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SA: Election Issues – Deregulation of Shop Trading Hours

In March 2022 South Australia will go to the polls. This is the first of a series of articles I will write to spark your thinking about issues that may be alive leading up to the election. 

The first is the deregulation of shop trading hours. This Liberal Party proposal was defeated in the Upper House in 2018. Business SA’s spokesman Mr Penney said,

“In this 24-hour world of consumerism, allowing shops to open when it suits them on weekends and public holidays would have helped level the playing field for those competing against online international retailers, allowing us to shop locally and support South Australians. How can we grow the economy if consumers can’t support local traders when they’re closed?”

But should we shop till we drop? Should all shops be open on a Sunday morning?

With the Internet we can shop anytime now. Do we need more open shops? What will this do to times to worship? What will this do to family times around the Sunday lunch table?

Let’s think for a moment about a biblical perspective. God made work. Genesis 2:15 tells us that God put man in the Garden to care for it. But God also made rest. Genesis 2:1-3 tells us that God rested on the seventh day, He blessed and hallowed it.

Abraham was a very wealthy man. He had flocks, herds, silver, gold, male and female servants and much, much more. He was an ancient, nomadic, entrepreneur. Work and free enterprise is good.

The law given in Exodus also encouraged free enterprise, but with limits. The Sabbath day was codified as a day of rest (Exodus 20:8-9). God said there was to be a day when we did not work; not just the boss, but all employees and even animals.

Work was good, but it was not to be God. Rest was important.

There was also the seventh year, when all the land had to rest, and the Jubilee every 50 years when all debts were forgiven, all slaves set free and all land reverted to its original owners (Leviticus 25:1-13). There was to be no grinding poverty in God’s nation.

This is an interesting issue to consider. As believers, we need to think about everything from a biblical perspective.

My view is that we do not need more deregulation of shopping hours. Let’s preserve Sunday, as best we can, as a day for worship, rest and family time.

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