Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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For now, lockdown is Australia’s safest option
Chris Uhlmann (Opinion, 18/8) expresses little tolerance for the containment measures employed across the country. I look forward to his next opinion piece written after he has had in-depth interviews with nurses and emergency and intensive care doctors from New South Wales, GPs, paramedics and allied health practitioners involved in the care of COVID-19 patients.
Nobody likes the predicament in which we find ourselves, but there are few options for an unprotected population. Accentuating the intolerable burden already placed on our health care providers and the collapse of our health system would be the inevitable result if our Premiers anoint Uhlmann as their pandemic expert. With NSW recording 680 new local cases yesterday, and more to come, I doubt he will find too many health care workers who agree with his views.
Lloyd Shield, Moonee Ponds
Why the states have acted so fast and so firmly
Chris Uhlmann warns of “bone-deep damage to the federation” because premiers, not the Prime Minister, are running the show on COVID-19 management. In 1919, our federation was put under strain by the great influenza pandemic, when other states believed the federal government favoured Victoria, where it was then based, and where the flu virus first escaped quarantine.
Today we have a prime minister who clearly favours NSW, where a state government’s egregious folly has let loose the Delta variant upon us all. It is no wonder that the other states have acted fast and firmly in their own defence, very much as they did in 1919. The federation survived then, and will doubtless survive again – provided our federal government secures an adequate supply of vaccines. Let us hope Scott Morrison will heed Uhlmann’s quoting of Seneca: “To err is human, but to persist is diabolical”.
Anthea Hyslop, Eltham
The bottom line is keeping our death rate low
Chris Uhlmann mocks the “cognoscenti” who labelled Sweden’s loss of 14,000-plus lives as a “failure”. Perhaps that is because they are right. Sweden’s deaths are staggeringly awful in comparison to Australia’s 970 deaths. What value does Uhlmann place on those additional 13,000-plus lives lost? What standard trumps this?
No one doubts that we will have to “co-exist” with COVID-19 in the future – it is just that we are not there yet. The reason why Uhlmann’s ideas are “clearly not popular” is because by any standard of humanity they are simply in error, and this is an error he is persisting with. He needs to re-read that Seneca quote.
Nick Lanyon, Soldiers Hill
Protecting our hospitals and health care workers
No, Chris Uhlmann, we do not have Stockholm syndrome, we are not wanting to be dictated to, but we do not accept more than 14,000 deaths (as in Sweden). Yes, we may be living with the virus for a long time, but without vaccination we cannot irresponsibly subject people (including increasing numbers of children) to the possibility of long COVID or death. What we do want is for our hospitals, doctors and nurses protected from the catastrophic consequences of an out-of-control virus and, in this matter, most of us would prefer to listen to scientists rather than journalists.
Fiona Colin, Malvern East
Most of us have accepted the health advice
Chris Uhlmann argues that dictatorial premiers and a population that loves Big Brother government under a form of Stockholm syndrome somehow explains Scott Morrison’s lack of leadership. Premiers have been re-elected with thumping majorities, vast numbers of the population have understood the purpose of the health advice and followed it and, in the main, we have learned from mistakes and kept the death rate relatively low.
It is pretty easy to discern what Uhlmann’s alternative looks like. Just look to our north, in Australia and overseas. With freedoms come responsibilities. We are social animals and we need to interact; we just need to lower the risk so that the interaction does not kill us.
Brian Burgess, Middle Park
Calling out anti-Semitism
Dick Gross – “Emboldening the racists” (Letters, 19/8) – I do not think the Premier referred to the ethnicity of the engagement party participants in his “outburst”, as you call it. It was media outlets, including Nine News, which aired footage that identified the group and a specific question from a reporter that identified them.
Dan Andrews has a very difficult job and, as our elected leader, he has a right to call out bad behaviour where he sees it. That some hateful people have used this party as an excuse to demonise members of the Jewish community is morally repugnant. Our Premier rightly called out anti-Semitism, describing it as “unacceptable and evil” (The Age, 18/8).
