Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Labour Day

In the car coming home from Williamstown beach yesterday, my five-year-old son heard on the radio that it would be ‘Labour Day’ the next day (today). So, he asked his eight-months pregnant mum if she would be giving birth that day! Ah, out of the mouths of babes.

Today is Labour Day, a public holiday marking the anniversary of the
eight-hour day – eight hours work, eight hours rest, and eight hours
recreation – and celebrating the achievements of workers in Victoria.
It remembers the day when building workers in put down tools and
marched off the job to demand the eight-hour day.

It is usually marked with the Moomba Parade, a bit of a carnival in
the city, and people taking the opportunity to go off somewhere for
the long weekend. It is certainly a workers’ holiday, rather than a
workers’ holy day. (The later would be May Day for the trade union
movement and left activists here in Victoria.)

I get the feeling that the Melbourne Commonwealth Games has altered
that to some extent this year. In fact, it took a newspaper
advertisement to remind me that the Moomba Parade was actually on!
I’m not there – I’m too busy getting more than my fair share of eight
hours rest and eight hours recreation today.


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