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16 April 2010

Bligh's website survey on daylight saving in Queensland

GoldCoast.com.au


DAYLIGHT saving advocates have just four weeks to convince Premier Anna Bligh there should be a trial or a referendum on a split-time zone in southeast Queensland.

An election-style campaign has been launched with Ms Bligh yesterday holding an urgent caucus meeting to order her Labor MPs to doorknock, hold street stalls and tour shopping centres to canvass their constituents' opinions on whether southeast Queensland should adopt daylight saving.

Fifty per cent of Queenslanders, including an entire generation, have never had a say on whether Queensland should adopt daylight saving, perhaps the reason Ms Bligh sparked the debate exclusively on social networking site Twitter on Wednesday.

Ms Bligh has now set up a website survey -- getinvolved.qld.gov.au -- to gauge community reaction and will in a month make a decision on how the Government will vote on Independent MP Peter Wellington's private members bill calling for a referendum.

If the feedback is positive, a daylight saving trial could start as early as October this year.

"We need to consider those Queenslanders who were too young to vote in 1992 as well as those who have come to live in our state during the phenomenal interstate migration over the past decade," she said.

"We need to consider what that means -- 50 per cent of the people living in Queensland today have not had any say on this issue."

She said it did not make sense to hold a referendum without having a trial first.

"If we had a trial then maybe people would have that experience to inform their vote," she said. "It might be more workable than we think. Sometimes you have just got to give things a crack."

Ms Bligh said the Government had categorically ruled out daylight saving for the entire state and remained opposed to it.

"Great idea, time in the sun in the afternoons, lovely."

"But in southeast Queensland this is an issue that polarises residents, this is the issue that never goes away and no matter where I am in the southeast, it is the issue that is regularly raised with me -- and I can't ignore that," she said.

The boundaries for the daylight saving zone would have to be decided before any referendum.

Ms Bligh said she had no set idea yet and would talk to the relevant mayors first.

The caucus would decide whether Labor MPs would be allowed a conscience vote on daylight saving on the basis of what they hear from their constituents.

Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Party leader Jason Furze has also embarked on a national media blitz, appearing on several morning television and radio programs.

"We had approached a number of MPs from both sides of politics as well as Peter Wellington and he embraced this and said he was willing to champion this in parliament," he said.

Party members would also be contacting their local MPs and campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

"We will be making sure the momentum is maintained," he said.

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