As our television screens start filling with the sounds of Christmas films, a real-life, modern day version of the classic tale A Christmas Carol is playing out in State Parliament.

In the NSW Parliamentary version of this tale the role of Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Premier Barry O’Farrell, with supporting roles played by a host of big retailers.

In keeping with the original version of the story, our Scrooges seem to be out to do one thing - ruin Christmas. Their cunning plan? Open all shops on Boxing Day so workers and their families across NSW miss out on the tradition of Christmas.

What better way to kill off the spirit of Christmas than to open shop doors and take thousands of workers away from their families to stock shelves and sell cheap toasters?

Our modern version even comes complete with its own catchphrases. Instead of ‘bah humbug’ like in the classic, our modern day Scrooges go for the slightly less catchy, but equally overused phrases ‘economic benefit’ and “we live in a 24/7 economy”.

The unfortunate part is that unlike the original tale, this one isn’t fictional.

There is a Bill which was introduced by the O’Farrell Government currently sitting in the Upper House of State Parliament that, if passed, would see legislation introduced that would effectively wipe Boxing Day and Easter Sunday off the list of restricted trading days.

Our Scrooges will have successfully managed to leave us with just two and a half days a year free from the commercial interests of retailers – only Christmas Day, Good Friday and the morning of Anzac Day and even those days would not be safe from this law.

Their arguments for opening shop doors on Boxing Day across the whole state centre around supposed ‘consumer demand’ and their classic catchphrase ‘economic benefit’.

In fact, there is nothing to suggest that people want extended trading hours. A crowd of a few hundred shopaholics outside a couple of Sydney CBD shops in a city of over more than 4.5 million people does not constitute “high consumer demand” and the most recent broad, transparent survey conducted on whether retail trading hours should be further deregulated was in Western Australia in 2005 where the State held a Referendum that saw 59 per cent of people vote against extending to even Sunday trading.

That’s because people don’t live in a “24/7 economy”, they live in a community with families and friends. The glue of those communities is not consumer goods or consumer “experiences”, but rather shared time together.

Recent research also shows that despite out Scrooges’ repeated suggestions otherwise, there is no benefit to the economy in opening stores on Boxing Day or Easter Sunday. People are not suddenly gifted extra cash to spend in stores on December 26th. All it does is spread the same amount of money that people have to spend across the month.

But clearly our Scrooges are intent on not letting the truth get in the way of their story.

Of course it won’t be the Premier or other MPs working the registers on Boxing Day. It will be the retail worker who would normally travel to spend Christmas with her family, but won’t be able to this year.

It will be the father who misses out on the family trip to the beach on Boxing Day and the teenager who has to choose between spending Christmas with her father or her mother because she usually spends Christmas Day with one and Boxing Day with the other.

Christmas and Boxing Day are about family, friends and community. It’s about getting out and having a game of backyard cricket, eating leftover ham, volunteering, celebrating your religion, flicking between the Boxing Day Test and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. It shouldn’t be about the commercial interests of a select few retailers.

Our shops are open 362 and a half days a year. Christmas and Boxing Day come around just once a year. No matter their age, religion or career choice, NSW families should to be able to celebrate that time together.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, the family of Scrooge’s overworked clerk helps Scrooge finally see the beauty of Christmas. Let’s hope that a bit of Christmas magic descends on State Parliament over the coming weeks and our Scrooges see the error of their ways and leave Boxing Day as it should be – a family time, free from the commercial interests of big business.

After all, Christmas isn’t Christmas without Boxing Day.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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    • AdamC says:

      10:45am | 13/11/12

      At least in Victoria, Boxing Day has been the biggest shopping day since I was a kid. I guess that will never stop union dinosaurs like the author wanting to turn back the clock.

      You get the impression the union leaders of today would have been smashing up the automated looms in the nineteenth century, along with the other luddites.

    • Borderer says:

      12:48pm | 13/11/12

      Because not having workers work means they still get paid…. wait, they’re on a contract in retail sales…. nope, sorry no money for you and no sales for the retailers, that’s good for the economy right?
      It’s all about Christmas and not creating undue union influence at the expense of the incomes of the lowest paid workers right?
      Are you on a fat union salary and paid annual leave over the Christmas period Gerard? Not everyone is….

    • mark says:

      01:14pm | 13/11/12

      Victoria is proof that secular Australia on the most part, like to use their time the way they see fit.
      Maybe the Author might want to educate himself on the current trends in retail spending, and let the employers of his members try to build their market share rather than see more get lost to the internet.

