The following is a history of the promotion of the Aristean calendar. Excerpts from correspondence received are quoted herein as well.
Paul Bluck, Acting Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister of Australia, suggested on 23 March 1993 that "any change to be made to the calendar system would need to be developed through an international organization such as the United Nations for adoption by countries."
About mid-1993, I wrote to the media in several countries throughout the world to publicize the Perpetual Calendar. Some of those who replied and said that they could not publish it are The Strait Times (Singapore), The Wall Street Journal (New York), San Francisco Chronicle (California), Daily Mail (London), The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), Herald Sun (Melbourne), The Age (Melbourne), and The Advertiser (Adelaide).
When I learned in August 1993 that Sydney was bidding to host the 2000 Olympic Games, I wrote to the bid committee if they could include the proclamation of the official use of the Perpetual Calendar by the whole world beginning January 1, 2001 as one of the highlights of the Games.
When Sydney won its bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games, I wrote to the members of the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) to solicit their support to present the Perpetual Calendar during the closing ceremony of the Games in 2000.
I also sought the assistance of the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier of New South Wales if they could assist in convincing SOCOG to present the Perpetual Calendar during the Games.
On February 27, 1994, I was invited to speak before the Vietnamese Professional Society about the Perpetual Calendar.
The Hon Chris Haviland, MP for my electorate of Macarthur, presented the Perpetual Calendar at the Australian Federal Parliament on September 1, 1994 (House Hansard, page 949). Click on Parliament below to read his speech.
The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Frank Sartor, who is also a member of SOCOG, wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor Don McNicol, "asking for his views on the best way to progress the calendar proposal" in November 1994. He also wrote to the Chief, Planning and Special Programmes Section of the United Nations, to "direct the calendar proposal to an appropriate branch or forum for considered attention" in February 1995.
To help commemorate the centenary of federation of Australia in 2001, I presented the Perpetual Calendar proposal to the Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee in October 1994. The Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister replied that it "would not be appropriate to consider a change to a perpetual calendar in the context of the centenary celebrations in 2001. He also mentioned that Senator the Hon Peter Cook, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, and the Hon E J Lindsay MP, the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary, are not prepared to introduce a bill to Parliament calling for the adoption of a new calendar due to the difficulties that any unilateral adoption of such a calendar would create for Australia in the absence of similar action by other countries.
During the initial stages of progressing the Perpetual Calendar proposal, I suggested that the Australian Federal Parliament introduce a bill adopting it to take effect on January 1, 2001 with a condition. And the condition was: if by the year 2000, there were no other countries which would signify their intention of adopting it, then, Australia would drop the calendar, discontinue its promotion, and not implement it. Although it would be a unilateral adoption of the calendar, I did not ask that it be used immediately. Its usage would not start until January 1, 2001 still and with that condition. Ministers of government misunderstood me here. They thought that Australia would be using this calendar while the rest of the world would be using the Gregorian calendar. My intention then was to make Australia be in the forefront in promoting for its adoption by other countries and the whole world. I do not have the financial means and the manpower to embark on such a global promotion.
When His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, visited Australia in January 1995, I requested an audience with him to present the calendar idea. Susan Winkworth, Executive Assistant of the Papal Visit, said that due to the Pope's brief visit, Vatican protocols, and his health, "private audiences have not been permitted." She, however, commented that the calendar proposal "is well-devised, logical, simple to follow and also environmentally considerate."
While employed at BHP Steel and after, I sought the company's financial assistance to promote the calendar proposal. Bruce McGowan, Manager, Human Resources, wrote to me in November 1994 saying that it is not appropriate for the company to take an active role in the promotion of a matter such as a calendar change.
The Hon Michael Photios, MP, New South Wales State Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs, on December 12, 1994, expressed his approval of the calendar proposal which he "certainly think has merit." He said that it "is a simple enough rationalisation of the way we view our time and is one worthy of consideration." What he found "particularly attractive is that calendars and diaries would not have to be reprinted every year. Around the world this represents a lot of trees and saved paper, and makes the greatest sense environmentally."
On February 2, 1995, Professor Paul Crittenden, Dean, Faculty of Arts, The University of Sydney, wrote to me in response to the request of the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Frank Sartor for an assessment of the Perpetual Calendar proposal. He said that "the proposal works in a technical sense and could have some advantages, but the whole world would have to agree on it and it would need to be introduced simultaneously. Agreement on that scale in the envisaged time frame is very unlikely and there is question whether the endeavor would be worth the effort." His suggestion was "to try to get it adopted by the United Nations in the first place." He further commented that my "ingenuity in devising the calendar is linked with idealism and a very worthy concern for world peace and understanding."
Dr Richard Brittain, Secretary, National Time Committee of the National Standards Commission (of Australia) sent me a copy of the Commission's Information Leaflet No. 28 on Calendars issued in April 1995. It mentioned the Fernando Perpetual Calendar from Australia as "one of the most recently suggested forms of perpetual calendars" which claims the following advantages: "(a) there are no "monthless" or "dateless" days; (b) it affects less days in the current Gregorian Calendar than any other proposed perpetual calendar; and (c) there are no Fridays on the 13th."
In April 1996, my very good friend since 1981 and a staunch supporter of my calendar idea, Hans Hollenstein of New York City, followed up at the United Nations the February 1995 letter of the Lord May or Sydney to the Planning and Special Programmes Section. Through the Section's new chief, Ms Susan Markham, she suggested in August 1996 that I have my Australian government raise the calendar reform matter in the appropriate forum, such as ECOSOC.
On May 4, 1995, the Campbelltown City Council through I.S. Porter, General Manager, expressed their support for my efforts to publicize the perpetual calendar idea.
In 1996, John Fahey, MP, who succeeded Mr Chris Haviland, my electorate's MP who presented the Perpetual Calendar at the Australia Federal Parliament on September 1, 1994, wrote that "the Perpetual Calendar sounds like a very interesting and useful idea. I imagine that some religious groups would object on the basis of a seven day week and other particular religious references, but it seems to me that your concept deserves greater discussion."
Please note: There are several more to be added to this later including my correspondence with SOCOG. (AF, December 31, 2000)
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