5 October 2011
Well done, Queensland. You're standing your ground. You're like a 16yo student sitting diligently in class, learning algebra, while NSW and Victoria are making out behind the bike shed. But you said NO to peer pressure. Sure, your mother's proud, and you might think you're doing the right thing. But sometimes it's better to follow the crowd.
On Sunday, I wound my wrist-watch forward and let out a long sigh. Daylight saving is upon us – or should I say, the rest of the country. Working for a company that is largely based in Sydney, I now have the ‘pleasure' of dealing with two time zones for the next 6 months. So why won't Queensland join the other states?
The reasons are as plentiful as they are flawed.
Dairy farmers are apparently one major factor. The transport companies that pick-up the milk don't want to change their timetables, and the cows have to be milked at the same time. Fine. Except dairy farmers in Victoria have somehow gotten past this issue. Maybe the cow union up here has more clout?
There's the melanoma argument – namely that getting extra sunlight will increases the number of cases. But we're not actually getting extra sunlight, it's about the sun being still in the sky when people get home, the late-day sun that's far too weak to cause skin cancer. An hour difference for school children at the height of the day won't make any difference – either way, in summer, they need hats and 30 plus. So the question becomes, when would we rather an hour of daylight, at 4.30am, or 6.30pm?
The faded curtains line is about as tired as I have felt since DST started.
I will admit the further north, and indeed west, that one lives, the less daylight saving makes sense. So let's do the simple thing, and make South East Queensland a new time zone. We're talking two-thirds of the state's population in what is a small part of the state, nearly 3 million people, and many of them working to two time zones for half of the year. It's bad for business, and terrible for the little-know grumpy index.
The rest of the state can run on ‘Capricornia' time, and everybody wins. It might be a blurring of state lines, but it makes geographical sense – Brisbane is closer to Melbourne than it is to Cairns, after-all. Paul Lucas said this morning that while daylight saving would be good for SEQ, it wouldn't work for all of Queensland. But why do we consider state lines the only decider of time zones? On such a massive island, with so few states, it's ludicrous.
Referenda have failed in the past on this issue, but this has always been a vote on the whole state ‘going southern'. Anna Bligh does not support the SEQ daylight saving move. LNP leader Campbell Newman did while mayor of Brisbane, but has back flipped since becoming state opposition leader. Being synonymous with the south, he doesn't want to lose country votes on this issue. So the next referendum might be a while off.
It's been a big few years for South East Queensland, and visitors are often impressed by the vibrant nature of the region. The impression of being ‘ten years behind' the rest of Australia is fading, so please, let's catch-up by just one more hour.
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