FW: Updated Australian time zone names/strings

Robert Elz kre at munnari.OZ.AU
Sat Mar 24 09:53:43 UTC 2001

  | From: David J N Begley [mailto:d.begley at uws.edu.au]
  | Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2001 3:40 AM
  | To: Time Zone Database
  | Subject: Updated Australian time zone names/strings

  | I'd like to request the "EST/EST" time zone strings for Australian eastern
  | standard and summer/daylight-savings time be changed to "AEST/AEDT", given
  | that "EST/EST":

This would be nice, except that EST/EST is correct.

  | - does not necessarily gel with "common practice" in Australia.

Actually, it does.

  | However, some systems use the time zone database as an "expert reference"
  | from which to extrapolate incorrect information

Extracting anything from timezone abbreviations is sheer luncay.  Anything
that does that is broken, almost by definition.

  | I can't speak for Mr Mackin's direct experience, but I can most certainly
  | contest the assertion that, "We in Australia have _never_ referred to DST as
  | `daylight' time" - certainly everyone I know (and myself, of course) have
  | always used the term "daylight savings" rather than "summer time".

In common speech, either is used, that's certainly true.   What John meant
I believe is what is defined in the legislation.  he's no longer with us to
speak for himself, but I think his views were much the same as mine.

  | Unfortunately Mr Mackin does not indicate to what State he refers,


  | but in *this* State (New South Wales - NSW), the relevant legislation
  | clearly uses both terms (summer time and daylight savings) interchangeably;

It uses daulight savings only in a few headings, etc - the actual content
of the act (had you bothered to quote that) uses and defines "New South Wales
Summer Time".

The Victorian Act (when I looked this up way back when this issue was
first relevant) defines Eastern Summer Time (I think the Vic parliament
felt it had a mandate to legislate for all of Eastern Australia...  or
perhaps hoped that it would at least be uniform.)   I haven't checked it
recently and don't have a URL for the Vic act, but I expect it is still
pretty similar.

  | for reference,
  | see the Standard Time Act 1987 (NSW), which *predates* Mr Mackin's comment:
  |   "New South Wales Consolidated Acts - STANDARD TIME ACT 1987"
  |   http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/sta1987137/
  | Whilst the Act clearly defines "standard time" and "summer time", it also
  | makes specific mention of "daylight saving":

Yes, it does all of that - and it defines "summer time" not "daylight saving
time" - the purpose of the time shift is for "daylight savings".

  | - part 3 of the Act, talking about summer time, is in fact entitled:

And in that, every section is headers "Summer Time in XXX" (for the various 
different XXX they have to deal with - the majority of NSW, Broken Hill,
Lord Howe Island, etc).

  | Clearly, the assertion that Australia always uses the term "summer time"
  | instead of "daylight time" or "daylight savings" (and therefore, the time
  | zone abbreviations must be the same) is *incorrect*.

The legislation defines Summer Time.   There really is no doubt about that.
And what's more, it doesn't define (anywhere that I'm aware of) "Australian"
anything, si sticking an "A" in the abbreviation is also not correct.

  | The confusion arises because in Australia it is the States (not the
  | Federal/national government) that legislate time changes during the summer
  | months;  whilst technically it is a federal responsibility under the
  | constitution (as a measure related to commerce),

This might, or might not, be true.   Defining the length of a second is
clearly a measure, defining the time of day (or of the year) quite possibly
is not.

  | Subsequently, there is no standard name for time zones or summer clock
  | shifts

There is no common standard name - each state has defined its own however.

  | just "common use" (for various definitions of "common") that sometimes vary
  | from State to State.

They're not just common use, the label "summer time" is quite clear in
(at least) both the NSW and Vic acts.

  | In the media you will experience all manner of phrases
  | used such as "Eastern Time", "Summer Time", "Sydney Time" and numerous other
  | variants;  for example, C&W Optus (a large telco) uses abbreviations such as
  | "AEDST" when referring to Australian eastern daylight savings time.

People make up all kinds of rubbish.

  | I suspect, apart from Mr Mackin's comments above, that the local use of the
  | phrase "Eastern Standard Time" (which is clearly local in context) is what
  | has
  | led to the use of the ambiguous "EST" in the time zone database.  More
  | recently, however, the media is recognising the global context (rather than
  | local) and starting to prefix time zone references with "Australian" (more
  | on this below).

You will get me to accept that at exactly the same time as you get the
UTS-0500 timezone name changed to "United States Eastern Standard Time"
(and abbreviated as USEST).

  | As noted above, this confusing lack of standards, local phrases and personal
  | experiences have found their way into the time zone database,

In much of the world, the concept of "time zone" is unknown, there is just
"the time" - as there is only one time for the whole country (and local
cultural group, in and outside the country perhaps).   Many of the time
zone names in the database are quite clearly simply made up by us, and
reflect nothing at all other than our desire to give them a label.

  |   Great! To get this bug fixed convince the authorities to change the laws
  |   and regulations of the country this effects. glibc behaves correctly."

The bug is in attempting to trun a timezone string into a numeric
offset - that's simply crazy.

  | This is clearly based on Mr Mackin's comment in the time zone database, and
  | as I have demonstrated is wrong (in terms of the legislation and government
  | use).

You attempted to, but you failed, as it is not wrong.


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