Let’s do the timewarp again

Yes it’s that time of the year again to put the clocks forward one hour before going to bed on Saturday, and reopen the debate on the worthiness of daylight savings.

Daylight saving officially starts this Sunday, October 1 at 2am, and will continue through to April 1 for the usual six months, despite the efforts of National Party members of parliament to shorten the period by a month.

The MPs including Tenterfield’s representative Thomas George were hoping to convince their colleagues to end daylight savings in March. The move, however, did not win the support of their urban counterparts.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest presented a motion to the NSW Legislative Assembly on August 3, with Mr George in the chair as deputy speaker. Mr Provest said his motion was not about the pros and cons of daylight saving, rather its length and its impact.

“The daylight hours in March are far too short to have daylight savings.” he said.

“This place supposedly cares about child safety but we are allowing young kids to be left on the roadside in the dark waiting to catch a school bus. Then those kids get home about 4pm or 4.30pm, they have less than an hour of daylight left.

“It is fine down south in Victoria and other places where there is twilight, but in NSW – particularly northern NSW – there is no twilight. This motion is a groundbreaking chance to bring some common sense to this debate.

“Members should drive over the Great Divide into our regional and rural areas and they will see what I mean. They should talk to the mums and dads around the bus stops and the school gate and they will hear the same complaint: ‘We do not mind daylight saving but it is just one month too long.’

Ron Hoenig – member for Heffron, an inner-Sydney electorate – countered with a bizarre discourse on caffeinating dairy cows to adjust their body clock and exploring the faded curtains issue with an engineer, without addressing the difficulties presented by daylight saving when coupled with the shortening days of March.

“It will be the thin end of the wedge for the abolition of daylight savings,” Mr Hoenig said.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall attempted to get the debate back on track, quoting an extract from a letter from one of his constituents that said, “I realise that our city cousins outnumber us in the bush, but it doesn’t mean our opinions don’t matter. Our poor kids are forced to stand at bus stops when the sun is only just coming up. Please, I request that daylight saving finishes at the beginning of March as it was years ago.”

The motion was not carried, meaning daylight savings will continue until the first Sunday in April, this time coinciding with April Fool’s Day.