    • Bruce says:

      03:29pm | 13/11/12

      After all the family disputes and dealing with screaming kids and drunken adults, I would only be too pleased to go to work on Boxing Day.

    • che says:

      10:51am | 13/11/12

      I agree with the idea in this article, and personally can’t stand shopping at the best of times. But as someone who worked in hospitality for many years, it makes me want to say suck it up princess! There are thousands of people in this country who already work christmas day, boxing day, new years eve and new years day, plus all other public holidays. Do nurses get holidays off? The police? Bartenders?

    • Phil says:

      04:12pm | 13/11/12

      Agreed. I wonder if these same employees and unions would complain that the members get paid good overtime leading up to Christmas and also on Boxing Day.

      Some dont get the choice, but many choose to work in retail, it suits their lifestyles, family outcomes the rest of the year. My Mrs works as a hairdresser, they slave away up till the holidays. You know what she enjoys it and she doesnt need to work.

      Toughen up princesses.

    • Gerard says:

      05:23pm | 13/11/12

      I wonder if these same employees and unions would complain that the members get paid good overtime leading up to Christmas and also on Boxing Day.”

      If it would be in the interests of the Labor Party to do so, then yes.

    • Ally says:

      10:58am | 13/11/12

      Oh, boo hoo. I worked in retail going through uni and I loved working Sundays and public holidays because of the penalty rates. The people that didn’t want to work those days marked their availability accordingly.

    • Happy Camper says:

      11:15am | 13/11/12

      Why would a business which works from Nine to Five Monday to Friday impose a 24/7 regime on some retail businesses. Government could lead by opening its business 24/7. Think how easy it would be to deal with a Government department at 3.00 am on Boxing Day morning. The banks should be included like any other retailer. Let’s chuck in Australian Post. Once a service, now a shop. They don’t even open on Saturday mornings in some places. Rule Number One should always be, don’t impose conditions unless you are prepared to do it yourself.

    • Mike says:

      11:46am | 13/11/12

      And rule number 2 is don’t make idiotic strawman arguments. Equating operating the entire public service (on taxpayer money) 24/7, with allowing shops to open on a public holiday? Genius!

    • Al says:

      12:30pm | 13/11/12

      Happy Camper - I am quite sure that the government would love to have the Public Service operating all the time.
      However to have them all working on Public Holidays would be wastefull (many departments and offices have no front line delivery so it is irrelevant what days they work, so why increase the wage cost) and are you happy to pay increased taxes so that all the Public Servants can get paid double time and a half or tripple time for working on a Public Holiday (or weekends at time and a half or double time for most Public Servants as well)?
      Yeah, didn’t think so.

    • lostinperth says:

      01:15pm | 13/11/12

      @ AL- the Public Service can work for nothing, like they expect all the small business owners to.

      How about removing Boxing Day from the lists of holidays so they lose a day of annual leave if they don’t work.

      Who needs shopping on Boxing Day anyway?  get a life people!!

    • Al says:

      04:20pm | 13/11/12

      lostinperth - re: the Public Service can work for nothing, like they expect all the small business owners to. “
      No, if you run a small buisiness and can’t make enough money to pay yourself a decent profit that is your problem. Maybe you should reconsider running your own buisness. It is not like employees of a small buisness can be paid nothing for working on a public holiday.
      Re: “How about removing Boxing Day from the lists of holidays”.
      I would have no issue with that, I actualy would have no issue with the removal of ALL religous based Public Holidays.

    • KH says:

      11:21am | 13/11/12

      This must be a NSW thing - I remember boxing day sales from when I was a kid - and that was a long time ago….....

      FYI - plenty of people have to work on these days - nurses, doctors, firepeople, police, ambulances, taxi drivers, public transport operators…........

    • AFR says:

      12:31pm | 13/11/12

      I’m in two minds over Boxing Day shopping (the free market person in me says yes, but the family man in me says no), but think making points about people in public transport and emergency services working on public holidays is a little pointless. You don’t NEED to buy that tshirt, but you may need an ambulance if you have a heart attack.

    • TimR says:

      11:21am | 13/11/12

      I don’t understand this at all. It would still be a public holiday, they wouldn’t be forced to work.
      Just another backward union hack railing against progress.

    • Gerard says:

      05:29pm | 13/11/12

      “they wouldn’t be forced to work.”

      I can only assume that you’ve never actually tried working in retail.

