31/10/2006 - 21:00

Daylight between the two sides

31/10/2006 - 21:00


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Just in case anyone mistakes my cynicism last week about daylight saving suddenly having emerged on the political agenda, it was the process, not the outcome, I was commenting on.

Just in case anyone mistakes my cynicism last week about daylight saving suddenly having emerged on the political agenda, it was the process, not the outcome, I was commenting on.

Since I penned my thoughts, far more information has come to light, including directly from Matt Birney, that a conspiracy theory I proposed was far from the truth.

The current vote was not the result of a secret agenda to rehabilitate fallen Labor high flier John D’Orazio.

Instead, it resulted from Mr D’Orazio trying to gazump Mr Birney after hearing the former Liberal leader had a daylight saving bill of his own all ready to go.

I am not sure I am that relieved to hear the alternative version, but whatever the case I agree with Mr Birney’s pragmatic approach to getting the bill through the parliament as a joint effort.

“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” were Mr Birney’s words. He’s probably right, though I’d be a bit more hesitant than he is in being seen as too friendly with Mr D’Orazio.

In the end, I support the move, no matter how it came about.

The state needs daylight saving. Not having it is one of the three things that, no matter how you justify them, create a perception that WA is backward.

The trifecta – antiquated liquor laws, onerous retail trading regulations and the unwillingness to change our clocks in summer – are all things that we can change, unlike geography or climate, and therefore we are judged by others for not doing so.

Those others used to not matter, but now they do.

•           They are the businesses and customers we deal with over east.

•           They are the tourists who come here lured by the impression of Australians’ carefree attitude.

•           They are also the vitally needed skilled workers who can choose anywhere to live and need to be convinced WA is better for them and their families.

I say this all with something of a heavy heart. Personally, over the past decade, I’ve become a morning person who enjoys the beach when the long shadows of the morning still stretch across the waves and I appreciate many of the arguments thrown up by the anti-daylight saving brigade.

But the truth is, there is much to gain by being in sync with the rest of the country in this respect and those opposed to daylight saving will just have to adjust their lifestyles to suit. (Ironically, the same argument used by opponents, who say we should change our lifestyle each year to suit the three-hour time difference.) 

In this day and age, the time on the clock ought not be that big a deal. Increasingly, people can tailor their lives to suit their own needs.

But, while this may be an argument against changing the clocks, there are still a few constants that rule many people’s lives, such as school bells and stock market trading sessions.

I hope our pollies realise this is something that simply must happen if we want to really portray ourselves as a progressive society.


It pays to check the fine print

There has been much gnashing of teeth among the editorial team in the WA Business News office after we ran a story last week that lacked the research and background our readers would expect of us.

Matthew Pavlinovich received a great bit of press from us about his recent purchase of El Caballo Blanco and his plans to revive the Wooroloo equestrian-based tourist centre and sub divide the property.

However, some background detail in our piece last week probably would have helped readers put the matter in context.

Mr Pavlinovich was embroiled in the finance brokers scandal and was named in parliament last year, along with his daughter and son-in-law, by Attorney-General Jim McGinty, among those who featured during that notorious period in the late 1990s.

The irony is that Mr Pavlinovich believes he can make a go of El Caballo when he has twice entered Part X bankruptcy as a proprietor of a riding school.

A search of the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia records shows that, while both those occasions occurred more than 30 years ago at the Caversham Riding School, the now 69-year-old managed to end up dealing with bankruptcy on two further occasions.

Once was in 1989, as a result of a debtors petition, and the latest was by arrangement in 2000 when his occupation was listed as property developer. He was discharged from the latest bankruptcy later that year.

While we never wish anyone ill will and believe everyone has a right to rehabilitation, we do feel that a record as flawed as this ought to get an airing.

Mind you, El Caballo is hardly easy pickings. It has struggled for decades and been a burden for multiple owners.


Climate change goes mainstream

The debate on global warming has reached that interesting point where it really has become mainstream – with every punter now an expert on the issue.

The focus has been heightened by three key events or trends: climatic extremes; populist documentaries; and public recognition of the issue by governments.

Regarding the latter pair, I believe they are related. Just as US president George Bush was facing a real backlash over the war in Iraq, his one-time opponent, Al Gore, launched a campaign that has captured the public imagination.

Mr Gore has also proved to be a good communicator on this subject, and has forced Mr Bush to try to neutralise that argument.

Of course, drought and hurricanes have also added to the growing belief that Western living standards may be threatened.

But anyone who thinks the world will change in an instant best think again.

It has taken decades to get global warming on the mainstream political agenda in countries such as Australia and the US, where education levels and living standards are quite high.

Now that people think they have a lot to lose, they may act. But in undeveloped countries, where greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, there is much less information about this subject and far less incentive to change behaviour.


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