News

Would my husband have got an ambulance now?


Tough decisions had to be made to keep us safe

While Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass was not critical of the decision to close the state border, her report (The Age, 8/12) found the Health Department appeared to have a “culture of caution” against providing compassionate exemptions for people to enter Victoria and focused resources on keeping people locked out rather than helping them get home safely.

It was sad to see she has joined the state opposition and selfish, “me first” individuals in our community, condemning, in retrospect, government actions that were taken to protect Victorians from this insidious COVID infection. She joins them in being wise after the event, those who may never have been faced with making immediate tough decisions in a difficult, maybe life-or-death, situation.

For these state officials to have erred on the soft side, the “popular” side, would have been a dereliction of their duty to keep us, as far as possible, safe. Things might have been done better but hard decisions had to be made in unknown circumstances.
John McKenzie, Camberwell

Act now to stem the number of cases in schools

Given the high number of cases of COVID-19 spreading through primary schools (The Age, 8/12), would it not be prudent to break for the summer holidays now and bring forward the vaccinations for five to 11-year-olds? What is the real hold up? Other countries are already vaccinating children. Acting now may prevent Christmas Day from becoming a super-spreading event.
Michelle Woods, Carnegie

More information and figures on COVID cases, please

Conversations with many people indicate that we share a frustration with daily COVID-19 figures. What we would like to know is how many of the current hospital admissions are non-vaccinated people. How many beds are occupied by non-vaccinated people? How many elective and urgent surgeries are being postponed because beds are occupied by unvaccinated people? How many people on respirators are unvaccinated?
Peter Berenyi, Howes Creek

THE FORUM

Keep it simple, please

Niki Savva (Comment, 9/12) offers a sage observation of Anthony Albanese and his tendency to “bury his message in a version of English favoured by politicians wary of getting into trouble”.
He says: “I may not be the smoothest talker – but I promise you, I’ll always tell it straight”. If he sees himself as being able to “tell it straight”, then he needs to do so. Voters do not want to spend their time trying to interpret waffle.
Des Files, Brunswick

Strange political game

There is a a good chance we will get a centre-left coalition government, at long last, after May, However, Labor is already saying that further cuts in CO2 emissions are not negotiable with the Greens out of fear of Liberal electoral swipes during the campaign. Do not get bogged down too soon, Anthony Albanese. Who is to say that in the event of a renewed Liberal-National outcome, the Nationals will not renegotiate a lower CO2 cuts deal as condition of forming a coalition government.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

Respect all candidates

Where does The Age really stand on misogyny? You chose to amplify a belittling description by an unnamed “political observer” of a high-achieving woman (Monique Ryan) by using it in the headline – “Like taking on Bambi: The children’s doctor aiming to unseat the Treasurer” (Online, 9/12).

Here is a headline you could have used: “Intelligent, principled woman standing against ineptitude”. As the election campaign gets under way, I hope The Age will treat all candidates with respect.
Susan Pepper, Mooroolbark

Too exhausting to read

I was impressed by the account of “Melbourne’s most exclusive – and terrifying – book group” (CBD, 7/12). They seem pretty smart. After a few drinks, my mates sometimes come up with this idea of a book group but we never get far. It all seems overwhelming.

Someone says how about David Jones’ World War I poem In Parenthesis, for example. We get enthusiastic but then start arguing if the Somme offensive was the start of industrial warfare. Someone else wants to debate the number of casualties.

Then someone insists we read The Mabinogion, the earliest prose stories of literature of Britain. Then we realise we have discussed it informally at a motorcycle club track day but we had all forgotten because it was the day of the big crash. So I really respect people who can knock over the Old Testament quickly because we would not even consider that.
Peter Dillane, Northcote

City in full swing again

The traffic was bad, the car park was full, the Town Hall was lit up and there were colourful Christmas decorations in abundance. The theatre was packed and the glamorous, talented, sparkling cast of Moulin Rouge transported us to Paris. Melbourne, we’re back.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn

Fighting for the refugees

On Wednesday I helped in a Zoom language class where the newest member, a refugee, revealed he had recently been released from nine years of detention. Then my sweet companion showed me the compelling article by human rights activist Thanush Selvarasa – “Free from the cage, but the pain goes on” (Opinion, 8/12).

I am in a rage that in this country where I was lucky enough to be born, where there is so much food, wealth, land and a good life, we refuse to put “unofficial” entrants into temporary detention, say for three months, to thoroughly consider them and the options. I am ashamed and humiliated by this national disgrace. On this question, I will stand and fight anyway I can.
Ken Taylor, Brunswick West

Our double standards

What hypocrisy. Australia locks up innocent asylum seekers for eight years and prosecutes Bernard Collaery in secret, and at the same time joins the United States to take a stand about the human rights violations in China.
Marilyn Hoban, Mornington

Boycott saves our money

It is good news that the taxpayer will not be paying for politicians’ and officials’ Olympic Games junkets this time around. What purpose would they serve anyway apart from possibly embarrassing us further? Make the ban permanent and keep them here doing something useful.
Mark Freeman, Macleod

Try diplomacy, Mr Dutton

With presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden exploring areas of co-operation, Defence Ministers Peter Dutton’s dog-whistling of China for the coming election is downright dangerous. I suggest a muzzle and let the diplomats use their diplomatic skills.
Shirley Videion, Hampton

How far will the bans go?

