Making a nation Defining Moments, 1750–1901
Investigation 4: Making a democracy
4.9 1902 Australian women vote: Commonwealth Franchise Act
You have seen that South Australian women won the vote in 1894. How was this vote extended to all non-Indigenous Australian women in 1902? Why was it not applied to all adult women?
1. Which two states were the only ones to allow women to vote by 1901?
2. What were the main arguments for and against women having the vote federally?
3. While only two states allowed women to vote in state elections, all could now vote in federal elections. How would that situation put pressure on state parliaments to allow women to vote in states as well as federally?
4. Which women were generally still excluded from voting?
5. How did the timing of women’s franchise in Australia compare with the situation in the rest of the world?
6. What does this event help you understand about the development of democracy in Australia?
7. Why was this Defining Moment so significant in Australian history?
8. If you were advising the National Museum of Australia on an object that it could display to tell the story of this event, what would you suggest? (You can see what objects they actually have using the National Museum of Australia collections search)