For daylight saving: Some second thoughts
Brisbane blogger Joanne Jacobs is campaigning for daylight saving in SE Queensland. Last year, Mark Bahnisch came out against, arguing that, in Brisbane’s summer weather it’s better to finish work after sunset. I thought this might be a good time to review the issue, which we discussed at length last year
I’m generally in favour as I tend to wake up with the sun. Because Brisbane is so far east (we’re not far from Byron Bay), sunrise in summer is very early – it’s light before 5am. In some ways, that’s good (it’s a great time to get work done), but not if you want to stay up past about 9pm. It starts getting dark pretty early, around 6:30.
I suspect that daylight saving here does little more than restore the time in Brisbane to what it would be under “God’s time”, without time zones or other fiddles.
The problem is, of course, that the state is big in both directions. The tropics have very little seasonal variation in the length of the day, which makes daylight saving in summer nonsensical while the west has the opposite problem to Brisbane. As various commentators noted, the idea that resistance to daylight saving in these regions is based on ignorant provincialism is itself ignorant and provincial, reflecting an assumption that the conditions of the temperate-zone eastern seaboard hold universally.
But if we have to have one time zone for the whole state , we should pick it to suit the majority. My guess is that a majority of people in SEQ would prefer daylight saving, and this would outweigh the majority against in other regions. But there are certainly sizeable minorities in both areas, so it’s hard to predict for sure.
Last time around, I dismissed as ludicrous the idea of an internal time zone border, but as commentators pointed out, NSW has one, with Broken Hill on Adelaide time. On reflection, I think the idea has a bit of appeal on general subsidiarity grounds.
Starting with the current situation, Queensland has to choose whether to go along with the southern states and get the benefits of consistency along with the benefits and costs of daylight savings. Clearly the benefits are larger in SEQ, so if we go that way, it would be reasonable to offer the same choice to the north and west. Those regions would then have the same choice between a more convenient time system, with the costs of inconsistency with the South-East, or a less convenient but consistent system.
Of course, anyone who really doesn’t like daylight saving could leave their watch unchanged, stick to their old schedules as far as possible, and just bear in mind that everyone else is using a different time. The reverse is true in the present situation if you really like daylight saving – you can just get up early.