Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney today signed one of 150 calico banners that are traveling across Victoria this year to mark the 100th anniversary of Victorian women winning the right to vote.
The 150 calico banners will be joined to create a monster petition with the aim of collecting 30,000 signatures in acknowledgment of the achievement of the original ‘monster’ petition organized in 1891 by the Victorian Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society.
In 1891 30,000 signatures were collected in six weeks to demonstrate to Parliament that ordinary women wanted the right to vote.
Ms Tierney said it was an honour to be a part of such a wonderful recognition and encouraged all men and women to celebrate the 100th anniversary.
“It is very important to remind ourselves of the real struggle women and men went through to deliver genuine democracy 100 years ago,
“It was not easy and there were 19 private members bills from 1889 until Victorian women gained the right to vote in 1908,
“And it was not until 15 years later in 1923 that women were allowed to stand for election,
“Whilst we have come a long way since that time, there is so much more work that needs to be done to secure equity,” Ms Tierney said.
The original Monster Petition is about 260 metres long, 200mm wide and is made of paper pasted to cotton or linen fabric backing, rolled onto a cardboard spindle which rests on a stand.
Several attendants were required to carry it into Parliament where it was tabled in September 1891.
The petition stated ‘that government of the People, by the People and for the People should mean all the People, not half’’.
Today the original Monster Petition is held safely at Melbourne’s public records office.
Ford Geelong worker, Kerrie McCarthy has been collecting signatures for the banner for the last few weeks and believes this is a fantastic way to recreate history.
“I would encourage all Geelong residents to get involved in celebrating this important occasion and one way is to sign this petition,
“My family and I have signed because we know the importance women’s rights in the workplace, at home and in society,” Ms McCarthy said.
The 150 calico banners will be sewn together at the end of the year and displayed as the 2008 Monster Petition at the Centenary of Suffrage Finale and Parliament House Open Day on 23 November.
For more information about Victorian Women Vote 1908 – 2008, log onto www.women.vic.gov.au/womenvote