[tz] Australian Time Zone Abbreviations Discussion Review

Stuart Bishop stuart at stuartbishop.net
Mon Mar 5 12:23:58 UTC 2012

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 4:43 PM, Alan Barrett <apb at cequrux.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 05 Mar 2012, Shaun Bouckaert wrote:
>> I started a discussion on this mailing list in November 2011 in regards to
>> the incorrect time zone abbreviations used for Australian time zones.
>> Initially there were several responses, the majority of which were positive
>> to change, and yet the conversation seems to have died off.

I think the discussion is just stuck in a loop. Change requires
consensus, but consensus is impossible because a major authority is
this database, which will not be changed without consensus. Of course
the current abbreviations get used; they are what the computers spit
out at us every day.

> As far as I have been able to make out from earlier rounds of this
> discussion, people, news organisations, and government sites in Australia
> use both sets of abbreviations (with and without the "A" prefix), and even
> "official" sources disagree.  Therefore, there seemed to be no basis for
> labelling one set of abbreviations as "incorrect", or even for concluding
> that one set was better than the other.  Therefore, it seemed best to remain
> with the status quo.
> The situation may have changed now, but if so, I suggest that that you try
> to present an unbiased analysis of which abbreviations receive the greater
> use on the ground, instead of starting off with an unqualified statement
> about the current abbreviations being "incorrect".

Shaun's summary documents several authoritative sources all using the
standard documented best at
http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/our-country/time with a mixed
level of consistency, and one regional newspaper that is not. These
cited authorities have all discovered the need to resolve the
ambiguity in the Australian timezone abbreviations. In particular,
states do not always make DST transitions at the same time so
'EST/EST' is useless to national newspapers, broadcasters or anyone
needing to specify a point in time consistently across states. I do
believe this represents consensus of interested parties and believe if
we add more citations from cross border sources that consensus will

(Australian, but offshore 6 years and counting).

Stuart Bishop <stuart at stuartbishop.net>

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