REGULATING SOCIAL EVILS
Speaking of morality at yesterdays pleasant
Sunday afternoon meeting
at Wesley Church, Lonsdale-street, Mr WH Judkins said that a bill
had been brought
before the State Parliament to clear our streets of the vice that now
there. To the shame of the Labour party of Victoria, that party
was opposing this
measure. All sorts of bogeys and impossible cases were being
quoted against the
bill. Mr Prendergast and Mr Elmslie, of the Labour party, had
spoken of him (Mr
Judkins) as having made remarks about our public parks and as having
good intentions, but
lacking discretion. Well it was something to have a criticism from
such an acute
mind as Mr Prendergast’s. (Laughter)
A Voice - Have you ever said in public that the parks ought to be closed at 8 o’clock at night?
Mr Judkins - No. He had never said such a thing. He had said that he did not approve of the parks being closed at night. (Applause) What he did think was that the parks ought to be thoroughly lighted and under such police supervision that there could be no acts of immorality and wrong. Mr Prendergast and Mr Elmslie has attributed to him words that he had never used.
A Voice from the gallery. - Is not immorality indulged in sometimes in churches?
Mr Judkins. - If you know that you are not doing your public duty in not speaking about it. If you are aware of such things you are a mighty big coward not to say so. (Applause)
A Man at the back. - Why don’t you give the names of the Government supporters, too?
Mr Judkins was conducting this meeting in precisely the way he thought best. (Applause) He had mentioned the names of members of the Labour party because that party more than any other political party professed to stand up for social uplift. (Applause) He did not know that the present State Ministry had ever made any pretensions in that regard. When it came to moral questions, where was the Labour party? It had been repeatedly said that there were more temperance men in the present Federal Labour party than there had ever been in any other party. Why then did they not “deliver the goods?” What was the use of calling oneself a temperance man and putting one’s hands behind his back when the opportunity came to strike the blow? They were ashamed of what was being done, or not done, in the Federal Parliament on the liquor question. When the opportunity was given to vote on the liquor question the Federal Labour party did all it could to shelve the question and to push a decision away. It made one wonder regarding the future of any party which dealt so with moral questions. He moved:-
“That this meeting supports the State Ministry in its endeavour to amend the Police Offences Act in order to clear the streets of our cities of undesirable persons.”
The Rev H Worrall seconded the motion, which was adopted with acclamation.
From THE ARGUS 26th September 1910 page 11