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News 2007

News and views from the anti-daylight saving front

The following are a small selection of anti-daylight saving developments, drawn from readers' emails, public domain media releases, and other related websites and information sources.


December 2007, Venezuela

Venezuelan timezone readjusts by half an hour

Venezuelan clocks were turned back permanently by half an hour on 9 December. The country will now be 4 and a half hours behind GMT, instead of 4 hours.

Although the intention of the clock change is to better optimise the country's daylight usage, some media reports that Venezuela is adopting daylight saving time are incorrect.

The rationale for the change is that the current time of GMT -4 corresponds to the eastern part of the country, causing people living in the west to get up well before sunrise. The change, which has been in the planning since 1999, is part of a series of proposed measures designed to better harmonise the population's daily activiies and to reduce traffic congestion. These measures include staggered commencement times for educational, retail and service activities, and reducing the working day to six hours.

Other places that operate on a permanent half-hour time difference include India, Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka, as well as Newfoundland, South Australia and some islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

'Chavez turns back hands of time by half an hour,' Rory Carroll, The Guardian, 10 December 2007

[Recommended] '"Crazy" time change for Venezuela sets clocks back to 1964,' Kiraz Janicke, Venezuelanalysis.com, 25 September 2007

Light of Day comment: Predictably, this sane and sensible development has been hopelessly distorted by all the usual anti-Chavez hysteria. It's one thing to re-direct a country's vast oil revenues to fund basic amenities for the poor. However, to turn a country's clocks backwards, instead of forwards, and on a permanent basis, is the ultimate sin against capitalism. What would Simon Bolivar make of all this?



October 2007, Western Australia

It's official. WA power utility reports energy increase - ah, make that no energy impact at all - from daylight saving.

The Western Australian public energy utility, Western Power, reports that there was an increase in energy consumption during last year's daylight saving period, but that it is likely to make no impact at all on energy consumption this year.

According to ABC News Online, 'Western Power says because daylight saving started in December last year, it was responsible for an increase of point-6 of one per cent in electricity use.'

'The General Manager of System Management at Western Power, Ken Brown, says because daylight saving started this month [October], the utility expects it to have no impact on usage at all this summer.'

General Manager of the utility's System Management, Ken Brown, said that Western Power would introduce a system to cut air-conditioning usage by automatically switching off air-conditioners for about seven to 15 minutes each hour.

Source:

'Daylight saving but no power saving,' ABC News, 31 October 2007

Light of Day comment: Whether the introduction of DST increases energy consumption, or makes no impact at all, is still good news for the anti-DST case.

However, to report that there will now be 'no impact' for 'this summer' - when there was definitely an increase last summer - does not make a lot of sense. After all, increased air-conditioning usage in WA will continue for much longer this DST season.

As with so much DST analysis, you have to look carefully at what is being said. To say that, 'because daylight saving started [in October this year], the utility expects it to have no impact on usage at all this summer' is a straw argument. Of course it will have no impact because the summer months are December, January and February.

What we need to know is whether the overall energy usage throughout THE ENTIRE 2007-8 daylight saving period (i.e. October to March) increases in relation to previous years - as it obviously did during the 2006-7 period.

And isn't it a little bizarre to introduce a system to cut air-conditioning usage, when DST may very well be causing it to increase?

Interesting to see how the politics of these inconvenient truths will play out come the end of this DST season.


October 2007, New South Wales

Regional NSW speaks out at 'being ignored'

The NSW Farmers' Association passed policy at its Annual Conference this year to oppose any extension of daylight saving in NSW.

NSW Farmers' president, Jock Laurie, expressed criticism regarding the lack of consultation regarding the proposed extension, saying that the issues continually raised by the Association are being ignored.

"Our members have consistently expressed disquiet over the effect of daylight saving on country people ... Daylight saving has a significant adverse impact on rural families and communities businesses. An example is children travelling home from school in the heat of early afternoon sun," Mr Laurie said.

Mr Laurie's comments echo a similar situation in South Australia. In June this year, the SA Farmers Federation conducted a survey of its rural communities, with the overwhelming majority opposed to the state government's decision to extend daylight saving for a trial period, starting next year.

Main sources:

'NSW Farmers say no to extra daylight saving,' North Queensland Register, 22 October 2007

'Clock ticks on daylight plan,' Ross Tyson, Riverina Media Group, 24 October 2007

'Rural SA 'bitterly disappointed over daylight saving', Aimee Pedler, North Queensland Register, 27 June 2007 (Original source: Stock Journal, SA, June 28)

Light of Day comment: As we've seen in the recent WA debacle, the virtual absence of decent consultation with community groups adversely affected by daylight saving amendments is a common conceit of Australian state governments and metropolitan media interests. What also makes the NSW extension so galling is that its rural and regional communities are suffering arguably the worst drought in Australia's recorded history. Why kick them when they're down?

Also, if the 1996 DLS extension is any guide, the NSW rural-regional population will get no help from its traditional Lib-Nat Coalition support base. Back then, the sitting Liberal MPs turned their backs on their Nationals Coalition partners, crossing the floor to get the extension passed.


October 2007, Western Australia

More backlash blues in WA

The backlash against the daylight saving trial continues to bite in WA. The State Opposition will introduce a private members' bill into the upper house this week to bring forward the referendum on daylight saving to early next year.

The Liberal Leader Paul Omodei says community sentiment has turned against the measure and people want to have their say.

The Nationals' leader Brendon Grylls says, while he is opposed to daylight saving, he is critical of the Liberal's new position.

"Without a doubt they are concerned about the position they've taken and the electoral backlash that comes from that," he said.

"It just seems that this was a discussion which should have been had before the D'Orazio/Birney bill was introduced into Parliament."

Source:
'Daylight saving has Liberals concerned about voter backlash
', ABC News, 24 October 2007

Related reading:
'Push to review daylight saving,' Perth Now, 23 October 2007


'WAFF backs push for daylight saving referendum,' ABC News, 24 October 2007

See also Light of Day News item below: 'Backlash on daylight saving trial', March 2007


October 2007, Queensland

Without a trace: The mysterious case of the vanishing '52 per cent'

The big news this week is the decision taken by Premier Anna Bligh and her Cabinet on 1 October that no referendum on daylight saving or a split time zone would be held for now.

