A Found Poem

Displayed in a glass vitrine in the foyer of Parliament House, Sydney, NSW.

“If she be permitted to vote and to send someone else to Parliament the natural corollary to that is that she must be permitted to come here herself.
Today there is a disinclination on the part of many girls to marry, because of the mediocrity of the type of men on offering. That being so, we have the right to create new avenues of employment as far as possible, and the occupancy of a seat in Parliament or upon the bench surely should not be excluded from a woman. Will any Hon. member suggest that a woman could not do as well in our courts as some of the men who are presiding there?”

Hansard, 2nd Reading Speech, Women’s Legal Status Act
Mr John Storey MP, Member for Balmain, Leader of the Opposition,
25 November, 1918

The Visitors’ Gallery – Question Time
18 September, 2018

among the suits
a scatter of women in red
one hundred years later
the Hon. members (female)
expose the rate of progress

protesting nurses
in the Gallery arouse
the Speaker’s wrath
mayhem below but they
have no right to make a sound

Gillian Telford


Gillian Telford is a Central Coast, NSW poet with two published collections: Moments of Perfect Poise (Ginninderra Press 2008) and An Indrawn Breath (Picaro Press 2015). Her work is widely published in print and online journals and anthologies including Not Very Quiet, Issues 2 & 3, 2018.

© 2019