    • Rebecca says:

      11:25am | 13/11/12

      I think if a retail store wants to be open on the holidays and it has enough staff who don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter, that’s fine - but nobody should ever be made to work on those days if they want to celebrate. If your staff want to spend time with family, your store needs to be closed. 

      I used to work in a fast food shop that was owned by a few Hindu and Muslim guys, so it worked pretty well - on Christian holidays I was allowed time off as long as I wanted because there were plenty of people to cover me who didn’t celebrate, and I could pick up some extra shifts when they wanted time off for their religious occasions. The store did a pretty decent trade among the multicultural community on Christmas and Easter.

    • Ben C says:

      12:45pm | 13/11/12

      “If your staff want to spend time with family, your store needs to be closed.”

      Reword that from “needs to be” to “should be”, and tack onto the end “unless you can run it yourself or have others who will help”.

    • Mahhrat says:

      11:28am | 13/11/12

      This is an interesting argument.  I used to fully support 24/7 trading - after all, if it’s what the consumer wants…

      Then I had a think about it.  Is it really what we want, or are we simply doing what we can under the force of consumerism brought against us by vested interests?

      This is because of the use of force - in this case, economic force and the drive for consumerism and materialism in our society.  Make no mistake - companies would force us into their stores at gunpoint if they thought it would make us buy more of their product (and if they could get away with it).

      Because they can’t, these companies spend billions on ways to part us from our ca$h, from glossy media ads to the layout of their stores.  That they spend money on those things are proof they work.  It is all psychology and the use of emotional, economic and societal pressures that they largely create and then magnify themselves, all in pursuit of the dollar.

      If you accept the argument that one of government’s core roles is the protection of its people from the use of force, then surely there is an argument to say, “No.  On this day, as many people as possible should get to be with their family.”

      For that reason, I’m interested in seeing some actual sources and stats about whether there is any communal benefit to trading on established holidays.  OP, I presume you can produce them.

    • KBeat says:

      12:28pm | 13/11/12


      What a load of populist anti capitalist codswallop.

      When i purchase a good and/or service, i have made this decision myself. I have not been “forced” either by overt or covert means to consume this product.

      I can make up my own mind when and where i purchase goods, without the need for an interventionist nanny government.

    • marley says:

      12:53pm | 13/11/12

      @Mahrat - your argument rests on the assumption that we are being “forced” into the shops by the drive for materialism and consumerism.  But I say, the latter two are choices we are quite free to reject.  Lots of people do, after all.

      So what you’re really arguing is that the government should save us from ourselves, by making our decisions for us.  We’re too materialist, too susceptible to advertising, and therefore the government must clamp down on shopping hours and rein in the ad industry. 

      I just don’t see it that way. I’m perfectly capable of making choices, good and bad, and accepting responsibility for them. I don’t want the regulators deciding when I can and cannot shop;  let the vendors and myself make that decision and leave the government out of it.

    • Mahhrat says:

      02:08pm | 13/11/12

      @marley (and KBeat):  As I’ve said before, that is the “just world” logical fallacy - that because you can achieve that balance and resist the psychology of consumerism, everyone else should be able to.  If we were clones and had the same quality education, then I would agree with you, but it doesn’t.

      Christmas is a great example.  How many Australians will increase their debt levels to fund Christmas?  How recent is that phenomenon?  It wasn’t around in my grandparent’s youth - they got seasonal fruit, perhaps a new teddy or a book; one present per kid.  That simply isn’t happening in the Christmas sales in 2012.  How’d that happen?  Lots of reasons, I agree, and one of them is the influence of advertising, of a concerted effort for 50 years or more to ‘sell’ a lifestyle to us.

      @Marley, I’m sure you have a controllable amount of debt - hundreds of thousands of Australians don’t, and in any economic downtown, those are the people hardest hit and thus first in line for support services.

      There comes a point when any government, forced to deal with the socialisation of the costs of consumerism while allowing the privatisation of revenue accrued through it, turns to preventive methodologies.  Prevention is a lot cheaper than cure.  Cigarette advertising restrictions are an example.  Apart from the presented study evidence, the fact the big corporations care at all is a proof of itself that how they brand their products affects the intent of buyers.

      To individualise it, I am bombarded constantly by advertising, instilling in me a desire to spend.  I am given ever-increasing opportunity, easy ways to do it.  I can now, without a signature, commit myself to a lifetime of debt (online, you should see how it goes).