The decision was almost certainly based on one of the key findings in the newly released Daylight Saving Research Report, which suggests that maintaining the status quo would 'cause the least public backlash' (page 14). The report was commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and undertaken by market research consultants, AC Nielson.

Far less reported in the media - in fact, not reported at all - is how the Report found that, while 59 per cent polled approved of daylight saving 'as a general concept', only 52 per cent were in favour of the introduction of daylight saving to Queensland (page 74). Also vastly under-reported was the finding that only one-third polled statewide and in the southeast approved the introduction of a split time zone (page 108).

Unfortunately, this is not exactly how it was reported in the state's and nation's media. The all-important '52 per cent' figure was surgically removed from all reports on the subject. Here is a selection of how the media reported both the decision and the Report's findings (bold type ours):

The Australian:
THE Sunshine State will be out of kilter with the other eastern states on summer time indefinitely after new Premier Anna Bligh rejected government-commissioned research showing 59 per cent of Queenslanders wanted daylight saving. ('Sunshine State will stay out of kilter', 2 October 2007)

GoldCoast.com.au (Gold Coast Bulletin):
On Monday, [Premier Bligh] ruled out holding a referendum, trial or revisiting the issue while she was Premier, despite a $120,000 taxpayer-funded study finding a clear majority -- 59 per cent across the state and 69 per cent in the southeast -- were in favour of change.
(Daylight saving canned by minority, 3 October 2007)

ABC.com:
Premier Anna Bligh has ruled out daylight saving despite an AC Neilsen survey of 1,000 individuals and 600 businesses that found 59 per cent want daylight saving.('Cairns business chamber backs daylight saving rejection', 2 October 2007)

Queensland Business Review:
The research shows that overall support for daylight saving in 2007 stands at 59 percent of voters. Bligh says it is also clear from the survey that the majority of Queenslanders did not support a split zone system of daylight saving.
('Bush vote and geography defeat daylight saving', 2 October 2007)

The Courier Mail:
[T]he survey of 1000 residents and 600 businesses found 59 per cent of people statewide and 69 per cent of southeast Queenslanders were in support of daylight saving. ('No vote on daylight saving' 1 October)

Light of Day comment: While a '52 per cent' result is not great news for the state's daylight saving opponents, it's not all that alarming when you consider that another independent poll taken for the Sunday Mail at about the same time as the government poll (July) showed only 45 per cent support for statewide DLS and only 27 per cent support for a split time zone. This shows there is not a clear enough, or consistent enough, majority swing to justify a referendum for either full-state DLS or a split time zone.

However, the media's failure to clarify the correct percentages, or to properly clarify that only a small minority supports a split time zone even in the south-east, outrageously distorts the true situation. The media also failed to clarify that the Report showed an all-important distinction in public attitudes to daylight saving - that much of Queensland's resistance IS SPECIFIC to the state's conditions - not a rejection of daylight saving itself.


To download and read the report: Understanding Attitudes Towards Daylight Saving in Queensland


September 2007, Queensland

Research due on daylight saving for south-east

Research commissioned by the former Beattie government into the possibility of introducing daylight saving in the state's southeast is due to be made public in a few weeks' time. Premier Anna Bligh is expected to make a decision based on the findings of the report.

'On the basis of that research I will be taking those recommendations to Cabinet on whether or not we revisit that issue,' Ms Bligh said.

Premier Bligh is known to be a strong supporter of daylight saving, but is apprehensive abut a dual time zone for the state. The issue also threatens to split the Labor Party Caucus, half of whose members reside in the state's south-east.

Further reading: 'Bligh faces daylight saving test', Steven Wardill and Lachlan Heywood, Courier Mail, 15 September 2007

(See also item below:
Shock poll result: 'Don't split our state', July 2007)


September 2007, New South Wales

Stupid and stupider: NSW to extend DLS by one month

NSW's Iemma government plans to pass legislation to extend daylight saving by one month – with a 3-week earlier start date (first weekend of October) and a 1-week later end date (first weekend of April). The legislation will take effect as of 2008, with Victoria and South Australia almost certain to follow suit. It is envisaged that the Bill will pass easily through both houses of parliament.

Although it will not affect the 2007 daylight saving start date, the 2008 end date will occur one week later – that is the first week of April.

Light of Day comment: Compared to the 1996 NSW daylight saving extension, the media has been low-key on any form of coverage or debate on the issue. No formal community consultation appears to have been sought by the NSW government, other than the usual inner-metropolitan business and political lobbies who are predictably convinced it will boost consumer spending after work and lift them out of the state's worsening economic doldrums.

Convinced that the sun rises and sets over Sydney, the NSW government in general and Sydney residents in particular are showing their usual obliviousness to the needs of the rest of the country, namely:

  • NSW's westerly-positioned communities, who will suffer even further hardship at both the beginning and end of the day, due to their later summer sunrises and sunsets
  • the already unpopular, energy wasteful and unnecessarily dark mornings during March - even in Sydney - as a result of the 1996 extension, which will now be further extended into April
  • the heightening of the existing wedge between the DLS and standard-time states, whose summer climatic conditions are highly unsuited to a forward clock change, let alone an even further annual extension to 6 months
  • the specific latitudinal and longitudinal conditions of the other DLS states, who will be obliged to follow suit
  • the specific needs of the various westerly-positioned communities in the other DLS states, who will be further disadvantaged by yet another extension. (See item below: 'Rural SA 'bitterly disappointed' over daylight saving')

Further reading: ABC Online, 24 September 2007


July 2007, Queensland

Shock poll result: 'Don't split our state'

An exclusive poll taken by Brisbane's Sunday Mail indicates that Queenslanders are overwhelmingly against splitting the state into two time zones.

