Daylight saving in WA

January 28, 2009 § 8 Comments

Perth CBD

Perth CBD

Daylight saving ends 29 March 2009 ….. Set clocks back one hour.

If the vote is no, are we setting back our thinking by 100 years?

We’re about to have a referendum in Western Australia about daylight saving.  It’s probably going to be one of the hottest topics around.  Barbies will be buzzing, pubs will be prattling and radios will be ranting about this incredibly divisive issue.

So what are the arguments for and against?

Well, the primary producers don’t like having to get up in the dark, nor do city people who have early shifts.  People with kids complain that it causes disruption to their sleep patterns.  And then there’s the stories about fading curtains and cows not milking properly.

On the positive side, I hear stories of families enjoying being able to share time outdoors walking and playing in the park before they head for the couch and the blue flickering screen.  I’ve also heard it said that there’s a reduction in pedestrian fatalities due to increased daylight hours in the evening.  People who finish work can come home and have time to enjoy some leisure time with a little more daylight.  There’s also the greater ease of contacting the eastern states of Australia during their business hours.

Pollies will milk this for all it’s worth and WA Premier Colin Barnett has attempted to curry favour with the electorate by declaring his no vote long before the referendum.

For those undecided among you, let’s just examine the facts.

In Europe during summer, the sun goes down around 10pm and in some parts of Scandinavia it comes up again at 1am.  How do they cope?  Curtains.  Not a new-fangled invention by any stretch of the imagination.  And in winter, the sun barely comes up at all!  Somehow their kids manage to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous sleep disruption.

There is a strong argument that our hot climate isn’t suited to daylight saving.  Maybe it could be shown that our use of airconditioners would be lessened if we didn’t have daylight saving.  Maybe if we DID have daylight saving, there’d be renewed debate about extended trading hours in the city so the place doesn’t shut down altogether after business hours.

It’s going to be close, so get down to your local barbie, pub or talkback radio station and have your say.  There’s a whole hour of daylight at stake here!

For another link to the whys and wherefores of daylight saving try visiting “Daylight Saving Time: What’s the point?”

What will YOU say to your kids when they are older and ask how you voted on May 16th 2009? If your answer is you voted no, you’d better have a plausible, rational reason for them.


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§ 8 Responses to Daylight saving in WA

  • chas says:

    Although I can see both sides of the argument & there are definite positives & negatives, why has not 30 minutes been put forward as a compromise for both sides. This half hour should run for the whole period the East runs. We are West Australians & are noted for being a little innovative. So why not?

  • alexmillier says:

    I’m considering getting a t-shirt together which says “If WA says NO to daylight saving, I’m outta here.”

  • alexmillier says:

    WA is losing some of its best creative talent to the Eastern States. Wouldn’t have anything to do with its conservatism and tendency to say NO to everything would it? It all started when CY O’Connor experienced the worst of the nay sayers and ended up topping himself before his great project was fully realized. Things really haven’t changed much since then. Saying NO to DLS although not representative of this conservative tendency is yet another example of WA’s fear of change. Hell, maybe when the UK and Australia are finally republics, WA will establish it’s own monarchy with Charles as the first king. Wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Mike D says:

    Perth has around 17/18 minutes of DLS year round due to its longitude.

    As one of the many who enjoy outdoor activity in the cool of the early morning, I will be very pleased if DLS is cancelled. This preference has nothing to with “conservatism” or “monarchistic tendencies”, nor the longevity of curtains or synchronicity with Sydney / Melbourne; it’s simply a personal preference based on the Perth climate.

    If DLS gets a yes vote, I’ll live with it, and maybe get stronger lights for my bike.

    FYI, just in case you think the above means my knuckles scrape the ground, I was there for the premier of XenDen, and I am familiar with the work of eric Dolphy and bennie Maupin.

  • alexmillier says:

    Good to hear from you Mike. I agree. It is a personal preference and you’re absolutely right to point out that I’m drawing a long bow about connecting daylight saving with conservatism and monarchists. I was trying to be provocative 😉 It’s also nice to have an articulate response to this question for a change.

    Take care on the roads. Perth drivers have a serious attitude problem towards two wheeled or pedestrian travellers.


  • alexmillier says:

    Update. Colin Barnett’s now decided to vote for daylight saving in the affirmative as “although it doesn’t really suit him he can see the benefits for others”.

  • Brad says:

    Hey Alex,

    I’m going to have to side with Mike D here and for mostly the same reasons. For every study out there about the health benefits attributed to people exercising more due to DLS, there’ll be another study showing the increased benefit to exercising first thing in the morning, something alot of people find that much harder to do with the introduction of DLS (particularly Feb/March).

    My partner and I like to walk our dogs before work as not only is it better for us (good kick start), it is also better for them as they can work off some of the energy and relax more during the day while they’re alone. While it doesn’t stop us, when you wake up at 6am to take them out and it’s still dark right up until 7, it really makes me want to give Matt Birney a good kick in the teeth.

    The other thing consistently overlooked when talking about how it makes it easier for trade with the Eastern States is that our biggest trading partner, China, shares the same timezone. Also, while daylight saving levels us up to Tokyo time, this doesn’t really matter because so many of the Japanese don’t start work until 9am and work right through until 10pm or later.

    Lastly, while I’m aware this is harped on about, this will be the FOURTH referendum! How many other topics/issues would you as a taxpayer be happy for a government to spend millions of dollars on to ask us four separate times, especially when the first three were the same result?



    P.S. will have to catch up for a burger again soon…

  • alexmillier says:

    Thanks for that perspective Brad. Ultimately it boils down to personal life choices balanced with the greater good. That’s what living in a democracy is all about.

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