5 Reasons Why The Melbourne Cup Should Be A National Public Holiday

Racegoers in Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images

The Melbourne Cup is not just a horse race.

It’s the “race that stops the nation” and an Australian institution that begins well before the horses belt out of the barrier at Flemington Racecourse.

For some, the event begins at home with mass make-up sessions, intertwined with lavish champagne breakfasts and anywhere between three and 30 different outfit changes.

For others, the morning is spent soaking up the sun, downing beers and frantically scouring the newspaper for vague tips and confusing form guides to decide which runners to back.

But for the majority of Australians, the first Tuesday of November begins like any other day. People wake up and race out the door to work.

Here are 5 reasons why the Melbourne Cup is a great excuse for a day off:

1. It’s already a public holiday for most of Victoria

The Melbourne Cup Carnival means a public holiday for all working within metropolitan Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria. For Federal public servants it is also observed as a holiday across the state, and from 2007 to 2009 the Australian Capital Territory recognised it as Family and Community Day.

2. No work is really going to get done, is it?

Between endless office sweeps, decadent morning teas, best-dressed staff picks and extra-long lunches that can quickly turn into afternoon drinks, this doesn’t leave a lot of time to get any real work completed.

3. Some people are going to call in sick regardless

November often provides glimpses of spectacular summer days to come and if the sun is shining outside, bosses can be assured of spluttering employs dialing in their excuses early Tuesday morning.

4. Everybody loves to get dressed up

The races offer the opportunity for both men and women to fancy up and put their best foot forward, fashion-wise. The beauty of Melbourne Cup is that you don’t actually have to be trackside in order to sport a feathery fascinator or suit up in a snappy three-piece. If the Melbourne Cup fell on a public holiday, the entire nation would be awarded best-dressed.

5. Scrap that, let’s make it the next day

We were going to suggest a fifth reason but upon consideration, it makes more sense to have Wednesday off instead. Let’s face it, whether you head into the office on Tuesday or not, it’s likely you’ll be nursing a spectacular hangover and a disappointed look on your face when you admit your losses to your colleagues. However, there is a bright side to working… you’ll get paid.