Only 27 per cent said they approved of a separate time zone in the south-east of the state. Even in the south-east itself, support was low – at only 26 per cent.

The survey also showed that overall support for daylight saving statewide was only 45 per cent – virtually identical to the 1992 referendum.

Further reading: 'We don't want daylight saving', Edmund Burke, Sunday Mail, 1 July 2007


June 2007, South Australia

Rural SA 'bitterly disappointed' over daylight saving

The South Australian Farmers Federtion has conducted a survey of rural communities, with the overwhelming majority opposed to the state government's decision to extend daylight saving for a trial period, starting next year.

The extension will cause some parts of the state, such as Ceduna, to experience sunrise as late as 7.50 am.

Premier Mike Rann said that, without the extension SA would be 1.5 hours behind the other states for a few weeks of the year .

"This would have detrimental impacts on SA business as well as airline and other scheduling," he said.

Further reading:

'Rural SA 'bitterly disappointed over daylight saving', Aimee Pedler, North Queensland Register, 27 June 2007 (Original source: Stock Journal, SA, June 28)


March 2007, Western Australia

Backlash on WA daylight saving trial

WA politicians and the Perth media are now on the back foot as public opposition mounts towards the 3-year daylight saving trial introduced on 6 December.

A petition calling for an early referendum (for later this year instead of 2009 under the Daylight Saving Act) has gathered 37,000 signatures. Former triathlon champion Liz Leyden already has 2500 signatures on an anti-daylight saving petition she started in January.

Three statewide Westpoll surveys over four months have registered significant rising opposition – from 44 per cent in November to 50 per cent in January to a whopping 62 per cent in March! Among 18–35 year olds – traditionally viewed as being more supportive of daylight saving – opposition has risen from 33 per cent in December to 50 per cent in March.

Perth’s WA News, one of the trial’s greatest advocates, is now reporting that disillusionment is setting in among what are usually some of the most daylight-friendly sectors of the community – the restaurant/hotel trades and the city's beaches.

Sixty-five per cent of Australian Hotels Association members have declared they will not be voting for daylight saving in 2009, with one pub reporting a 16 per cent downturn and restaurants claiming a significant drop in 6.00–7.30 pm dining.

Beach attendance is also down. A spokesperson for the Royal Life Saving Society reported that, due to the dark mornings, the number of early swimmers, joggers and dog walkers at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach has halved since the start of the three-year trial, with no corresponding upturn at day's end due to the presence of 30-knot sea breezes in the late afternoon.

Two bills have now been introduced to Parliament in response to the trial’s plummeting support – a private members bill by trial co-sponsor, Matt Birney, to shorten the annual daylight saving period from 5 to 3 months, and one from the Nationals calling for a referendum to be held later this year intead of 2009. As Premier Alan Carpenter has stated that the Labor Caucus will not be allowed a free vote on the issue, neither bill has a hope of being passed.

Further reading:

'Daylight saving support sinks,' WA News (thewest.com.au), 24 March 2007

'Paradise lost - our traditional early morning dip at the beach,' WA News (thewest.com.au), 17 March 2007

Also, the Perth-based blog, Interlogue, has two excellent analyses on the WA daylight saving trial:

'More on daylight saving' (17 March 2007) and 'Daylight saving on the cards' (20 October 2006)


January 2007, Western Australia

TV poll reveals majority 'Yes' vote for early daylight saving referendum


A phone poll taken by 7News over the weekend of 27-8 January found that a large majority want to hold a daylight saving referendum at the end of this summer, not in 2009. In the 'Pulse of Perth' phone poll, which asked: 'Should WA vote on daylight saving at the end of this summer?', almost 28,000 viewers voted - one of the station's biggest ever responses to a phone poll.

Almost 21,000 people (almost three-quarters) answered 'Yes', while approximately 7,000 voted 'No
.

[LoD comment: The overwhelming 'Yes' vote does not necessarily mean that the poll participants were against daylight saving. However, it does send a clear message to the WA State Government that voters are very unhappy with the way in which the Daylight Saving Bill was rushed through parliament on the back of a skewed media campaign, and with almost no community consultation.]

Related reading: 'Most want daylight saving vote now: poll', Yahoo 7NEWS, 29 January 2007


October 2006, Queensland

Curtain-hysteria spin as media roast Premier on skin cancer comment

Premier Peter Beattie was forced into damage control last week as his warning on a potential relationship between skin cancer and daylight saving received the full force of the media's faded-curtain ridicule.

First reported in the Courier Mail's 'Cancer the latest scare' (25 October), the Premier was quoted as saying:

'One of the issues in a state where we've got the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world – an extra hour of daylight is going to make that worse.'

When patronisingly questioned about whether he realised daylight saving 'did not actually add another hour to the day', the Premier went on to say that 'his argument had to do with the time kids would play in the hottest part of the day'.

This all-important distinction was completely overshadowed, however, by the spin of the rest of the article. Before the reader even got a chance to get to the Premier's remarks, the article had begun with:

'FORGET the curtains fading or the cows being confused, the Premier's latest excuse for not introducing daylight saving is that it would increase the risk of skin cancer.'

Immediately after the Premier's all-too-brief quotes, the article went on to extensively counter-quote from the Queensland Cancer Fund director, Professor Joanne Aitken:

'I can say that there's no evidence to suggest any increased risk of skin cancer as a result (of daylight saving).' Professor Aitken claimed that daylight saving does not increase the amount of UV in the day and that there was 'no evidence' to suggest that daylight saving had an impact on skin cancer rates in other states.

The following day, the Premier did a semi-retraction of his comments by saying he was just 'having a go' at journalists for asking all the same questions about daylight saving at this time every year ('Premier red-faced as cancer joke fails,' Gold Coast Bulletin, 26 October).

Yet the Premier has since stood by his comments. In the ABC World Today program on 27 October, he had this to say: 'One of the things I want to ask the mums and dads are, how do they feel about their children, for example, leaving school [at] what would amount to in Eastern Standard Time an hour earlier in the heat of the day when UV rays are the highest.'

