Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Big Vote

Here in WA the whole state is engaged in an extremely important referendum. People's futures depend on it, and it's like a real election - only worse.

See, around here, politics is not about which corrupt official will become the next machine-gun waving, dancing iPresidenti. It's about important stuff, like daylight savings time.

I remember when Namibia started applying daylight savings time. There was no referendum. There were no ballot papers. There was no debate about the issue. We were just informed that this was how things would be from now on. The new regime has taken over, and they have decided. No one likes it, but everyone does it every year.

But not in good ol' WA. Here, everyone has a right to decide. In fact, it is illegal for Australian citizens NOT to vote in this referendum. They can be fined $20 for not voting - can you believe it? Unfortunately, I am not a citizen yet, and I cannot vote. I am given over to the mercy of other voters.

The ballot paper will have one "simple" question:

Are you in favour of daylight saving being introduced in Western Australia by standard time in the State being advanced one hour from the last Sunday in October 2009 until the last Sunday in March 2010 and in similar fashion for each following year?

All the voter has to do is answer YES or NO. Maybe some ticks, but no crosses. Just Yes or No. This issue has also caused confusion amongst the masses. Why can't I make a cross? Why does a tick count? Someone explained the whole thing on the radio this morning, and all I can say is "Huh?"

Here is an explanation to avoid confusion:

To make things easier for electors they need to put yes or no on the ballot paper.

"A tick will also be classed as a formal vote but a cross will be classed as an informal vote.

Whatever. Thank goodness I don't have to vote - I'm too stupid to understand the rules.

"While the WA Electoral Commission is urging voters to write the words "yes" or "no" on their ballot papers, it says a tick will also constitute a yes vote.

But a cross will be ruled an invalid vote."


The masses are strongly divided about the issue.

Even on the SA-Australia Forum, we had our own little African-Australian election, and the last result I saw was an exact 50-50% split - right down the middle.

Today I saw a tradie's tralier with big YES written all over it. Reminds me of the days in South Africa when they used the red STOP sign and said "Stop FW"!

In all honesty, this state should probably have three time zones. It's larger than Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia thrown together. It's what I like to call "the better half of Australia".

Anyway, I hated "winter-time" in Namibia, and I won't vote for daylight savings if I had the option. All these companies who claim that they do a lot of business with the eastern states can change their working hours if they really need the extra hours. What happened to emails and voicemail, anyway?

That's my humble opinion. I hate the effect of daylight savings on the human body clock, the transition always messes up your body for at least two weeks. For me, anyway. It's nearly like jetlag, only worse.

For those who can vote - think before you do. Good luck.

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