Our unwanted public holiday

As I’m sure most of Australia knows by now, Victoria had a Public Holiday last Friday, laid on by our wonderful Labor Government, to celebrate the day before a footy match. Now I want to make this quite clear, this isn’t the day of the match I’m talking about, which would have been the Saturday, this is the day before the match! It’s strange enough that Victoria already gets one sporting Public Holiday, the Melbourne Cup Day, which itself had already been considered to be unique; no-one can think of another State, anywhere in the world, let alone in Australia, that has a Public Holiday so that the people can watch 23 horses run round a field for about 10 minutes! So I guess the Labor Government got a bit bored with this situation and decided to have another one, so the people can watch about forty footballers ride through town in the backs of various open sports cars.

Great idea! And I’m sure a fair few hearts swelled with pride at the magnificent job those who rule us are doing. The common man has been taken into consideration for a change, the very people who voted Labor in at the last election, and Dan obviously thought, ‘Here’s an opportunity for us to thank the community, and at no great cost either’. The trouble with that is, he apparently forgot to include in his calculations all the hidden costs involved. Oh, things were fine in Melbourne itself, where anyone celebrating would be going anyway, just as they have for many, many years. There, the cost was covered by the clientele and it was worth all the shop keepers and restaurant owners opening and paying the exorbitant penalty rates, because they were busy!

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Get away from the Melbourne CBD though and a slightly different picture emerges. In outer Melbourne, and on into the hinterland of Victoria, a great number of businesses closed for the day, because it was cheaper to lose the business that it would have been to open. In Yarram there are seven coffee shops – I could only find one that had opened, and that was because he owned the business and didn’t have to pay himself penalty rates. Our two pharmacies were shut, as was the health centre, so you wouldn’t have wanted to suffer from some minor illness on Friday! We could have gone to the emergency service at the hospital of course, but it’s hard to convince a tired hospital nurse that a head-cold is an emergency!

I read somewhere in the past day or two, that the Public Holiday cost something like $350,000 to put on, while the cost throughout Victoria, due to lost business and closures amounted to about $850,000. Now I freely admit that I am guessing these figures, based on what I can remember of something I read, but even if they were half of those I have mentioned, it could hardly be listed as a great success and an advantage for the State, could it?

What worries me is, if Dan thinks this was a resounding success, what will he do next? A Public Holiday to celebrate the arrival of the F1 cars in Melbourne, a couple of weeks before the actual race? Try to get the world finals of formation swimming put on here? Hold an international Scrabble contest, with special venues set up all over the State, so the locals who want to watch, won’t feel left out?

There is just no knowing with these people, they could literally come up with ANYTHING that looks good on paper, but collapses in an expensive heap when the time comes. Please Dan, let us get back to normal next year, with no extra holiday for the footy, then life can go on just as it always did, after all, if it ain’t broke, why repair it?

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What do you think? Is Brian right?


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