Liz Jovanovic, Moonee Ponds
An unfair punishment
Yesterday I watched my nine-year-old grandson during his home schooling session. I suspect thousands of other parents and grandparents were doing the same thing with their children. Premier, this strategy of keeping schools and playgrounds closed is cruel to our children, parents and teachers. Rethink it, please, and urgently.
Tony Joyce, Brighton
Maybe blame the parents
I do not think children in playgrounds pose a major threat of passing on this virus. Parents standing round in large groups drinking, eating, talking and socialising without masks – now that is a real problem. And they are the ones who are complaining about the closures.
Carole Nicholls, Surrey Hills
Let the kids run free
When we were little kids, we played in the neighbourhood and our limitless imagination turned it into an infinite adventure playground. The dangers were no different from those today, kids and parents learned to deal with them, and some of us apparently survived. Now, while the organised, standardised, limited and safe alternatives are closed, maybe we can take a chance and let our kids redevelop the street smarts, resourcefulness and imagination of the past.
Ralph Bohmer, St Kilda West
Critical, missed message
Has anyone else noticed the plethora of cough, cold and flu remedies being advertised on television? With levels of these symptoms way down due to the population’s vigilance against infections, why do the ads not include the instruction to “get a COVID-19 test before using this product”? We are constantly told “if you have even the slightest symptom, get tested”, but these companies ignore passing on this message at a most crucial time.
Pete Sands, Monbulk
Please wear your masks
It is difficult to breath (I am in my late 50s) when I shovel about two tonnes of soil from my truck wearing a mask. It becomes almost intolerable when unmasked people cycle, run or the worst, walk past me with a coffee in their hand in the guise of daily exercise.
Jae Sconce, Moonee Ponds
Very valuable workers
Luke Kendall is on the money with his proposal to hold the grand final at the MCG and “fill it with vaccinated, front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, teachers, carers and lab technicians” (Letters, 19/8). Please include the cleaners and porters, though – their hard working efforts often fall under the radar. In hospitals, even more so now, we need clean rooms, clean beds, patients moved, specimens couriered to pathology ASAP and these guys do just that. Give them plenty of tickets.
Suzanne Clarebrough, Wangaratta
Towards a Tassie team
Bravo to John Wylie – “Tassie would put the ‘A’ in AFL” (Sport, 19/8). A great article that I hope is read with real intent in the corridors of AFL House. I hope that when the proposal comes to a vote from the 18 existing clubs, my beloved Cats are on the virtuous side of history and vote to admit a Tasmanian team.
Peter Rodgers, Malvern East
Listen to the fans, AFL
I can add to John Wylie’s concern that the AFL is not growing the game by building on strong local support and creating a Tasmanian team. In the 1980s it did the same in Canberra where Aussie Rules had been the strongest code ever since the capital grew on public service growth from Melbourne. It left the way clear for rugby league to expand and become the main code in the ACT. Perhaps these mistakes are due to the AFL’s reliance on paying management consultants to give it the reports it wants to hear rather than listening to what the people want.
Megan Stoyles, Aireys Inlet
Australia’s true history
A proposal is being considered to rename the Ballarat-based electorate of Wendouree (which is a Wadawurrung word meaning “go away”) with Eureka in recognition of the 1854 stockade – “Dissension over ‘Eureka’ name change for gold rush electorate” (The Age, 16/8). In recognition of our true history, why aren’t all electorate names, both state and federal, changed from mostly colonial to Indigenous names?
Michael Lynch, Essendon
What the war achieved
Was the 20-year war in Afghanistan an utter waste? Ask the young women who were emancipated and educated during this time. Education is never a waste and, in years to come, it may prove to be a means for a future leader to emerge from what now appears to be a dire situation.
Pam Swirski, Berwick
Time to show compassion
My partner and I have watched with dismay the scenes of ordinary Afghans attempting to flee from the clutches of the Taliban. We know some of the Afghan community living locally and realise that their family members are among those in mortal danger.
As a gesture of magnanimity at this time of extreme crisis, could the Australian government grant permanency to those of Afghan background who are genuine refugees and have been in Australia for years but are still only on temporary visas. This would not only offer support to the immediate beneficiaries but might also be a reason for hope in a world that undoubtedly needs it.
