened to gain a few seats, and the lady was quite sure that her influence had won
the day for her former opponents. Leaning forward to whisper as if her next remark were
too delicate for the ears of a gentleman sitting near, she said, "Do you know, I don't
believe the Premier has any backbone!" I laughed, and said that I thought most people
held the same belief. To my amusement and astonishment she then asked quite seriously,
"Do you think that is why he stoops so much?" There was no doubt in her mind that the
missing back bone had reference to the physical and not to the moral malformation of the
gentleman in question.