      I have my vulnerabilities, especially to computer games.  They are my kryptonite.  I cannot escape it; it follows me wherever I go.  I will see 300 signs on my short drive home tonight encouragine me to buy something, all in eye-catching colours with overly-perfect examples.

      Corporations have shown time and again that they will apply every ounce of “force” they can get away with to get us to spend.  Barred from using physical force (though one could argue that store layouts are a form of that; IKEA, I’m looking at you), they use every and all other means at their legal disposal - and often methods that are already illegal.

      KBeat - My opinion on this isn’t populist at all - were it populist, people would force parliament to pass very strict advertising laws on EVERYTHING, not just ciggies and beer. 


    • Mitch says:

      02:27pm | 13/11/12

      “When i purchase a good and/or service, i have made this decision myself. I have not been “forced” either by overt or covert means to consume this product.”

      Its comforting to think that isn’t it KBeat.

    • marley says:

      02:36pm | 13/11/12

      @Mahrat - sure, I can resist consumerism.  Maybe it’s because I learned some hard lessons early in life. Perhaps that’s why I have no debt.  I think a lot of people have learned that lesson in the last couple of years, late, but not necessarily too late.  Would they have learned it at all if they hadn’t had to face up to the consequences of their own mistakes?

      Anyway, I don’t think you have to be “educated” to understand that you only buy what you need and can afford - the old nostrum, “don’t buy things on credit” was drubbed into me by my parents, neither of whom completed high school.

      We have our individual failings and weaknesses - but if I spend too much money on a holiday, it just means the next one will be cheaper, or happen in 18 months instead of 12.  Nobody is forcing me to go into debt to take that trip of a lifetime in 6 months. And if I do decide to do that, it’s my responsibility and mine alone. I just don’t agree that governments should be infantilising us by protecting us from the impacts of our own greed, bad judgement, or the need for instant gratification.

    • Mark says:

      03:17pm | 13/11/12

      “As I’ve said before, that is the “just world” logical fallacy - that because you can achieve that balance and resist the psychology of consumerism, everyone else should be able to.”

      Following a traditional moral economy would suggest that Marley is able to achieve balance because he has acted in a morally sound way. That is the Logical World Fallacy: That people get what they deserve: That everything is part of a (God’s) plan: Everything happens for a reason.

      What you have pointed out is simply Marley’s high degree of faith in other people’s intellect. And while you might wish to represent his faith as a lack of social consciousness, it would serve you well to consider that your representations of society are entirely rooted in the traditional moral view that the masses are unable to make their own moral choices, they are entirely lacking in the qualities necessary to determine one’s own destiny, that they must be the subject of unrelenting, all pervasive rule in order to function.

    • libertarian vegetarian says:

      11:29am | 13/11/12

      I don’t believe in shopping on Boxing Day. So I don’t go to the shops.  Clearly enough people do though to make it viable to open. You seem to be ignorant of the fact that the retailer have a wait list of staff who really want to work those days, for the money.  Stop trying to run other peoples lives.  Typical union lowest common denominator thinking. If people want to earn triple time, good luck to them.

    • Michellemac says:

      11:40am | 13/11/12

      I love how the author has forced his idea of Boxing Day on everyone else.
      Personally I can’t think of anything I want to do less than shop on Boxing Day but I’m sure there are plenty of people who do. The ones who don’t like the beach, don’t play or watch cricket or yatching…or who can’t wait to get away from their families. I am not one of them but I know plenty of people who do. What about the people on holiday from interstate or overseas, visiting family or friends who want to spend a few hours wandering around the city and heaven forbid walking into a couple of shops. What about the people with unexpected guests who rock up on Boxing Day who need feeding?

      It’s the biggest day of the year at the cinemas and I’m pretty sure restaurants and pubs are all open. If you want to work 9-5 Mon-Fri then don’t work in retail or hospitality.

      I can’t understand why unions feel the need to push a cookie-cutter mentality on their members. There are plenty of ‘alternate’ ways of living or making shift patterns work if each individual was allowed to negotiate what suits them best…I know plenty of people who would love to work Sundays for extra money or in leiu of 2 days off instead. Years ago when I was a student we used to fight for the Sunday shifts in the lead up to Christmas for the extra money and the excuse to leave the dreaded relly bashes early/rock up late.

    • Elphaba says:

      11:43am | 13/11/12

      Well, isn’t this one big whinge.  The solution is, don’t work for a company that has this policy.

