from: Bendigo Advertiser, Tuesday 17 April, 1917, page 6
A largely attended meeting was held in Drake’s hall, Axedale, on Saturday evening.
Mr. J. Heffernan, JP. presided. Convincing addresses were delivered by Mr . D.B. Lazarus Luke Murphy and M. E. O’Brien.
Mr. O’Brien denounced in scathing terms the efforts which were being made in certain quarters to raise the sectarian issue and exhibited a pamphlet which was being circulated in this electorate, and having for it’s object, the segregating of the Catholic vote.
Mr. O’Brien said he did not know in whose interests the leaflet was being distributed, and was cheered for the statement that he could authoritatively affirm that there was absolutely no organised Catholic vote in this electorate; emphasising the fact that though Catholics may have grievances,they cast them to the winds when the Empire needs demand their co-operation.
He further said that at such a time of national stress as this, neither party politics nor religion should prevent us from presenting an undivided front to the powerful arch enemy that sought our destruction.
The speaker further affirmed that, during the 25 years in which he had been privileged to use the franchise, he had never on any occasion been advised how to vote, nor asked how he voted by one of his spiritual advisers, though always in close touch with them.
Referring to the much discussed utterances of a high church dignitary, Mr. O’Brien said that while in church matters .Catholics were solidly united yet in politics their views were varied, and that each intelligent member of that church would resent to the uttermost, any attempt to wield political power or pressure by virtue of spiritual leadership.
Catholics, he said, honored and respected their spiritual Advisers as such, and, so the besmirching of their high and sacred calling by interference in politics would assuredly have the effect of diminishing that loyalty and reverence which Irishmen, and the sons of Irishmen so consistently accord to those whose sole duty it is to minister to their spiritual needs.
On the motion of Mr. J.P. Christie, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the chairman. The meeting terminated with the singing of the National Anthem.
(B. Mundy 214 Hargreaves Street)
(Punctuation and paragraphs have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading)