Daylight savings referendum

A somewhat agitated and embarrassed part of my brain is now telling me: “Voting! That means you, Dave, you prat.”

On May 16 we will have the right obligation to vote for or against daylight savings in Western Australia. I see both side of the argument, but on balance I’m happy with it. It does remain slightly hotter later in the day, and of course it’s darker in the early morning. However, I’m not up that early, and I’ll cope with an extra degree C if it means I don’t cycle home in the dark, and that we’re not left three hours behind the rest of the country. Doubtless others will disagree, and an overall “yes” result is hardly in the bag.

The trial process has been a little cynical in its implementation. This will be the fourth referendum on the same issue, and one gets the distinct impression that the pro-daylight savings forces are grudgingly putting a democratic spin on what some may believe to the inevitable march of progress.

For my own part, I’ll be happy if I make it to the polling booth, unlike the state election last year on September 6. I can tell you that date because it’s written on a letter I received from the WAEC entitled “Apparent Failure to Vote Notice”. I’m not in the least bit proud of this, especially since I was and still am a supporter of compulsory voting. However, it allows me to confirm that a penalty of $20 does indeed apply for not voting (not $50 or $120, as I’ve heard other people mention), unless you have a “valid and sufficient reason”. I figured that “I forgot because my brain was full of software engineering research” was probably not on the list of acceptable excuses, and paid my debt to democracy via B-Pay. (I’d been finishing off a paper for submission to the 2009 International Conference on Software Engineering that day, which was unfortunately later rejected as most submissions to the ICSE are.)

I’ve set my phone’s alarm to spring into action this time around, in case my brain doesn’t.

WAEC - Apparent Failure to Vote Notice