      My brother used to work for Big Supermarket.  They impose a 4 week blackout over the Christmas period where no holidays are to be taken.  He was on call Christmas Day last year.  6 separate times that day, while we were having lunch, opening presents, drinking in the pool, he was called out to Big Supermarket because of a faulty alarm.  He then had to come home and wait for the next call, and the next.

      He knew the score, and he didn’t gripe about it.  This year, he got a new job with a shutdown period over Christmas.

      Stop whining about O’Farrell, and people who want to shop on Boxing Day.  If they’re that hard up for a bargain that they’ll risk getting trampled, of course the shops will open.  Particularly in this retail climate.  Those people who don’t like Boxing Day retailing need to apply themselves to the task of finding another job.

    • Mike says:

      11:50am | 13/11/12

      Please don’t use the WA referendum as an example. It was an extraordinarily loaded and stupid result that has since been binned by both major parties. The fact it took Perth as long to get Sunday trading as it did just about made us a laughing stock and is nothing to be celebrated.

    • Kate says:

      01:02pm | 13/11/12

      Agreed. The shops are as busy on Sundays as any other day of the week, so the demand is clearly there.

      Next one for WA… reinstate daylight savings…

    • mikem says:

      05:48pm | 13/11/12

      Do you front up to your work place every day of the week Mike?  Thats what many of the small retailers have to do plus be open on one evening each week.  Some are even there for the other four week nights as well notwithstanding that hardly a customer will come through the door.  The only retailers who benefit from the extended trading hours WA now has are the big retailers like Coles and Woolies.  Great coup by them disadvantaging the small businesses that the Liberals are supposed to champion.  Barnett sold them out big time.

    • Al says:

      11:59am | 13/11/12

      As my last comment wasn’t posted I will try again, in summary:
      1) Removal of government restrictions on when retail shops can trade - good thing.
      2) Requirement to work Public Holiday is BS, the same as the shops won’t be forced to open on Boxing Day, but can do so if they choose.
      3) Employees can refuse to work a Public Holiday where the request to work is unreasonable, including taking into consideration the employees family and carer responsibilitys.
      4) Public Holiday penalty rates still apply.
      So what is the actual issue here, what is Gerard whinging about?

    • boxing day is BOXING ! says:

      12:01pm | 13/11/12

      boxing day is only for boxing

      Boxing Day is BOXING ONLY

    • KBeat says:

      12:15pm | 13/11/12

      Sorry Gerard, but this is 2012 not 1912. We now live in a society which expects 24/7 convenience, and i for one actually like this convenience.

      I’m sure dinosaurs like yourself would like to turn back the clock and reduce trading hours to 10 - 4 and cease weekend trading on the guise of “family time” and whatnot, however this is never going to happen in the real world.

      Let the market sort this out - if shops open on Boxing Day and no customers turn up, then the shop is operating at a loss (especially with the staff penalty rates) and will be reluctant to open the next Boxing Day.

    • George says:

      12:21pm | 13/11/12

      People need to go shopping to get over having had to spend the previous day with their families. Leave the poor dears alone. You’d have to be a nutter to battle in the car parks that day, so they clearly need their medicine.

    • CJ says:

      12:25pm | 13/11/12

      If you don’t like it Gerard, don’t go shopping on Boxing Day, okay? But please don’t presume to know what’s best for millions of other people in our secular society - it makes you sound like Fred Nile.

    • Bomb78 says:

      12:35pm | 13/11/12

      I had to do a double take, I though Ged Kearney was back on The Punch.
      Different union hack, same old story.
      Christmas is actually about the birth of Christ, something forgotten in our increasingly secular society. The original intent of the holiday was for religious observance, but somewhere along the line it has been hijacked by various interest - mainly commercial, but in this article by the union movement.
      In my uni days, I volunteered to work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, simply because the money was good. My brother is a police officer, and he puts his hand up each Christmas to work the morning shift, so that his fellow officers with kids can spend the morning at home. My mother is a nurse and has worked at least 3 in 4 Christmas Days for the last 30 years. My father was a soldier for over 20 years, and while he was always home at Christmas, he missed a lot of Easters and birthdays.
      And you know what? Every Christmas, Easter and birthday has always been celebrated and special. If Mum is working at lunch time, we’ll have dinner together; if my brother can’t make it to Midnight Mass, we go to an earlier Mass together as a family.
      While I appreciate the role unions have played, it’s about time they either joined the reality that the rest of us inhabit, or passed away quietly into the night. There are bigger problems in the world, and in our family lives, than retailers opening on Boxing Day in New South Wales.

