This Monday we have yet another public holiday here in Tasmania, this time to mark Eight Hour Day (known in some other states as Labour Day or May Day). Being retired & new to things Tasmanian we were alerted to it by the radio news, though I guess we would have suspected something was up by the increased number of people arriving in Dennes Point late yesterday. That and the constant updates on the length of the ferry queues on the relevant Bruny Facebook page!
Because each Australian State and Territory achieved the 8 hour day at different times it is marked on four different dates across the country. In our ‘state of origin’, New South Wales, it’s the first weekend in October (often coinciding with my birthday which is why I think of it as Jan’s Long Weekend), hence our confusion. Plus the southern half of Tasmania has just had a long weekend to mark the Hobart Regatta so I wasn’t expecting another one quite so soon. Could almost be in England where Bank Holidays seem to bunch together!
Of course the down side of all of these public holidays being so close together (with Easter and Anzac Day on the horizon) is that there is a paucity of long weekends from June (Queen’s Birthday) to Christmas – 6 months! If that isn’t a recipe for absenteeism I don’t know what is!
I feel I should write to someone and offer them a helpful solution but not quite sure who. Perhaps one of the many local politicians who wrote to welcome us to the division of Franklin when we changed our details with the Australian Electoral Commission. I’m still getting my head around the Tasmanian political system but in addition to our Federal member (Julie Collins), we have 5 MPs representing us in the lower house of State Parliament (2 Labor, 2 Liberal & 1 Greens). In the upper house we are in Huon and have 1 representative. AND they all wrote to us – which was lovely for someone who still appreciates a letter in the postbox.
What I will say about the Tasmanian Parliament is they are all so young! … and there is a very pleasing number of women. I had a reminder from my friend Caroline Pitney the other day that the Leader of Tasmanian Labor, Rebecca White, is her second cousin. The Parliament is quite small and consequently many Ministers have multiple portfolios; which is very interesting when you’re watching the ABC News as the same faces keep bobbing up responding to wildly different issues.
On the issue of the news we have swapped Juanita Phillips and Jeremy Fernandez for Guy Stayner and Angela Ross and welcomed them into our lounge room (Marcus is still in denial about Juanita not being in his life.) As someone who is prone to talk to the TV, I compliment them on their dress and offer the odd helpful suggestion.
In a gesture of becoming part of the local ABC community I sent in a weather photo and was totally blown away when I received an email to say it was being used! How important. This acceptance has of course created a monster and I am now inundating the ABC with weather snaps which, on reflection, all look remarkably similar – sea and sky! Is there a danger that I will become the Bruny Island equivalent of ‘Magpie’ who stalks ABC Central West?
Musings from the Island xx