[LoD comment:

1. See 'When a faded curtain is not a joke' for the Light of Day position on the daylight saving/skin cancer issue. Also, go to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) website, 'UV Index Reports', for data on average daily UV indexes state by state.

2. Despite all the howling faded-curtain ridicule and numerous letters and blog posts saying that the Premier 'had gone nuts', was a 'raving moron' and 'proved what a backward place the Smart State really was', at least the Premier got the issue out there. On the blog sites, about 10 per cent of comments fully understood the UV implications of moving children's daily outdoor activity forward in the day on a permanent basis. And that's 10 per cent more public domain space than in past years! Good on you, Pete.

3. Regarding the comments of Prof. Aitken, she seems to assume, as did the journalists and many C-M readers, that the Premier was referring to the extra daylight at the end of the day. None of her comments related to the permanent shift in children's daily outdoor activity caused by a forward clock-change.

Also, her claim that there was 'no evidence' that daylight saving had any impact on skin cancer rates and that there was 'no evidence' to suggest daylight saving had an impact on skin cancer rates in other states, are a Catch 22. Because there have been no studies on either of these hypotheses, of course there is 'no evidence'. (I would also add that when I lived in NSW, alarming and mysterious increases in skin cancer rates were regularly being reported in the media during the mid-nineties. This marked roughly 25 years since daylight saving was introduced in NSW.)

We have the data to measure the increased risk of UV exposure caused by a permanent forward clock-change for part of the year, and thus provide the 'evidence' - we just need the political will to do so.]

Below is a flashback of the Light of Day News item that we published in November 2004, which covered similar comments by the Premier and a response from the QCF:


[Flashback] November 2004, Sydney, New South Wales:

Queensland Premier acknowledges possible daylight saving–skin cancer link

A small article, ‘Extra daylight kills: Premier’, which appeared in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on 17 November, includes what could be the first public acknowledgement by a prominent Australian politician of a possible link between daylight saving and skin cancer rates. In the article, Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, is indirectly quoted as saying that the absence of daylight saving in Queensland helped people 'avoid skin cancer' because it ‘reduced the number of hours [they] spent in the sun’. However, the article goes on to indirectly quote the Queensland Cancer Council as saying that daylight saving ‘made no difference to the risks of getting skin cancer’.

A Light of Day reader contacted the Queensland Cancer Fund (Council) to confirm whether the organisation had been properly quoted in the Daily Telegraph article and to enquire as to what research had been done to enable them to take this stance. According to the reader, a QCF spokesperson told her that the council had been misquoted. The spokesperson claimed that the QCF had not researched any daylight saving–skin cancer link and does not have an opinion either way on the subject.

[LoD comment: We at Light of Day do not entirely agree with Premier Beattie’s argument (assuming of course that he wasn’t also misquoted); however, he is on the right track. LoD argues that the link between daylight saving and skin cancer does not concern the amount of time people spend in the sun, but the period of the day in which that time is spent. By bringing forward daily outdoor activities from the afternoon into the middle of the day, daylight saving can make a huge difference to people's UVR (ultra-violet radiation) exposure, especially among school children.

Even though the lead sentence of the Daily Telegraph article: ‘Daylight saving doesn’t just fade the curtains – it can kill you’, leaves the reader in no doubt as to the journalist’s opinion on the subject, the fact that this potentially serious health issue has been flagged by a prominent Australian politician is a sign that it may finally be receiving the long overdue attention it deserves.]

Related reading:

‘Extra daylight kills: Premier’, The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2004


October 2006

Democrats youth poll show slight majority favour QLD status quo

The Australian Democrats 2006 national youth poll reveals that a slight majority of Queensland respondents – 51 per cent – are against the introduction of daylight saving. The poll is conducted annually on a range of issues and covers the age group 15-20. Respondents come from all the states and live in urban, regional and remote areas. Male respondents in the 2006 poll outnumbered female respondents 55 to 45 per cent.

The daylight saving question was specific to Queensland participants.

[LoD comment: Considering this generation has grown up in the post-referendum era, with virtually blanket pro-daylight saving media coverage, this is a significant result. It flies in the face of prevailing mythology that the young traditionally favour daylight saving. It also brings a reality check to ongoing pro-daylight claims that those who were too young to vote in the 1992 referendum would automatically vote 'yes' in a current referendum. More importantly, it strongly indicates that the realities of climate and seasonal daylight patterns slightly win out over exaggerated timezone uniformity hype – at least in the minds of Queensland’s youth.]

Related reading:

Australian Democrats Youth Poll 2006


October 2006

Dark times ahead as WA MPs close ranks to rush daylight legislation

Western Australian premier, Alan Carpenter, announced a week ago that state MPs are to be allowed a 'conscience vote' on a private members' bill currently before state parliament to introduce a 3-year daylight saving trial, supposedly followed by a referendum in 2009.

As 70 per cent of state MPs want daylight saving - a situation that is at odds with surveys that have mostly shown strong opposition to daylight saving in at least half the population since the state's third referendum defeat in 1992 - the Bill is almost certain to be passed.

Independent MP, John D'Orazio, the driving force behind the Bill, claimed that there was no need to hold a daylight saving referendum at the present time as it would only 'muddy the waters'.

[LoD comment: If the referendum goes ahead in 2009 (and it's a big IF), it will be the fourth in just over thirty years. This is a coercive manipulation of the democratic process. The WA parliamentary behaviour of the last week, egged on by a cheerleading media who make no secret of their breathless excitement at getting this legislation over the line, is symptomatic of the extent of the MPs' frustration at having to deal with a population whose wishes are at odds with what is politically desirable.

WA's daylight saving history is almost identical to Queensland's. It has an extremely vocal and influential pro-daylight saving minority, that forms a localised majority in the state's metropolitan area. Like Qld, the metropolitan sector is positioned within the most southerly, temperate latitudes of the state. Like Qld, the media coverage of the issue is almost entirely dominated by pro-daylight metropolitan business interests. Like Qld, it has a history of insecurity about its isolation from Sydney and Melbourne and a sense of inferiority about its much smaller population size - two sensitive buttons that the pro-daylight lobby ruthlessly pushes on a regular basis. And sadly, like Qld, it has horrendous UV levels and a corresponding skin cancer risk - which would be adversely affected by the change in the daily pattern of children's outdoor activity that a forward clock-change would bring.

