WA daylight saving referendum: May 16

Here’s a thread for discussion of Saturday’s daylight saving referendum, which I have generally deemed to be outside my psephological ambit. Antony Green has concluded otherwise, providing a plethora of information over at ABC Elections. As you can see at Antony’s place, this is the fourth opportunity WA voters have been given to provide the desired answer. Each time it has been preceded by a trial period, which has been three years this time and one year on the previous occasions. The no vote won the day by 53.7 per cent to 46.3 per cent in 1975; 54.4 per cent to 45.7 per cent in 1984; and 53.1 per cent to 46.9 per cent in 1992. Two Westpoll surveys with samples of 400 suggest nothing much has changed, bearing in mind the high margin of error – on April 11 the result was 51-47, while on March 7 it was 57-42.

Tonight’s ABC TV news reported that ticks will be admitted as formal “yes” votes but crosses will be counted as informal, which hardly seems fair. The proper way of voting is to write “yes” or “no” in the box provided. The question posed on the ballot paper will read: “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?”

UPDATE: Jacob in comments reports Westpoll has the no vote at 53 per cent.

UPDATE 2: And the yes vote is 44 per cent.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

85 comments on “WA daylight saving referendum: May 16”

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  1. bird of paradise @ 34

    Plus, itโ€™s a stupid idea. Perthโ€™s on the west side of the state, so if just Perth had DLS, it would be 9.00 in Perth, 8.00 in country WA further east, 10.30 in SA and 9.30 in the NT. (Oh, and 8.45 on the Nullarbor.) Four weirdly arranged time zones for a population of about 3 million, which gets by on two in winter? Madness.

    What difference does the number of people make? Why should the number of people be more important that than what those people want? Is there some minimum number of people required to justify a different time zone? I never heard of it. I’ve only just learned that the Nullarbor has its own time zone–how many people is that for? (Also, a Nullarbor time zone makes four in summer anyway.)

    Whether people in Perth would want daylight savings if it was only for them and did not include the rest of the State I don’t know. Maybe they would change their minds if the offer was on that basis and decide that they didn’t want it. But if they do want it I can’t see why they should be denied it just because it offends somebody’s sense of what’s neat and tidy.

  2. jacob @ 49 and William,

    The Perth Now site reports virtually identical results the other way

    By midday Friday more than 50,000 votes had been recorded on the PerthNow poll, with the secure poll tipping a 53 per cent yes vote and a 44 per cent no vote.

    so maybe Bree has a point in #40 here. If polls are merely reflecting their “readership” (as most polls do, SkyNews polls are a good case in point), then we’ve actually no idea on the vote at all.

    this isn’t like a vote for one or the other of two candidates where you’ve no idea and don’t care so you might be influenced by the news media’s bias on it. people who walk out of their homes and pick up the paper this morning (as I’ve just done) won’t be influenced by the headlines on The West this morning (post#49) as they will have already made up their minds.

    I don’t believe the 2 to 3% undecided vote on this, that seems extraordinarily high given the topic of this poll ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. The West advises in their Opinion editorial in today’s paper a “Yes” vote ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (for what this is worth, probably not much as I’ve noted in the previous post)

  4. I’ve been told that the Yes people are doing some exit polling, a booth in South Perth, not sure which one, has it as 60% yes. South Perth in 1992 under 2009 boundries was 51.5% no.

    I might do a exit poll at my local booth a bit later. I had drive around some of the booths, lots of yes posters up, and yes how to vote cards. Not a sign of “NO” posters or how to vote cards anywhere.

  5. Julie, Westpoll is a real opinion poll, conducted from a random sample. The Perth Now effort is no more credible than the other night’s Seven News phone poll which had the no vote at over 80 per cent.

  6. 56, William, about what I expected was the case ๐Ÿ˜‰ …… I’ve prepolled personally and will be hanging out for results in and around Saturday night footy games ๐Ÿ˜‰ ……

  7. Illawarra Primary School, Ballajura

    First 150 that gave an answer after voting.

    91 said Yes (60.7%)
    59 said no (39.3)

    1992 at the same booth (55.8% yes, swing of +4.9%)

    Maybe the no voters like to vote later?

  8. I think that the Commonwealth could use the weights and measures power to set the time zones and the use or lack thereof of daylight savings time.

  9. Chalk me up as a No at Highgate Primary. The absent line was huge, while locals could walk straight through.

    Julie: I kinda doubt it, unfortunately. Sunday trading got voted down in 2005 by a much more emphatic margin than any of the DLS referenda. Plus, a couple of people I know are voting yes because they think all that sorta stuff will magically happen if DLS gets up. I would call that resting on their laurels, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with hope. If the ‘Yes’ campaigners had turned their energies on trading hours reform instead, we’d probably have it by now. I’d be able to do my grocery shopping in *gasp* the dark.

  10. It is highly unlikely we are going to have sunday trading in the near future. A vast majority are opposed to it. Many people like myself who support daylight savings DO NOT support sunday trading, or weeknight trading for that matter. Unfortunately the new government seems to care just as much as the last – ie. not at all.

  11. For what it is worth, from Perth Now posted @ 4pm local time, the Premier voted YES …

    4PM UPDATE: PREMIER Colin Barnett voted Yes for daylight saving, but concedes the No vote might prevail, as 1.3 million West Australians voted to settle the issue.

