Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grand Final Friday

Next Friday, Victoria will have its first outing of the new public holiday proclaimed by the Andrews Government - Grand Final Friday (the day before the AFL Grand Final).

I am generally a big Andrews ALP booster; I think this Labor state government is doing great things, is showing itself to be both progressive and measured, and they haven't put many feet wrong from my perspective. However, I have to say, I think this move is a bit foolish overall, and not one I would've made.

Why? Well, I highly doubt (based on the various projections and evidence I have read) that the economic benefits will outweigh or even go close to offsetting the costs, not just to businesses but to individuals, especially those in the precariat. Sure, some casuals will get holiday rates to work next Friday, but I've heard of far more just not getting shifts for the day, which is not good news for people for whom every shift counts in making ends meet. Small businesses close to the line might find it a strain too, and I am somewhat sympathetic to that, having been raised in a small business household. (I am not excessively troubled by the woes of larger businesses, frankly, who will cushion the costs as they always do).

Of course salaried workers get an extra day off, which is nice for them, and it hasn't any effect on freelancers / self-employed contractors like me - we'll either work (and bill) the day, at our normal rates, or we won't, which makes it just like any other day really. And there is this - at least it doesn't impose yet another school-free day in which working parents not in salaried jobs must scrabble to find childcare, because it falls in the school holidays anyway. Indeed, for us as a family, it's net gain, as my partner will get the day as a public holiday from his salaried job.

More than the economic costs, though, I just think it's a trifle silly. What's the basis for assessing that we need another public holiday, and even if we do, why the day before the Grand Final? (Had anyone asked ME, I would've suggested the Monday before Melbourne Cup Day, if another day off is required - much more practical for everyone!) I know it's meant to be compensation of a sort for our lost Show Day holiday, which got the arse under Jeff Kennett, but are we really so badly off that restoring a free day for some people is a grade-A priority?

I don't think this is a do-or-die issue - and my partner will enjoy the extra day! - but overall, I probably wouldn't have bothered if it was up to me, not least because I think it has become a handy stick for the right-wing to beat an otherwise astute and nimble left-wing government with.

No comments:

Post a Comment