21 January 2021

Jessica Irvine reckons Australia Day should move to the last Monday in January, and “let’s chuck in an extra public holiday on the Friday, too, and officially rebrand Australia Day to the Australia Day Long Weekend, more akin to Easter. Who could argue with that? … [T]he Productivity Commission, in a recent review, conceded: ‘There is … empirical evidence that more shared days of leisure enrich the relationships of people with their friends and acquaintances, which then improves the quality of leisure on other days, such as weekends.’ Too right, mate. Longer term, I’d like a bigger discussion about the appropriate level of annual leave for the modern age. In Finland, they get six weeks. In France, it’s five. Our last annual leave increase — to four weeks — occurred under the Whitlam era.” I don’t think shifting Australia Day to a date on or about 26 January is enough to address the fundamental colonial problem with it, but the broader point about more coordinated leisure time is something we should be pushing for.