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Daylight saving hangs in the balance

26th October 2006, 6:45 WST A handful of little known Upper House MPs will decide whether West Australians get a daylight saving trial this summer.

While an overwhelming number of MPs in the Legislative Assembly support daylight saving, the numbers in the Council — where half the members represent rural areas — are much tighter.

The West Australian understands that the pro-daylight savers outnumber those opposed by just 14 to 13 in the Upper House with six MPs either undecided or remaining silent.

The biggest obstacle to a daylight saving trial is the three Labor North Metropolitan MLCs, Graham Giffard, Ed Dermer and Ken Travers.

Despite representing an area that appears to be largely supportive of daylight saving, Mr Travers and Mr Dermer said they were both undecided.

Mr Giffard said while he appreciated his constituents probably did favour daylight saving, he was opposed to it and would probably vote no. “I’m unconvinced of the need for it,” he said.

“But it’s true people generally do favour it in my neck of the woods and that’s a consideration for me.”

In Labor caucus on Tuesday, Mr Travers clashed with daylight saving advocate John Quigley over the procedure that the party should have taken in considering the daylight saving issue.

A fiery Mr Quigley is believed to have told the party room that he agreed with everything that everyone in caucus had said “except for Travers, who has spoken a load of tripe”.

Mr Quigley and Mr Travers would not comment on the exchange but supporters of daylight saving were hopeful that their differences would not push Mr Travers towards a “no” vote.

Both Kalgoorlie MP Matt Birney and Independent MP John D’Orazio were working overtime yesterday trying to convince colleagues of the merits of a daylight saving trial.

“It is important for the people who are supporting daylight saving to put pressure on their MPs to give them their views because I know the anti-lobby are strong and have made their views known,” Mr D’Orazio said.

“We run the risk of only the antidaylight saving lobby contacting MPs because the pro-daylight saving lobby thinks it’s going to go through anyway,” Mr Birney said.

Not all metropolitan Upper House MPs were swinging in behind the pro-daylight saving lobby.

East Metropolitan Liberal MPs Donna Faragher and Helen Morton both indicated they were unlikely to support daylight saving.

“I will take on board what anyone says and would look at it if I got a lot of phone calls from people supporting it,” Ms Faragher said. “But my personal preference is no.”

“I have not heard any arguments yet that have persuaded me to vote otherwise,” Ms Morton said.

“I would say 95 per cent of the people who have been in touch with my office are against daylight saving.”
 
GRAHAM MASON

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