FW: Australian DST abbreviations causing business problems - still

Robert Elz kre at munnari.OZ.AU
Mon Jan 5 15:30:01 UTC 2009

    Date:        Mon, 5 Jan 2009 12:33:51 +0000 (UTC)
    From:        Nigel Jones <nigjones at redhat.com>
    Message-ID:  <loom.20090105T120714-874 at post.gmane.org>

  | For instance, there is a town on the border of NSW and Queensland
  | (NSW has DST,

Actually, they (NSW) have summer time.   And that's Coolangatta (Qld) /
Tweed Heads (NSW) - I used to live just near there (20 mins up the Qld coast).

  | apparently the state border runs through the middle of one
  | of the streets,

Not quite, but it isn't too bad of a description (it's a bit more than
the width of a (normal) street that separates the two towns, you can
easily walk from one to the other, but if you were driving you'd park
in the town you intended to be shopping, or whatever, not the other).

The border for most practical purposes (like insect control and the
like) is a little further south into NSW.

  | which would be confusing enough,

Of course, differing timezones across borders (which occurs in many
places) always causes problems, differing summer time rules, which
occurs less frequently, but does occur in other jurisdictions just makes
things a little worse.    But people have been coping with this for
many years now.

  | but if your saying to someone
  | (think output from a web script) "It'll be delievered by 5PM EST" it just
  | doesn't make sense.

But no-one actually says that, they're not that stupid, and understand
the problem.   And if you're making a web site that announces something
like that you'd get it fixed real soon (if you're promising anything
where the hour is going to make a huge difference, you'd probably be
saying "delivered within 30 minutes" anyway, and a good website would be
using the browser's time localisation functions to print the time in
whatever the user's local timezone is in, rather than the server's (the
server may be in some entirely different timezone after all, perhaps in
an entirely different country, the internet is good like that).

  | As for the different states, most States don't specify what
  | they want Time Zones to be called,

Actually they do, you just haven't done the research to find out.

  | so the Federal word (i.e. australia.gov.au) should be taken on
  | this (with except of NSW).

I can't imagine why you think NSW should be different from every other
state (except perhaps that might be where you moved to, and the state
about which you have more information).   But for Vic, go look for the
Summer Time Act.  Aside from the commonwealth territories, the
commonwealth govt (federal govt) has no power over the time at all
(In Aust, the constitution sets out exactly what the commonwealth
govt has power over, and "time" isn't in the list - aside from that,
it can be referred powers by the states, but again, time is not on that
list either).

As for what you're requesting, the 'A' on he front makes some kind of
sense, they are after all Australian zones - it makes exactly the same
amount of sense as calling the timezone of New York USEST (or NAEST),
and if one is to be changed, both should be to be consistent.

The D in the middle makes no sense at all, Australia has Summer Time,
the very concept "Daylight Saving" is absurd (there's no way to save
daylight, what summer time intends, successful or not, is energy saving,
not daylight saving).   Fortunately, while not generally known for
being very clever, the various Aust state govts were never so stupid as
to believe that daylight could be saved.   Rather, they just adjusted the
timezone in summer, and called it Summer Time.

I have always assumed that the common abbreviation (EST for standard time,
and EST for summer time) was a very deliberate choice, chosen so that
if it ever was appropriate to specify a time with an abbreviated zone name,
then the time specified would apply year around, which is almost always
what is intended (as in things like parking regulations, liquor licensing
regulations, ...)


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