    • SKA says:

      12:46pm | 13/11/12

      I thought a lot of shops opened boxing day anyway… I used to quite like getting boxing day and public holidays when I worked in retail because I needed the extra cash - expect might be a different scenario in small businesses but companies like myers often have an abundance of staff desperate for the extra cash from public holiday loadings.

    • SAm says:

      12:52pm | 13/11/12

      The same crowd that are pushing for this are the bunch that are pushing to eliminate penalty rates.
      Glad we have the loving retailers on our side, darlings, just trying to provide jobs arent they.
      Heres an idea, all you CEO’s and business owners, feel free to open your shops, if you want to staff them yourself!

    • marley says:

      01:46pm | 13/11/12

      Interesting you should put it that way.  I’ve got a relative who owns a small business - and you’d better believe he’s the one working Sundays and holidays, and paying staff penalty rates to work those days as well.  He’d go under if weren’t for the extra sales he gets on weekends, and if he were to do so, that that would mean 6 or 7 jobs gone. 

      And oddly enough, all those folks who don’t think they should have to work weekends because they want to be with their families - well, they’re the ones in his shops buying stuff.

    • Bitten says:

      01:49pm | 13/11/12

      Clearly you’ve never run a business Gerard. For every poor retail worker crying “woe is me I has to works Boxing Days”, there are five other employed individuals bitching about having to use their annual leave in a compulsory shut-down period over Christmas, imposed by their employers as an ‘opportunity to spend time with family’.

      Credibility and relevance fail.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      02:57pm | 13/11/12

      “Christmas and Boxing Day are about family, friends and community”.

      Shouldn’t this be an all year thing?

      In Asia people manage to spend time with their families and keep shops open all the time.  Maybe its the compartmentalisation of activities that is the problem here. 

      I don’t get the shops closing on Sunday either.

      One of the reasons I live in Southern European/Lebanese suburbs is that at least the place is lively all week and well into the evening.  It probably breeds a healthier attitude to consumption too unlike the usual Western model of binge till you drop folk or puritanical disapproval of anything except frugality.

    • mikem says:

      03:23pm | 13/11/12

      Its all about the big retailers getting an even bigger share of the pie.  Enough is never enough in their eyes.

    • Arthur Bastard says:

      03:26pm | 13/11/12

      Think about it guys. When you’re lying on your deathbed, hopefully many years from now, you’re going to remember that sweet deal you got on a re—re-mastered, special-release alternative directors cut Star Wars box-set at 5am on boxing day that one year. That box set looked awesome next to the other three star wars box sets you owned, and came with a picture of yoda.

      You sure aren’t going to think about the boxing day you spent playing cricket in the driveway of your parents place with your brother, like when you were kids only now he has a son and you have a nephew and the game is all about him. You’re not going to think about the last Christmas before your Dad passed away and how you’re glad you got to spend the time with him. You’ll be thinking about all the material goods you acquired over your life, and that will make it all seem worthwhile. Your final breath will be a happy one as you remember the time you bought the pillows you are lying on at 1am on a Tuesday, because that is the surest sign of a full life there is.

      Unless you are some sort of commie-unionist that is.

    • marley says:

      06:15pm | 13/11/12

      @AB - nope, when I’m lying on my deathbed I’m going to think wasn’t it nice to be able to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.  Not all of us have brothers or sons or nephews playing cricket in the driveway.  Some of us have (or had) busy lives with lots of commitments to friends and family -  and having shops opened late, or on weekends or on holidays meant those lives were a little less stressed because everything didn’t have to be done by 5pm on Friday.

      And I’m thinking about the time I could spend with my dad before he passed away because I knew I could dash out to the shops at any time, and didn’t have to build my schedule to see him around their opening hours. 

      For people like me, it has nothing to do with acquiring more material goods:  it has everything to do with acquiring flexibility in our lives.  And the older you get, the more important that becomes.  The concept in this article is about regimentation - and I can guarantee that, on my deathbed, I’m not going to be congratulating myself for having fitted my wants and needs into some Union’s schedule.

    • Norm says:

      03:32pm | 13/11/12

      What ever happened to going to the beach on boxing day?

    • Geos B says:

      04:14pm | 13/11/12

      Great win for families this plan to satisfy the greed mongers has been withdrawn.

    • Jo says:

      06:38pm | 13/11/12

      Sounds like a lot of good job opportunities for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, non-Christians etc ...


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In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



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