An overwhelming majority of West Australians support the full deregulation of trading hours — as well as moving to a four-day working week – in changes independent MP Wilson Tucker believes would modernise the way WA works and plays.
The Painted Dog Research poll of 839 West Australians, commissioned by Mr Tucker and conducted at the end of January, canvassed support for a range of work and lifestyle changes.
It found strongest support (74 per cent) for removing all restrictions on trading hours and allowing shops to decide when they would open.
More than two thirds (68 per cent) of West Australians also backed working four 10-hour days in exchange for a three-day weekend.
Mr Tucker was elected in 2021 as part of the soon-to-be-defunct Daylight Savings Party, which will be deregistered this month as a result of changes to the electoral act that now require parties to prove they have 500 unique members.
The Painted Dog survey found opinion was more closely divided on the issue of daylight savings, with just 39 per cent of those polled keen to join NSW and Victoria in bringing forward the clock by an hour over summer.
That compared to 45 per cent opposed, with 16 per cent undecided.
There was strongest support for introducing daylight savings among self-identified Liberal voters (48 per cent) followed by Greens (45 per cent) and Labor (38 per cent).
Unsurprisingly, Nationals voters — who tend to live in the country, where opposition to daylight savings has historically been most strident — were least likely to back the measure at just 30 per cent.
Mr Tucker said the three issues together highlighted a strong desire among West Australians for key lifestyle changes – particularly when it came to shopping and working hours.
“There is a clear attitude to be a bit smarter with our time and how we approach work,” he said.
“WA’s trading hours are very archaic and backwards and when it comes to a four-day working week, Federal industrial relations laws come into play but it’s something the State Government could lead on through changing its policy in the public sector.”
Premier Mark McGowan has long resisted calls to modernise WA’s shopping hours, partly in deference to the powerful 21,000 strong union that represents retail workers.
However, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association boss Peter O’Keeffe in December indicated he intended to survey his members again this year on whether they supported changes to trading hours “because over time attitudes do change”.
“My attitude is quite simple: whatever members say is what we do,” he said.
While Mr Tucker will return to Parliament next week as an independent MP, he said he remained intent on advocating for daylight savings for the remainder of his term – and would target the 16 per cent of West Australians who remained on the fence over the issue.
“I believe there is a more compelling argument for daylight savings in the post-pandemic era,” he said.
“In many ways we are beholden to the east coast and after moving to more decentralised ways of working, time zones play a much bigger part.
“Aligning WA more closely with the east coast time zones would give us more flexibility with our lifestyle.”