    Today’s vote is the fourth referendum in four successive decades.

    WA Premier Colin Barnett cast a ‘Yes’ vote on Saturday but says the bid for daylight savings was likely to fail.

    Sandgropers have voted on the issue in referendums in 1975, 1984 and 1992, with the No vote succeeding each time.

    Mr Barnett has ruled out returning to the polls again any time soon if the Yes vote fails.

    “If the vote is yes, we will have daylight saving and that probably will be the end of it, we’ll stay in line with Australia for a long time,” he told ABC Radio.

    “If the vote is no, I suspect we’ll have another call for a vote in 10 years time for another referendum.

    “But I can assure people, as long as I am premier of Western Australia, we’ll not have a referendum for many years.”


  12. Ok, post #67 is caught in the moderation queue. quickly summarizing and hope that I’ve left out the suspect words – Barnett voted YES for DST, he fronted the media with that after his vote was cast.

  13. WA electoral commisioner said 72,000+ were the numbers for postal and early votes. Do not know how that compares to a normal election.

  14. Percentage goes up, the gap gets smaller ๐Ÿ˜‰ …..

    7.3% counted – 64.56% no
    12.02 counted – 60.23% no

    has been getting smaller with each update (so far) even if only by 0.01% ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Glinn, I know …. sighs …. at least I can comfort myself with the fact that I don’t live here permanently ……. I know that those of you who are permanent here in WA and voted Yes aren’t so lucky, I feel sorry for you …..

    sorry Frank, I can’t help the way I feel ……

  16. [Glinn, I know โ€ฆ. sighs โ€ฆ. at least I can comfort myself with the fact that I donโ€™t live here permanently โ€ฆโ€ฆ. I know that those of you who are permanent here in WA and voted Yes arenโ€™t so lucky, I feel sorry for you โ€ฆ..]

    That’d be me.

    One day, one day…

  17. Fairly happy with the result: a brief 7-10 year respite from DST until the big end of town imposes yet another 3 year trial from on high.

    The Pro-DST lobby will keep forcing the DST on us, that we’ve refused consent for time and time again, in the hope we’ll eventually relent and say Yes. We might change our minds about it if we’re forced into it often enough, you see. (Very NSW rugby of them, but, that seems to be the way the lobby groups think.)

  18. Pete, you are welcome to it, as I’ve noted on the main, generic thread, at least the Eagles lost so I’m batting 50% on my wish list for Saturday and my footy tipping is 5/0 for R8 atm so that is going well too.

  19. [ at least the Eagles lost ]

    We’ll make a local out of you yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    This weekend, I’ve had three horses come home out of three – Freo, whoever’s playing the Eagles, and No to DLS. Note how I said ‘Freo’ there, as opposed to ‘the Dockers’… I might as well conflate the by-election with the footy club, the Hawks were always gonna win. They’re not the premiers for nothing.

    By the way, this is the status update of someone I know on Facebook (name initialised). Nice enough guy, except for his constant position on DLS, summed up by the following…

    [ JB thinks 55% of WA residents need an Auschwitz Shower. Perthetic. ]

    [ JB encourages 44% of WA residents to join him in leaving this self-destructive parochial s…hole to rot. ]

    (Editing of the word that will trip the spam filter.)

    It’s that kind of stuff that made me think “hmm… long line, but I guess I don’t have anything else better to do for the next half an hour…” when I turned up at my local primary school mid-afternoon and saw the absent voters line out the door – I’m contrary like that. Counter-productive, kiddies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. BOP and Pete,

    I HATE the Eagles, right up there near if not at the top of that short list (add Essendon and the list drops way off to #3 and beyond). ๐Ÿ˜€

    That and only that tipped my mood slightly to the positive by the time I went to bed last night.

    I feel no better atm (regards thoughts on the issue of this thread) than I felt when conservatives elected JH in 2001 post Tampa.

    After the 2004 US election, I purchased a shirt that had a picture of the White House with a big red line drawn across it and the words “Is it 2009 yet?”. I feel like doing similar now, in spirit that is. Problem is that there is no term limits on this issue, Glinn ๐Ÿ™ . Maybe I’ll use a sig whenever I send emails or post things?

    “So says she who did NOT vote No”

  21. Commenter “Objective Scrutiny” at Larvatus Prodeo:


    Just an interesting aside.
    As a polling booth worker, I helped with last nightโ€™s count at our booth.

    Remember the โ€œticks are yes, and crosses are not nosโ€ beat up this week?
    I was at a booth with about 1800 votes counted,. in a lower socio-economic area:

    Number of ballot papers with a tick: 0
    Number of ballot papers with a cross: 0
    Number of informal: about 10
    Number of ballot papers with the answer โ€œI have a large penis:โ€ 1

    I am not kidding.]

  22. Bird, the spam filter doesn’t block the S word. It doesn’t meet the definition of “strong swearing” under the meaning of article 2. I’m often amused to see people typing “bl**dy” or “d*mn”.

  23. [I HATE the Eagles, right up there near if not at the top of that short list (add Essendon and the list drops way off to #3 and beyond).]

    I’m in agreement on the Eagles, not so much on the (mighty) Bombers…


    On the informals…

    I reckon that many of them were young people, personally.

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