Screw the curtains, give Qld daylight saving
You would have to be heartless not to have been moved by the images of reuniting families at Brisbane Airport last week.
As the flights from Sydney and Melbourne disembarked it was like the Love Actually closing credits: couples passionately embraced, sobbing grandparents met grandchildren and relieved locals finally returned home.
Welcome back to the best state in Australia, Queensland seemed to declare with its blue skies and scorching heat.
It's the state where COVID-19 has been kept at bay, where the State of Origin title rightfully resides and the locals are laid-back and happy.
But there is just one minor thing missing that would make Queensland even more perfect than it is: daylight saving.
A simple change aligning Queensland with New South Wales and Victoria is all that is needed to make the Sunshine State the nation's greatest entity.
But the southeast is yet again trapped in the annual hamster wheel of 4am rises and 6.30pm darkness.
Why does it seem so hard for politicians to accept that daylight saving is a necessity?
It's mind boggling that it wasn't included as a simple question on the ballot at the recent election.
There are the obvious economic benefits and COVID-19 has only highlighted the appeal.
With Queensland's debt levels set to balloon to $130 billion in four years, the disruption of being stuck on standard time costs the state's economy an estimated $4 billion in lost productivity.
Industries suffering most from the pandemic - tourism, retail and hospitality - need the economic jolt.
With international tourism locked out (possibly for the entirety of 2021), Queensland must rely on enticing domestic visitors to head north.
Surely, it is common sense for the states to be in the same time zone and save the disruption of lost and gained hours.
The damage of being out of sync is real.
Harvard Business School research released in September found companies with employees in and out of daylight saving zones suffered from a near 10 per cent loss in collaboration and communication.
Australia has never been more disconnected since Federation.
This is a cost-effective solution to help reunify the states.
Then there are the obvious lifestyle benefits.
Like clockwork every day at 4.30am, I jar awake suddenly to my 3-year-old's face inches from mine, breathing heavily and staring. "My want Bluey," he demands.
No amount of blackout blinds, white noise and lavender spray can get him to sleep any longer. The kid gets up with the sun.
And if we haven't been woken by a small human, it's the pre-dawn onslaught of cockatoos, crows and the channel-billed cuckoo with its throttled screams.
Like thousands of other southeast Queenslanders, we then schlep to work exhausted, watch a beautiful sunset stuck in commuter traffic and spend our evening in darkness watching The Crown.
Want to know why Queensland has such a thriving coffee culture? Because we wake up so bloody early.
Imagine the bliss of enjoying an alfresco meal, game of golf or the safety of an evening walk in the cool of 7.30pm twilight.
Daylight saving is not a demand of the entitled few.
A recent The Courier-Mail poll of 6,300 voters found 65 per cent want to switch to daylight saving.
University of Queensland senior lecturer in human geography, Doctor Thomas Sigler, said about 70 per cent of southeast Queensland residents support daylight saving and 60 per cent favour it statewide.
The figure is highest on the Gold Coast, where the region is bisected by the time zone boundary and where it's common for people in Southport to leave work and arrive home at Cabarita two hours later.
Dr Sigler said his soon-to-be-published research showed it did not matter a person's age, occupation or socio-economic status when it came to supporting daylight saving. It came down only to geography.
"Blue collar, white collar, students, parents, elderly - it made no difference. Nothing was significant but latitude," he said.
"There has never been a better time for this debate.
"About 82 per cent of Queenslanders live outside the tropics. southeast Queensland is actually in a subtropical climate zone - the same as much of NSW. In fact, Brisbane is closer to Melbourne than it is to Cairns."
No one under the age of 47 in Queensland has had an opportunity to have their say on daylight saving.
Now, more than ever, the population is concentrated in the southeast and working as labourers and in offices.
We may love the Sunshine State, but we're deprived of sunlight.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Screw the curtains, bring on daylight saving.
Originally published as Screw the curtains, give Qld daylight saving