Follow this site by email:

Queensland Dayligh Saving Time debate 'distraction'

THE debate about a referendum on daylight saving in Queensland has been a welcome political distraction for the government, the Bundaberg region's MPs believe.

http://www.news-mail.com.au

THE debate about a referendum on daylight saving in Queensland has been a welcome political distraction for the government, the Bundaberg region's MPs believe.

Independent MP Peter Wellington reignited the debate on the issue by introducing a private member's bill to have a referendum on setting up a separate south-east Queensland time zone.

A survey on the matter by the government, which closed on Monday, received 78,000 votes.

Premier Anna Bligh has announced Labor members would not get a conscience vote on the issue and the LNP has already announced it will vote against it.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the issue was seized on by the Premier at a time when the Opposition was talking about issues such as Queensland Health payroll problems and asset sales.

Mr Dempsey said the state government was very good at manipulating the topic for discussion.

"The beauty of that is they didn't have to do it themselves. They've got one of the independents to do it," he said.

Mr Dempsey said the issue became more about splitting the state into two time zones rather than daylight saving.

Independent Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said there were more important issues to be debated.

"We've got a crisis still in Queensland Health where people are not getting paid," he said.

"We should be talking about things like the debt crisis, asset sales and the consequences of asset sales."

Mr Messenger said these were the issues people should be talking about.

"We're wasting valuable time in the parliament and in the media talking about an issue that has already been decided on," he said.

"If we are going to have a referendum, it should be on asset sales rather than on daylight saving."

Mr Messenger said he would vote against the motion.