Saving Daylight

Quoting from this morning's Courier-Mail (assuming that the link to the full article will disappear soon):

QUEENSLAND might not be about to split into different time zones under daylight saving, but yesterday's decision to bury the controversial issue has divided the state.

Premier Anna Bligh's decision to rule out a referendum, trial or a southeast corner zonal system split opinion between the coast and the farms.

The decision was taken worst on the Gold Coast, where support for winding clocks forward one hour during summer was strongest because of different time zones near the border.

Tourism groups were most disappointed, saying daylight saving meant more time for tourists to play.

"Many of our international visitors, in particular, like to dine and go out later in the evening and daylight saving works well with that lifestyle," Gold Coast Tourism spokesman Ben Poole said.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke last night accused Ms Bligh of lacking leadership qualities.

He said: "You really have to dig to the bottom of the barrel to find some reason not to adopt daylight saving when the rest of the country has it."

Yes, I live in the part of Australia (a very big part, mind you!) that does not have daylight saving time. In fact, Queensland had voted against it mid-20th century, later voted it in (and had it sometime in the 70s), and then voted it out again. Western Australia recently adopted it on a trial basis, although it's probably going to be repealed soon due to many people who now hate it (maybe Brett can clarify that...). The rest of the country, with the exception of the Northern Territory, doesn't appear to have any problems with DST. Having never spent a summer without DST myself, facing a summer with sunsets around 7:30 makes me a bit uncomfortable, so I turned to the old Wikipedia for some clarification.

First, did you know that most of the world's population does not observe DST and its use is actually on the decline?
Key: Blue=DST used, Orange=DST no longer used, Red=never used

Second, politics, and not some sort of common wisdom, has played an enormous role since 1907 when it was first proposed. Winston Churchill was very much in favour of it, and Canadian novelist Robertson Davies argued that opponents to DST represented "the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." (I saw one of these Puritans railing against it on TV this morning: "children would have to wake up in the dark!"). More recently, the U.S. Congress extended the American DST period in response to pressure from lobbyists representing the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores. Typically, in other parts of the world the retail and travel industries have been in favour of DST, whereas those in more rural areas (primarily farmers) have opposed it. So, the arguments about DST confronting Queensland's Anna Bligh are really not so new after all.