Also, the events in WA are very reminiscent of the way in which the 2005 Indiana daylight saving vote was conducted. (See '2005 daylight saving time debacle,' HoosiersForCentralTime.com) I wonder if WA MPs used it as a blueprint?]


September 2006, United States

Indiana poll finds more people against, than for, statewide adoption of daylight saving

In a statewide poll taken by Indiana's WISH-TV, it was found that 49 per cent of residents polled opposed the state's adoption of daylight saving last year, while only 44 were in favour. About 7 per cent were not sure.

Flying in the face of traditional mythology that daylight saving opposition is the domain of conservative politics, Republicans polled supported daylight saving time 47 per cent to 45 per cent, while Democrats opposed it 53 per cent to 41 per cent. Of independents, 51 per cent opposed it while 43 per cent supported it.

The telephone poll of 800 voters was conducted on 5-8 September by Maryland-based Research 2000. The poll has a statewide sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Related reading:

'Poll finds majority against Indiana Toll Road Lease,' News Sentinel, FortWayne.com, 16 September 2006

[LoD comment: This website provides fascinating background reading on the Indiana House of Representatives daylight saving vote (highly recommended): '2005 daylight saving time debacle,' HoosiersForCentralTime.com (no date)]


April 2006

Daylight saving off Queensland Libs' agenda - for now

In a baffling move, the Queensland Liberals announced they were dropping daylight saving as a priority issue for the party. A party spokesperson said it would not be an issue in the upcoming state election.

The move comes on the heels of one of the most intensive pro-daylight saving media campaigns ever run in Queensland, which threw the issue well and truly into the spotlight during the 2005-6 daylight saving period. The Libs' decision was almost certainly made in the context of their ongoing embattled coalition relationship with the Queensland Nationals, who are strongly opposed to daylight saving.

The Liberals remain the only political party in Queensland who officially support its introduction.

Related reading:

'Daylight saving off Libs' agenda,' ABC On-line, 13 April 2006


29 March, 2006

Insurance statistics indicate higher accident rates after forward clock change

A US biologist has recently added fuel to the medical case against daylight saving. An article published by ABC News (US), 'Steps Help Brain Adjust to Daylight Saving', reports on the findings of Kent State University biologist David Glass, who has studied the human body clock for 15 years.

Glass refers to a study he made of actuarial tables from the insurance industry: 'If you look at accident rates, one of the highest days for an increase in accidents on the highways or in the workplace or whatever occurs on Monday after the Sunday [daylight saving] phase advance.'

[LoD comment: This is hardly news to those people in daylight saving populations who have to cope with feelings of sluggishness, fatigue and disorientation for up to two weeks after the forward clock change every year.

Glass' comments also validate the findings of sleep researcher Stanley Coren in his book Sleep Thieves (1996). Coren found that, over a period of three years, there was an average 8 per cent increase in road accidents in the week following the forward clock change, and a corresponding average 8 per cent decrease after the clocks went back again.]

Related reading:

'Sleep Deficit, Fatal Accidents, and the Spring Shift to Daylight Savings Time’, Stanley Coren, Inabis ’98

'Daylight saving time sure bet for increase in accidents, fatigue' Self Help, 1 November 1994

'Battling the effects of daylight saving', Blackmores, 31 March 2004, www.blackmores.com.au


15 March 2006, Iran

Iranian government drops daylight saving

On 15 March, the Iranian Cabinet ratified a decision to drop daylight saving.

According to a government spokesperson, the decision was based on findings that the time change did not significantly reduce energy consumption. The other official reason given was that the yearly time change creates confusion in most parts of the country.

The government denies claims from critics that the move was made for religious reasons.
Iran introduced daylight saving in the late seventies, but it was dropped after the 1979 revolution, then reintroduced in 1991 in an effort to save energy.

Related reading:

‘Iran nullifies decision on daylight saving time’
,
Payvand’s Iran News, 19 March 2006


29 October 2005

Premier Peter Beattie urges flexibility on daylight saving

QUEENSLAND Premier, Peter Beattie, has suggested that the real daylight saving problem concerns the 'state's southern border'. He proposed that northern New South Wales could elect to go on to Queensland time during the daylight saving months and that the Gold Coast business community 'runs a voluntary daylight saving for those businesses it impacts'.

Related reading:

'Daylight saving solution for border', News.com (AAP)


October 2005, United States

US government online poll: 54 per cent 'hate' daylight saving

In an online poll conducted by About.com, a US government information website, the question was asked: "How do you like DST?". Out of a total of 1710 respondents to date, 54 per cent have answered 'Hate it', while only 31 per cent are in favour (the rest don't seem to care).

This is by no means a representative sample, and the categories ('Hate it', 'Love it, 'Take it or leave it' and 'What time is it?') may err on the side of frivolous. However, the sheer strength of the 'Hate it' vote should not be underestimated.


April 2005, Nevada, United States

Fifth anti-daylight saving bill to go before Nevada Assemby

Assembleyman Bob McCleary D-North Las Vegas has brought a bill before the Nevada Assembly to abolish daylight saving. The bill is due to be heard this month. Although it is unlikely to be passed, this will be the fifth attempt made in the Nevada legislature to abolish daylight saving. According to Mr McCleary, the main opposition to the bill comes from sporting interests.

Related reading:

Lawmaker tries to end time change', Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal, 4 April, 2005


15 March, 2005, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan abolishes daylight saving

The Government of Kazakhstan passed a resolution on March 15 abolishing daylight saving time. The resolution cited mainly health issues (sleep problems, biological disturbances), a lack of economic or energy-saving benefits and the results of opinion polls.

According to a press release from the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington DC: 'In abolishing daylight savings time, Kazakhstan follows the example of China, Estonia, Japan, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.'