Rob Wood, Wheelers Hill
Government must step up
The scenes we are witnessing of Afghans endeavouring to flee their homeland are tragic. Where are we as a nation in all of this? Dragging our feet, unable to grant Afghans on temporary visas permanent residency, unable to commit to evacuate and bring as many of these desperate people to safety and the promise of a future.
We are a country rich with a multitude of resources which has benefited and grown from an influx of migrants and refugees throughout our history. When will our government show the required leadership and, importantly, courage and compassion and address this humanitarian crisis?
Anne Lyon, Camberwell
An unChristian approach
I was shocked to hear our Prime Minister warn Afghan refugees that if they get on a boat, they will not be welcome in Australia. Given the unfolding crisis, how could he be so mean spirited and so political towards these people? Where is his Christian charity he professes with his religious affiliation? How can he misread to room so badly? I was ashamed to hear our leader sounding so tone deaf to a situation that requires compassionate leadership.
Sandy Jeffs, Christmas Hills
Earlier this year our Prime Minister was very smug about changing one word in our national anthem – “for we are one and free” rather than “for we are young and free”. His words this week make a mockery of the line: “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”. And he says he is a Christian? Jesus wept.
Annette Knowles, Carnegie
Let’s fill up the planes
This is the first time I have heard of a Hercules being fully loaded with only 26 passengers. It should have been at least 50 people. Get your act together, Prime Minister.
Christopher Roff, group captain RAAF (retired), Balwyn North
Follow former PMs’ path
Many Afghans, already or now becoming refugees, must wonder what it takes. Scott Morrison reckons his religion is set aside when it comes to policy. For once we can believe him, just at the very time it ought to guide him. I think of Malcolm Fraser and the Vietnamese, but especially Bob Hawke after Tiananmen Square – a human and humane response to tragedy, not more dissembling, not more spin.
Craig Robertson, South Yarra
A great rural effort
The National Farmers Federation “Telling Our Story” campaign will be a winner – “Farmers taking climate action into their own hands” (The Age, 18/8). Most Australians live in cities and are unaware of how switched on some of our farmers are. Most Australians also care about climate change and want stronger action from our government. This campaign will tick both boxes. When is the television series?
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
A dubious honour
When the Prime Minister was young, he must have come dux of the school for “too little too late” on almost every issue.
Louis Roller, Fitzroy North
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Morrison’s response shows he is not in the same league as Fraser or Hawke. He’s unfit to be our PM.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
Only 26 evacuated on the first flight? Did they use a Cessna?
Nick Brennan, Rowville
Use the millions Australia is saving, now that the Afghan “war” is over, on resettling refugees from that wretched country.
Jim McLeod, Sale
I didn’t see any women chasing the plane at Kabul.
Geoffrey Ritchie, Dandenong North
Our PM wants no queue jumping on the tarmac at Kabul. What a contrast to other world leaders.
Lorraine Broad, Gisborne
Oh, well. In the words of another former NSW Prime Minister, NSW’s “gold standard” is officially dead, buried and cremated.
Ken Foxcroft, St Leonards
Berejiklian is doing everything in NSW that O’Brien says not to do down here.
John Nash, Altona
Some unions say mandating employee vaccinations will create workplace conflict. Not doing so will create unnecessary death.
Geoff Phillips, Wonga Park
It would be great if Morrison were as assertive with the vaccine rollout as he is with deciding “who will enter the country”.
John Stewart, Ararat
Say no to engagement parties or pub crawls, yes to compliance. The result: a return to some normality sooner rather than later.|
Mary Cole, Richmond
I’m looking forward to a grand final in Perth with 60,000 people booing both sides equally.
Mike Smith, Croydon
Open the gates at Kardinia Park to rural Victorians for the grand final and ask Eddie Betts to present the cup.
Hilary Hallowes, Hawthorn East
Make the tickets available to only fully vaccinated patrons. Encouragement and reward all in one.
Joan Noone, Hampton
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