Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A New Calendar

Yes yes yes, I know this has been done dozens of times before and it never works because we're all too conservative. But I'm not sure that is completely true: Australians took to decimal currency with barely a murmur, and we took to the ISO system of measurement without much trouble either (unlike the whingeing poms, who flatly refused to have anything to do with decimal currency and rejected ISO weights and measures, preferring thus to stick to their stupid pounds (of the shillings and pence kind, albeit metricated) and stupid pounds (of the ounces and stones kind, avoirdupois).

Time for a change, I say. Now in most Australian jurisdictions employees get 11 public holidays a year, but many of those holidays have different names between jurisdictions, and happen on different dates. And most of those are less than 2 centuries old; barely enough time to grow a little moss. And as for religious holidays: bah humbug.

A little rationalisation is required. The detritus of the past must be swept away. No more of this "30 days hath September ...", all months will have 30 days, and there will be 12 of them, retaining their current names. That leaves a few days over, depending on leap years, so the catch-up month of Toshvember (feel free to propose alternative names in the comments section below) will have 5 or 6 days, commencing after December. Australians will love Toshvember because, wait for it, every day is a public holiday, with the first day in the month of Toshvember being Christmas.

So what happens with the other public holidays? Simple: the first day of every odd-numbered month (not including Toshvember) is a public holiday. And to eliminate the complaining from the various States that Proclamation Day trumps Inception Day, and both are way better than Waratah Day, all of the public holidays except Christmas Day will be renamed. (I was too much of a coward to take Christmas away from the little kiddies, I just was). Tentative names are Loaf Day 1 - 6.

Oi, I hear you say, what happened to Easter? Wot, all you twice-a-year Christians are feeling deprived of your public holiday celebrating the gratuitous murder of an innocent man 2000 years ago? Well, fear not: you can celebrate Easter as much as you like. In your own time. The percentage of Australians who are genuine church-going Christians is approximately the same percentage as are smokers (a bit under 20%). Different sets of people, of course. So we should all get a day or two off because a minority want to do a bit of praying? Nonsense, away with it.

Finally, to complete the simplification, we have to reduce the number of days in the week. This is so that the number of weeks in a month is a whole number. Now the calendar certainly doesn't require this, but I'm OCD, and I require it - each week has 6 days, and there are 5 weeks in every month except Toshvember, which is a special week in its own right. So the only question remaining is: which day gets blitzed? For a long time I toyed with going with the least controversial solution (bye bye Thursday), but in the end I had to accept that my nerve couldn't fail this time: take a rest, day of the Sun, here's your gold watch. Christians will complain loud and long, of course, but employers will cheer; in fact, I'm predicting a 3% minimum boost to GDP as penalty rates get blitzed.

And it gets better. There are no weekends, every day is a working day except the 1st day of every odd-numbered month. Hey, that's not fair, I hear you say. Yeah, well try telling that to a farmer. Crops and cows don't have days off. Henceforth Australians will work 354 days a year (not counting annual leave, flex days, cousin's funeral, and such). There's probably another 30% boost to GDP right there.

As compensation for these changes the minimum number of weeks off for annual leave rises to 5. Look at that, a whole extra week. Yeah, orright, I know it's only 30 days but that still beats 28.

I'm predicting that at Referendum the Yes vote will get up by a whisker, but with a little bit of campaigning, who knows? It could be a landslide.