November 2004, Sydney, New South Wales

Queensland Premier acknowledges possible daylight saving–skin cancer link

A small article, ‘Extra daylight kills: Premier’, which appeared in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on 17 November, includes what could be the first public acknowledgement by a prominent Australian politician of a possible link between daylight saving and skin cancer rates. In the article, Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, is indirectly quoted as saying that the absence of daylight saving in Queensland helped people 'avoid skin cancer' because it ‘reduced the number of hours [they] spent in the sun’. However, the article goes on to indirectly quote the Queensland Cancer Council as saying that daylight saving ‘made no difference to the risks of getting skin cancer’.

A Light of Day reader contacted the Queensland Cancer Fund (Council) to confirm whether the organisation had been properly quoted in the Daily Telegraph article and to enquire as to what research had been done to enable them to take this stance. According to the reader, a QCF spokesperson told her that the council had been misquoted. The spokesperson claimed that the QCF had not researched any daylight saving–skin cancer link and does not have an opinion either way on the subject.

[LoD comment: We at Light of Day do not entirely agree with Premier Beattie’s argument (assuming of course that he wasn’t also misquoted); however, he is on the right track. LoD argues that the link between daylight saving and skin cancer does not concern the amount of time people spend in the sun, but the period of the day in which that time is spent. By bringing forward daily outdoor activities from the afternoon into the middle of the day, daylight saving can make a huge difference to people's UVR (ultra-violet radiation) exposure, especially among school children.

Even though the lead sentence of the Daily Telegraph article: ‘Daylight saving doesn’t just fade the curtains – it can kill you’, leaves the reader in no doubt as to the journalist’s opinion on the subject, the fact that this potentially serious health issue has been flagged by a prominent Australian politician is a sign that it may finally be receiving the long overdue attention it deserves.]

Related reading:

‘Extra daylight kills: Premier’, The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2004

Recommended reading:

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), 'UV Index Reports', http://www.arpansa.gov.au/index.htm


November 2004, Brisbane, Queensland

Another daylight saving poll reveals weak 'Yes' vote.

Brisbane Radio 4BC's 'John and Ross' program held a daylight saving phone poll on Tuesday 9 November (which the station cheekily referred to as a 'referendum'). The lines were open from 6 am to midnight and the results announced the following day.

For a poll that drew the bulk of its respondents from the epicentre of Queensland's pro-daylight saving support base (that is, south-east Queensland), a 'Yes' victory was a certainty. Listeners did not disappoint - out of approximately 5000 respondents, the final Yes/No result was 52/48 per cent.

[LoD comment: What would have disappointed many pro-daylight savers was the lukewarm strength of the 'Yes' vote. This result compares quite unfavourably with the '60/40' per cent Yes/No referendum result for the same catchment area in 1992. Although the poll respondents would not have comprised a representative sample of the south-east Queensland population, any distortion should have actually favoured the 'Yes' vote.]


17 September 2004, Brisbane, Queensland

Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, says no to daylight saving ... again (...and again).

Premier Peter Beattie dismissed calls by Nationals MP Larry Anthony to introduce daylight saving in Queensland. Mr Anthony, whose NSW electorate of Richmond borders Queensland, called for another referendum on the issue and for more pressure to be put on Queensland by the Deputy Prime Minister, and leader of the Australian Nationals, John Anderson.

Premier Beattie responded that the argument for daylight saving is 'dated'. Speaking on Brisbane Radio 4BC, Beattie stated that 'an hour does not make as much difference as it used to', as 'business leaders now deal around the world with different time zones' (more...).

[LoD comment: Here we go again. The annual season of grilling Peter Beattie over daylight saving usually kicks in about this time and will continue, no doubt, until the last Sunday in March. And next year it will start all over again.

However, Mr Beattie is not alone... the West Australian government is being equally lobbied to introduce daylight saving (in order to be two, not three, hours 'behind' the east coast); the Victorian and New South Wales governments are being lobbied to extend daylight saving to six months (to get in sync with Tasmania, and to be more like the northern hemisphere); overseas, the United States and European governments are being lobbied to extend daylight saving all year (supposedly to save electricity, while corrupt energy corporations waste it); and the British government is being lobbied to both extend daylight saving all year and double it (to be on the same time zone as Europe - and so that children can start school an hour before sunrise in winter and go to bed three hours before sunset in summer).

Wherever daylight saving goes, insecurity and discontent are sure to follow...]


April 2004, Alaska

Survey shows majority of Alaskans do not want daylight saving

A statewide poll, conducted across what appears to be a genuine representative sample of the Alaskan population, reveals that 58 per cent wants to repeal the state's daylight saving legislation.

Details of the poll appear at Repeal Daylight Saving Time in Alaska. The survey reveals little distinction between political preference, gender or age. However, it does show significantly more support for daylight saving in the south-east of the state, which is on its most temperate latitude. Despite this, two anti-daylight saving Bills have been introduced to the Alaskan state legislature, in 1999 and 2002 respectively, but both 'died in committee'.

Light of Day update: On 7 April 2005, a bipartisan bill to exempt Alaska from daylight saving (the third in six years) passed the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee in the Alaska State Congress. However, according to Repeal Daylight Saving Time in Alaska, the bill was later stalled in the Legislature. The bill was introduced and sponsored by four State representatives - three Democrats and one Republican.

[LoD comment: The main argument maintained by the Light of Day website is that daylight saving is of no benefit to populations living on very low latitudes (approximately 30 degrees or less). A similar argument applies to populations living on very high latitudes (60 degrees plus). In the 'land of the midnight sun' you really have to wonder what part of the day the Alaskan government is so keen to save.

Also, like Queensland, Alaska is a very large state. Alaska straddles four 'natural' time zones which were merged into one time zone in 1983, leading to the bizarre situation of having noon at '3 pm' in some parts of the state and forcing most Alaskans to live on 'double' daylight saving time.

As with Mexico in 1996, which underwent a merging of three time zones into one, and was obliged to join daylight saving as a condition of the North American Free Trade Agreement, daylight saving Alaskan style seems to have virtually nothing to do the state's genuine daylight needs, and even less to do with democracy.]


