ARISTEAN
CALENDAR

AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT

 

On September 1, 1994, MP Chris Haviland spoke at the Australian Federal Parliament on the Perpetual Calendar as recorded in Current House Hansard, page 949:

"I rise to speak this evening [5:42 PM] on behalf of a constituent in my electorate of Macarthur, Mr. Aristeo Fernando. Mr Fernando has a dream, an inspiration, for reform, which he believes, would be the beginning of the unification of the world in peace - a common bond between all nations. Mr Fernando proposes the introduction of a bill changing our official calendar from the Gregorian calendar to a perpetual calendar.

"The proposed perpetual calendar is similar to the present calendar. It has 12 months in the year; the year is divided into four quarters each of three months, and the first month in each quarter would have 31 days and the second and third months of each quarter would have 30 days, that is, January, April, July and October would have 31 days and all other months would have 30 days. This gives a total of 364 days. The 365th day would fall between December and January and not be identified as a particular day of a week or a month, but would be called World Peace Day. There would also be a leap year day at the end of June every four years.

"The most important feature of this proposed calendar is that the names of days and dates are the same year after year. For example, 1 January would always be a Monday and special occasions like Christmas and various anniversaries or, for that matter, individuals' birthdays would always fall on the same day of the week. Activities regularly held every year would become easier to plan for and remember.

"Mr Fernando also points out that there are environmental benefits to be achieved from this proposal. Because the names of the days and dates would not change from year to year, there would be less demand for new calendars, thus the usage of paper for printing of calendars would be dramatically reduced. This could see a reduction in the amount of emissions from paper production plants and a decrease in the number of trees that need to be logged.

"Mr Fernando understands that Australia alone cannot introduce and use a calendar which is completely different to that used by the rest of the world. However, Mr Fernando, a Filipino migrant, has immense pride in being an Australian citizen and belies that Australia has the courage to initiate and spearhead such a reform and that it can persuade the rest of the world to follow.

"Mr Fernando would like to see the Australian Parliament agree, in principle, to his proposed perpetual calendar, with a view to proclaiming the calendar at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In the meantime, Australia could raise this proposal in United Nations forums and other appropriate forums in order to achieve international agreement to the perpetual calendar. The calendar would operate from 1 January 2001, which appropriately is a Monday.

"Mr Fernando believes that this could be Australia's lasting gift to the world and an appropriate celebration of the its centenary of federation. I must admit that when Mr Fernando approached me on this issue I was rather pessimistic about his chances of success; that is, until he said:

"'If we don't speak up, who will speak up? If we don't move, who will move? If not now, when will it ever be?'

"A statement like that is pretty hard to argue with. Mr Fernando is a person who had the desire and courage to speak up and share his inspiration with other Australians. He has already received some publicity for his proposal in local newspapers.

"As his representative in this place [Macarthur], I am happy to bring his proposal to the attention of the House so that it can be considered and debated by anyone who sees merit in the idea of a perpetual calendar. Those of us in public life who commit ourselves to reform and change know only too well that the road towards change can be a rocky one. I hope that by raising this issue today I can play a small part in promoting at least for consideration in the community and amongst honorable members, something which does appear, on the surface, to be a proposal of some merit."

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