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Friday, 11 September 1942

Mr RYAN (Flinders) .- I direct the attention of the Government to certain features of daylight saving, the regulation for the introduction of which has been gazetted. I have never been convinced that daylight saving is really suited to Australian conditions. The material advantages to be gained from it are not commensurate with the disabilities caused to certain sections of the population, and in particular to the rural industries. I realize that the Government has considered the matter thoroughly, and has had access to information which has not been at my disposal. The regulation has now been promulgated, and I assume that the Government has excellent reasons for its action.

Daylight saving was first introduced in Great. Britain during the last war; but the difference between the hours of daylight in winter and those in summer is considerably greater in the British Isles than it is in the Commonwealth. Here, we gain comparatively little advantage by putting forward the clock one hour in summer. I shall read an extract from a letter which points out the disadvantages suffered by housewives, particularly those of the working class -

A number of women with young children have linked me to write to you concerning the proposed daylight saving bill. It was very difficult (or them last summer to put their children to sleep in houses still hot in the early evening and so the children, not having enough sleep, became fretful and unwell. A noi her drawback is that an evening dinner lias to tie prepared during the hottest part of the day, for most working families necessarily have a 8 o'clock meal. This summer, when the housewife must do all her own shopping, often with some distance to go and no refrigerator to save daily journeys in most cases, the burden will be more severe still. This means th n i. the health of many women, as well as children, will suffer, which is not in the interests of national efficiency, especially as so few doctors are available for the civilian population. Conditions here are very different from those prevailing in England, where the summers are never so severe, or the nights so hot. X came from England and know how different our summers here are. It is often impossible to get to sleep at a normal hour, and the slight saving in working time is more than counterbalanced by the fatigue and consequent inefficiency resulting from insufficient rest during the cooler hours of the morning.

The letter relates to the disabilities of housewives in the metropolitan area; I desire to direct attention particularly to the disadvantages that will be suffered by rural industries. Last week, the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) and I had a conversation with the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Scully) on the matter, and we brought to his notice the position in which dairymen will be placed this summer. Under the new regulations, they will be obliged to milk their cows an hour earlier than in normal times. The cows will have to be brought to the dairy during the heat of the day, and the milk will be taken from them under hot conditions, and will be kept in those conditions until it is delivered to either the factories or the metropolitan areas. The result, will be that the milk will not keep so well as it does when the cows are milked under cooler conditions. Whilst I realize the impracticability of ordaining one time for the country and another for the cities, I believe that the difficulty could be largely overcome by Government action to alter the hours for the transport of milk. In other words, the schedule of milk trains, which are used in certain districts to convey milk to metropolitan areas, should be put back one hour, in order to avoid the necessity for milking in the heat of the day. If milk is brought by motor truck, the time-table should be fixed, not according to clock time, but according to the sun. Such an alteration would assist substantially to rectify the grievances of the dairymen, and I hope that the Government will give earnest consideration to the matter at an early date.

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