31 March 2004, Australia

Got that tired, screwed-up-body-clock kinda feeling?

An online article/advertisment, Battling the effects of daylight saving, appears at the website of Blackmores, a leading Australian natural health products company. Timed to coincide with Australia's autumn daylight saving clock change - the article claims that:

'... disruption to our body clock can work to the detriment of our health and well-being, with upset sleep patterns and energy loss ... The impacts of daylight saving on our body and morale can often be overlooked, but a few simple steps can help you combat any adverse effects'.

To address these negative effects, the article goes on to recommend that readers bolster their immune system, exercise, drink lots of water, boost their energy, relax, and renew their life goals ...

[LoD comment: While Light of Day welcomes any public acknowledgement of the health problems caused by daylight saving, commercial or otherwise, our experience suggests that these problems have not been 'overlooked' as the article claims. Rather, they have been actively ignored, ridiculed and dismissed.]


March 2004, Gunnedah/Tamworth, New South Wales

NSW Premier declines invitation to End of Daylight Saving Celebration.

The Gunnedah/Tamworth branch of the Abolish Daylight Saving Committee of New South Wales invited several NSW politicians to attend a public celebration to herald the end of daylight saving for the year 2003-4.

Among those invited were Bob Carr, NSW Premier; John Brogden, NSW Leaderof the Liberal Party; Andrew Stoner, NSW Leader of the Nationals; Bob Debus, NSW Attorney-General (whose department covers daylight saving) and Michael Coster, NSW Minister for Transport.

Gunnedah branch secretary, Mrs Judith Law, invited the Premier and MPs to a breakfast celebration at Woolsley Park, Gunnedah, on Friday 26 March, followed by a bus trip to Tamworth for lunch. The official 2004 end to daylight saving for NSW occurred at 2 am the following Sunday, 28 March.

Mr Carr's secretary declined the invitation by phone. Mr Stoner declined but said that he did 'empathise with its intent'. The other MPs did not acknowledge the invitation.

The NSW Abolish Daylight Saving Committee, which claims to have about 4000 members, is a network of anti-daylight saving community groups who have consistently lobbied against daylight saving in NSW and appealed for a national enquiry into its effects.

Contacts (NSW Abolish Daylight Saving Committee):

Judith O'Brien +612 6864 3286
Judith Law +612 6742 2161

 


January 2004, Brisbane, Queensland

Despite the hype, survey reveals no change on daylight saving support.

A pre-election readers' survey taken by Brisbane's Courier-Mail reveals no significant change to daylight saving attitudes in the state since the 1992 referendum.

The 'State of the State' survey, comprising a voluntary questionnaire from the newspaper's 6 January edition, asked for readers' opinions on a range of election issues. (Their names then went into a draw to win some picnic products.) Regarding the daylight saving question, '62 per cent' of respondents favoured its introduction. On this basis, a follow-up editorial of 19 January declared, in somewhat slippery fashion, that ‘a substantial majority of Queenslanders [now] believe we should have daylight saving'. In the same edition, another feature article analysing the survey results gave the issue prime coverage (even though other issues were discussed, including child protection and frequency of elections), and appeared under a big, bold, top-centre headline: 'Most of us want daylight saving'.

What the editorial and feature article did not declare is that the survey's respondents would have been pooled from the Courier-Mail's main catchment area, which is the Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor – the area in which daylight saving support is by far the state's highest. Admittedly, the publication is sold statewide but regional-rural readers mostly prefer to read their local rag.

What the 62 per cent survey figure does indicate is that there has been hardly any shift in attitudes to daylight saving since the 1992 referendum. According to the Daylight Saving Referendum Statistical Returns 1992, the Brisbane-Gold Coast ‘yes' vote was just over 60 per cent – a figure almost identical to the 2004 'State of the State' survey.

To be fair, the C-M later published a reader's letter pointing out its cavalier attitude to the facts, but tucked the correspondence away in the 'In Brief' section of the letters page.

Related reading:

'Our readers tell politicians their views', Courier-Mail, 19 January 2004

'Most of us want daylight saving', Courier-Mail, 19 January 2004


November 2003, Perth, Western Australia

Forget democracy … jigger the clocks anyway!

What part of the word ‘No’ don’t politicians understand? A move by a West Australian MP seeks to trash the results of no less than three state referendums by introducing a daylight saving private member's bill into parliament. The MP is seeking to bypass the referendum process and have it voted on in parliament. This means that the people who have resoundingly rejected it would not get a say. However, the bill cannot be raised in parliament unless it receives the required support (more...)


October 2003, Victoria

‘Cannot tolerate any more …’

Victorian Opposition rejects government plans to extend daylight saving (more...).


September 2003

Daylight saving may be harmful to health.

'New and surprising economic research suggests that daylight saving may be one of the more harmful things we inflict upon ourselves.' Life Matters, ABC Radio National, 13 September 03 (more...).

[LoD comment: The only reason this research is 'surprising' is that there has been a virtual media blackout throughout the Western world on the health problems caused by daylight saving. After reading and hearing thirty years of ridiculously undeserved and exaggerated praise for the practice, there is very little left to 'surprise' the average daylight saving opponent.]


October 2001, Gold Coast, Queensland

Lukewarm daylight saving interest in 'state of revolt'

Gold Coast Labor MP, Christine Smith, State Member for Burleigh, recently conducted a survey to find out the extent to which daylight saving is an issue of concern in her electorate.

In an ABC News Online report of 31 October, Ms Smith said that only 131 people out of 17,000 returned her survey forms and, of those, a mere 74 wanted daylight saving. This represents the extent of concern in an electorate that polled the state’s fourth highest pro-daylight vote in the 1992 referendum (more...).

[LoD comment: Ms Smith’s findings are starkly at odds with years of conveyor-belt media rhetoric from the Gold Coast business sector, which would have us believe that south-east Queensland is in a veritable state of revolt over daylight saving.]

