28 October 1916

 

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you in favour of the Government having, in this grave emergency, the same compulsory powers over citizens in regard to requiring their military service, for the term of this war, outside the Commonwealth, as it now has in regard to military service within the Commonwealth?

Voters reject Hughes’ proposal; the NO vote wins by a margin of 72,476 votes (3.22%). Soldiers and nurses over the age of 21 also vote: 72,399 (55.14%) vote in favour of conscription and 58,894 (44.86%) vote against it. The Labor Party splits in the aftermath; Hughes forms a breakaway party called the Nationalist Party.

Image courtesy State Library of New South Wales

Image courtesy State Library of New South Wales

The Blood Vote

Why is your face so white, Mother?
Why do you choke for breath?”
“O I have dreamt in the night, my son
That I doomed a man to death.

Why do you hide your hand, Mother?
And crouch above it in dread?”
It beareth a dreadful branch, my son
With the dead man’s blood ’tis red.

I hear his widow cry in the night.
I hear his children weep,
And always within my sight, O God!
The dead man’s blood doth leap.

They put the dagger into my grasp.
It seemed but a pencil then.
I did not know it was a fiend a gasp
For the priceless blood of men.

“They gave me the ballot paper.
The grim death warrant of doom,
And I smugly sentenced the man to death
In that dreadful little room.

I put it inside the Box of Blood
Nor thought of the man I’d slain.
Till at midnight came like a ’whelming flood
God’s word – and Brand of Cain.

O little son! O my little son!
Pray God for your Mother’s soul
That the scarlet stain may be white again
In God’s great Judgement Roll.

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This entry was posted on October 28th, 2016.