4 NOVEMBER 1916, Page 13

Much excitement has been caused in Australia by the Referendum

on conscription, and the whole world has looked on with singular interest at the bold reference of the question to the people. The result up to the present, for the voting is still going on, has been described as a stalemate; 883,000 votes were cast for oon- scription and 966,000 against. The conscriptionists, led by Mr. Hughes, are disappointed ; but though we wish of course that the figures had been reversed, we cannot ourselves feel anything resembling disappointment. Rather we feel overwhelmed with pride, gratitude, and wonder at the enormous vote cast for " self- compulsion "—for that is what it amounts to. When we reflect upon the remoteness of Australia from the theatre of war, and the manifold reasons that might be plausibly urged by any man for not coming across the world to take his place by compulsion in the bloody and devastated trenches of the Western front, we think the huge vote cast in favour of the bitter way of devotion is one of the most wonderful and glorious things in human history. Con- scription may be formally defeated, but the spirit of Australia is justified and ennobled. It will " advance " according to the Australian motto, and Germany will not prevail against it. Those who voted against conscription will come as volunteers. It is impos- able to say all we feel. We saluti the Australians in admiration.