Assuming that Australia’s Socceroos qualify for the 2022 World Cup, it will be interesting to see whether our government (of whichever stripe) will feel obliged to “diplomatically” boycott that competition, given Qatar’s dubious human rights record.
Ian Millar, Mordialloc

Vote for the refugees

Scott Morrison says it is in Australia’s interests to not sent diplomatic staff to the Beijing Winter Olympics. This is to protest against the Chinese breaches of human rights of Muslim minority groups. He needs to look at Australia’s treatment of refugees held in captivity here and on Manus Island before he takes the high moral ground against other countries. With an election next year, it is the perfect time for all parties to put a plan in action that will end the incarceration of innocent people. The one that will do this will get my vote.
Pauline Duncan, Maffra

Think of our farmers

No invitation was issued for our officials to attend the winter Olympic Games in China but we have sent our rebuttal. What has happened to the art of diplomacy, or do we wag the tail of the United States? Our rural commodity producers must be very worried.
Ron Reynolds, Templestowe

Cost of buy now, pay later

A long time ago in the United States, someone came up with the idea of “a dollar down and a dollar a week”. In England it was called “buying on tick”. Travelling salesmen used to call on housewives and cajole them into buying tablecloths, cutlery, bed linen etc for just a modest fee, plus sixpence a week.

The salesmen would call to collect the money regularly and “tick off” each payment. By the time several had called, some housewives were in debt for three or four shillings a week out of a pay packet of four pounds. When I came to Australia in 1968, I was pleased to discover the lay-by arrangement. How sensible. One had to save and pay fully before owning the item.

Today we are back to the “never never” trap with the rise of the “buy now, pay later” systems. We need to push the idea to school leavers that managing their money is a valuable skill that will help them avoid the “buy now, pay later” trap and budget wisely.
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton

Cost of cryptocurrency

We know a few things about cryptocurrency. It is the ideal medium for people to hide their money, for a start. It can double your “investment” in a few days (and halve it in a few more). Currently it is wasting energy at a global level equivalent to the energy usage of a medium-sized western country. And “Bitcoin is a medium for speculation, not exchange” (Business, 8/12).

The “amazing ground-breaking blockchain technology – “MyCryptoWallet folds under barrage of complaints” (Business, 8/12) – did not stop the Australian crypto from failing, despite the righteous wailing of their spokesperson about negativity. Are we living in La-La Land? Where really are the positives of crypto? Or should we just grab a “freedom” banner and continue to ignore reality?
Peter Deerson, Mornington

Fancy a coffee and chat?

When considering the character and performance of MPs, I include a qualitative consideration. Who would I would like to sit down with for half an hour over a cup of coffee? Sadly for our country, there are far too many who fail to meet that standard.
Jim Spithill, Ashburton

Schoolies out of control

Schoolies 2021 has seen the Mornington Peninsula flooded with young adults over the last fortnight. They partied all night long, roaming the neighbourhood yelling and shrieking until dawn, ripping out street signs and trashing the environment with their empty bottles, cans and fast food wraps. The general lack of respect for the residents and the environment is disappointing.
Dave Miller, Rye

Critical COVID question

Years ago, when I was learning Greek and Latin (it was one of those schools), I was taught that “omicron” was pronounced “oh-my-chron” not “ommee-chron”. Was I misled? It is driving me mad.
Chris Butts, Glen Huntly

What’s accountability?

Sarah Russell (Letters, 7/12), are you saying private companies or organisations receiving government funding should be accountable for the spending of those funds? A novel idea.
Graeme Henderson, Bullengarook

Are we all being played?

The continued speculation about Novak Djokovic’s participation in the 2022 Australian Open is generating a lot of free media for it and for him. No new information has been served, only a daily volley of “Will he? Won’t he?“.

At some point, Mr Djokovic will retire and not play in the Australian Open and it will continue without him. Next year’s tournament might just be the warm-up to that moment.
Geoffrey Conaghan, St Kilda

Keep out, Novak

We have not gone through lockdown after lockdown, unable to see friends and family to have, Novak Djokovic stride into Victoria without being vaccinated. We don’t want him here.
Margaret Sullivan, Caulfield North

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Life matters

Provide a safe climate, protected biodiversity, affordable housing, education and health care and people will have the babies (9/12).
Jenny Smithers, Ashburton

Blue face masks are the new cigarette butts.
Renny Cunnack, Port Melbourne

Human rights in China. Why aren’t more Muslim countries making a stand for the Uighurs?
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Politics

Garry Biggs (9/12), the PM has one ambition: to remain PM.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

Go Monique Ryan in Kooyong (9/12). An intelligent, scientifically literate woman. There is hope. Josh, beware.
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North

Where do politicians get their sense of entitlement from? We are fools to put up with it.
Richard Laing, Carlton North

A PM who believes corruption is limited to what is illegal misunderstands what ethics and integrity mean.
Ian Pitt, Brighton

Who will “train” Liberal women candidates (6/12)? So insulting.
Jennifer Beacham, Hepburn Springs

Maybe the ABC wouldn’t need so many lawyers if the government didn’t attack it so much.
Michael Meszaros, Alphington

There aren’t that many times when Barnaby is put to the test and is found to be positive.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill North

Sport

Pat Cummins should be nicknamed “Nobody” because nobody is perfect.
Les Cooper, Anglesea

Will Novak or Novax be coming to the Australian Open?
Garry Mcintosh, Macleod

Can l take my racquet instead of my vaccination certificate to get into the Australian Open?
Peter Caffin, North Ringwood



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