MTC Audio Lab
MTC Audio Lab
Jul 16, 2020
Great Australian Speeches: Vida Goldstein's Open Letter to Parliament
Play • 14 min
Vida Goldstein was an Australian suffragette and social reformer.

In 1900 she founded the Australian Woman's Sphere, a monthly journal which advocated for equal rights for women. With the support of the newly formed Women's Federal Political Association, Goldstein was one of four female candidates to stand for federal parliament in 1903, the first at which women were eligible to stand. While unsuccessful, she continued to campaign for women's rights and interntional peace, running in the 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1917 elections.

As a committed pacifist, Goldstein helped found the Women's Peace Army, an anti-war organisation, in 1915 and was Chair of the Peace Alliance. These groups were among the first to oppose the war, but also were among the first to be censored. In September 1914, the offices of The Women Voter were raided in attempt to stop publication.

On 5 October 1915, Goldstein published an open letter to the Members of the Commonwealth Parliament in her newspaper The Woman Voter. In this open letter, she speaks out against conscription and 'the gradual but steady loss of the great Bulwarks of Liberty, a Free Conscience, Free Press, Free Speech'.

For MTC Audio Lab's Great Australian Speeches, Director Petra Kalive has reimagined Goldstein’s open letter into a speech, read by Marg Downey.
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