Update:

Ms Smith also made a brilliant speech in Queensland Parliament in October 2002 on the subject of daylight saving. Despite the fact that almost 70 per cent of her electorate wants daylight saving, her speech in parliament came out against its introduction as being disadvantageous to the whole state (more ... scroll down to 'Daylight saving'. Warning: This link contains honest rhetoric from a brave politician).


October 2001, Gold Coast, Queensland

Gold Coast moves to change business hours not clocks.

The Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast City Combined Chamber of Commerce have voted to operate on ‘daylight saving time’ this year.

Contrary to misleading reports, Gold Coast clocks will not move forward. Rather, they will start their ‘official’ working day at 8.00 am standard time instead of 9.00 am.

As most Gold Coast council offices and businesses open at 8.00 am anyway, the reality will not change. However, there are many unnecessary regulations — from alcohol licences to contracts and leases — that penalise businesses for operating on earlier business hours and this needs to be addressed at government level. An official change to Gold Coast opening hours may pave the way for these regulatory reforms to occur.

Although Premier Peter Beattie and former Premier Wayne Goss have publicly stated that their governments would support businesses who wish to operate in line with daylight saving hours in southern states, there has been little done at an official level to clear the way for this to happen.

Typically, the media has either ridiculed the move or presented it as a thin edge of the wedge victory for Queensland's minority daylight saving lobby. In reality, it is a victory for the state's standard time majority. Adjustments to business hours, rather than clocks, have been a staple anti-daylight saving argument in Queensland for three decades.

The Gold Coast move may help shift the daylight saving lobby’s emphasis away from its counterproductive ‘dual time zone’ scenario to a more workable and flexible blending of business hours between the Gold Coast and northern NSW, and between Brisbane and southern capitals.


October 2000, South Australia

South Australian MP rejects moves to merge with Eastern Daylight Time.

Member of the SA House of Assembly, Liz Penfold, called for an end to daylight saving in South Australia. In a speech in state parliament, Ms Penfold attacked daylight saving in the context of renewed calls for South Australia to join Eastern Time.

According to Ms Penfold, daylight saving already caused distress for the western part of the state, which is forced to commute to school and work in the dark, leaving many children ‘sickly, inattentive at school, tired and lacking initiative’ by the end of daylight saving each year. To push the South Australian time zone even further 'west’ by joining Eastern Time would make these difficulties even worse.

Ms Penfold rejected arguments favouring time zone uniformity with the eastern states, arguing that South Australia needed to retain its own time zone. Central Australian time gave the state an equal time difference between the east and west coasts, as well as easier contact with south-east Asia (more...).


October 2000, Florida, United States *

Florida anti-daylight saving bill breaks 'committee' barrier.

Two Florida legislators, Senator George Kirkpatrick (Gainesville) and Rep. Suzanne Jacobs, (Delray Beach) introduced bills during the 2000 session of congress to exempt Florida from daylight saving time.

Jacobs’ bill was out-voted in its first session, but Kirkpatrick’s bill made it through one Senate committee — a hopeful sign.

Other US states that have introduced anti-daylight saving bills since 1997 (albeit unsuccessfully) include Kansas, Kentucky and Nevada.

Related reading:

http://www.gainesvillesun.com/news/articles/04-01-00b.shtml


September 2000, Fiji *

Fiji drops daylight saving.

The Interim Government of Fiji has officially dropped daylight saving, citing disruptions caused to school children and commercial businesses.

The decision was taken following strong daylight saving opposition from some commercial enterprises and the Ministry of Education.

While there is no indication whether this will be a permanent move, this is the first time a nation has officially dropped daylight saving since Japan in 1952.


March 2000, Mexico *

Mexican states sue Federal government over daylight saving.

Sixteen of Mexico’s 31 states, as well as the Federal District of Mexico City, are demanding an end to daylight saving time. Two major opposition parties, the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the National Action Party (PAN) have asked Congress to abolish the time change.  

Despite overwhelming opposition, the Federal Government of Mexico adopted daylight saving in 1996, to be in sync with its major trading partners, the US and Canada.

Ironically, the northern state of Sonora borders Arizona — one of the few US states to use standard time all year. So much for time zone uniformity! (more...)


March 1999, New South Wales

NSW opposition leader fails to rule out repeal of daylight saving extension.

In the lead-up to the NSW state election, New South Wales Liberal Party Opposition Leader, Kerry Chikarovski, indicated on ABC radio that some members of the Coalition would seek to end daylight saving earlier — in early March.

Such a move would reverse the 1996 state government decision to extend daylight saving from four to five months. However, Mrs Chikarovski declared herself ‘a bit of a fan’ of the practice and stressed that the Coalition had no plans to abolish daylight saving altogether.

[Background: In 1996, the NSW government extended daylight saving from the beginning, to the end, of March. The government introduced the extension in response to a vigorous campaign by Sydney business groups to extend daylight saving in order to be in sync with Victoria's dates. The campaign was bitterly and overwhelmingly fought by the NSW rural sector and rejected by the then Fahey Coalition Government on the basis that the business community did not have a strong enough case. Despite a Herald-Saulwick Poll in April 1994, that showed only 51 per cent of NSW residents favoured the change if the bush didn’t want it, the unpopular extension was immediately introduced by the newly elected Carr Labor Government in 1996.]

Related reading:

ABC Online: www.abc.net.au/news/nsw99/diary


1996–1997, France

French move to drop daylight saving overruled by EU

At a meeting of European Union transport ministers in 1996, France made a bid to scrap daylight saving among EU nations. The bid was out-voted but France called for a major study into daylight saving’s social, farming and economic impact.

In 1997, France then applied to the EU for an exemption from daylight saving, but backed down in the face of threatened legal action. Ironically, France was the first European nation to introduce the practice.

Prime Minister Alain Juppe cited general dissatisfaction among the population with the twice-yearly clock change, saying that any advantages were outweighed by the ‘disturbance to the rhythm of life’.


* Mexico, Florida and Fiji are on an identical latitude range to that of Queensland.

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