How to end daylight saving debate

THERE'S a wonderful phenomenon to be observed on our beaches if your rise early enough.

A scurry of Gold Coasters, marching purposefully up and down the sand, peak hour on a highway of activewear.

I marvelled at the scene recently, coffee in hand, from a high perch on a Surfers balcony.

These, to me, are people who have most embraced the Gold Coast lifestyle. Early risers, beach regulars, a healthy gulp of sea air and a cappuccino from the local cafe on the way back.

I'm not the kind myself. Bit of a night owl. Columns by candlelight, easier when all is silent bar the gabble of fruit bats. Easier again with a glass of good shiraz in hand. Another vice.

But it doesn't stop me admiring the beach people, the up-and-go army, and their wonderful zest for life.

Early-morning walkers at Mermaid Beach. Picture: Tim Marsden.
Early-morning walkers at Mermaid Beach. Picture: Tim Marsden.

Similar souls emerge early in suburban parks. Burpees before breakfast, no less.

I've never been fully sure what a burpee is, in truth I'm not keen to find out. But I admire these industrious people, unwilling to waste a moment, finding fitness and friendship amid the cheering morning chorus.

At the weekends there are smaller folk up and about, nippers bouncing excitedly towards the shore.

Tell me, what would it mean for these people if Queensland adopted daylight saving?

It would be a shame to rob them of their early light. To force them to rise in darkness. But there is the annual clamour, once more, for our state to make that change.





This newspaper recently asked its followers on Facebook to nominate one thing the Gold Coast really needs. "Daylight saving" was, by some distance, the most common response.

We followed up with an online poll. Such things are, by their nature, anything but scientific. But the result was striking, with just over 80% saying it was a change the Gold Coast needs.

Mayor Tom Tate and the city's business leaders have also long been in favour of joining the southern states in their clock-tampering ways.

And yet, pushing sunrise to six strikes me as so very un-Gold Coast. An attack on the healthy, hearty, early-risers among us.



Good luck getting young ones to sleep when it’s still in any way bright outside.
Good luck getting young ones to sleep when it’s still in any way bright outside.

There are other potentially more serious downsides.

Several studies have shown an increase in heart attacks, strokes and car accidents in the days following clock changes in those areas that observe daylight saving. Nature dislikes being toyed with.

It is why there have been moves to scrap the practice in several US States, and in Europe, where the EU parliament in March voted in favour of scrapping the measure.

There are other downsides. Young children are not easily convinced to adjust their body clocks. A bubbly two-year-old will not go to sleep an hour earlier to satisfy an adult whim, especially if the suns last rays are still shining. I lived for a time in an area with daylight saving when my two eldest were littlies. I can tell you the blackout blind has yet to be invented that fools little bodies. More fool us for hoping it would.

There is also the fact that the adoption of daylight saving would force a terrible schism, causing the Katter Party's slumbering campaign for a separate state of North Queensland to burst into life.

Questioned about the idea on Sky News recently, Robbie Katter said the move would drain yet more life from struggling north Queensland communities.

"Trying to get kids to bed at 8-8.30 at night in the sweltering heat when you've had 40 degree days, it's already hard to encourage people to move to those rural areas, well this would make it infinitely harder," he said.

But against all this, there is the annual confusion, the late arrivals and missed meetings, the cost to business. How odd that one can skip through time zones by crossing streets between Coolangatta to Tweed.

An escape from this chaos is certainly needed. We on the Gold Coast could dearly do with being in the same time zone as our southern friends.

But having Queensland join the daylight saving folly is not the solution. Far better if the southern states were the ones to make the change.