Doing the right thing by and for each other

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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Doing the right thing by and for each other

COVID-19 has created the perfect storm as it wears down the people’s will – the will to do the right thing by ourselves, families, friends and the community by following public health laws. It is extremely disappointing that some people use these difficult times to push their various ideologies without the slightest regard for others and, in doing so, prolong the agony of lockdowns.

The idea of the power of one, with each of us doing the right thing by and for each other would surely make the task of overcoming the problems caused by the pandemic easier to address politically, medically and socially. So, let us feel the power and stand together as we all need each other to succeed.
David Hunt, Barongarook

Desperately trying to find out what really happened

Investigations into the failed hotel quarantine program get curiouser and curiouser. First, the Coate inquiry failed to establish who made the decision to use private security. Now WorkSafe has charged Victoria’s Health Department and not actual people regarding the program’s breaches (The Age, 30/9). What’s next? A third investigation by Alice to get to the bottom of this rabbit hole?
Dora Houpis, Richmond

Do we need to indemnify state governments?

Hindsight lets us see that the hotel quarantine system was invented in panic by an under-resourced department, and it was only necessary because the Commonwealth abandoned its constitutional responsibility for quarantine. At that time, aerosol spread was not understood, knowledge of COVID-19 was slight compared to our hard-learned experience, and as we kept hearing, the situation was “unprecedented”.

Now the state government faces penalties of up to $95.12 million and possibly a slew of legal claims for its imperfect job. Should the Commonwealth have arranged an indemnity as it did for doctors who cannot be sued for adverse vaccine outcomes? What is the risk that without such an indemnity a state government might do nothing at all in future emergencies?
Janet Wickerson, Thornbury

The high cost of the government suing itself

How ridiculous is it that a government agency is charging a government department for an offence which carries monetary penalties, and which would normally have no impact on the government deficit except that it will get bigger because lawyers will take a large piece of the action?
Robin Schokman, Doncaster

Please, Premier, our weary city needs a little relief

I couldn’t agree more with Celeste Liddle regarding the unnecessary and overly punitive curfew (Opinion, 30/9). A couple of times a week I go jogging in the evening, ensuring that I am home by 9pm. As a reasonably fit, double-vaccinated individual, if I exercised until 10pm, would I suddenly be in greater danger of COVID exposure?

Also, some families prefer to do their shopping in the small hours of the night. Visiting a supermarket during the day can almost be a case of running the gauntlet in terms of finding out that it has been declared a tier-1 site, forcing 14 days of home quarantine.

In many ways, the curfew is about treating citizens like recalcitrant juveniles who need to be taught to listen to their elders and obey the rules. So much has been given up by so many during 2020 and 2021. The lifting of this thoughtless ban would offer a modicum of relief to a weary Melbourne that is soon to earn the inglorious title of the most locked-down city on the planet.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn

The impact of a public holiday for a match in Perth

Dan Andrews now blames the surge in infections on illegal social gatherings and parties over the AFL grand final weekend, saying they contributed to about one-third of cases. Some sort of irony here with a holiday he created to curry favour with unions, a holiday which had no relevance at all last Friday with the grand final in Perth. He should have cancelled it. Yeah, nah.
Robert Wilson, Jan Juc


Of course people mixed

The Premier and Chief Health Officer were naive to think people would not socialise to watch the AFL grand final. Surely opening hospitality venues would have helped to minimise house visits. Density limits and COVID-19-safe plans would have provided filters to people’s behaviour whereas home visits provided none. The longer people are locked up, the less compliance will occur. The government’s handling of the current outbreak is as much of a failure as the infamous hotel quarantine outbreak in 2020.
Ian Bennett, Jan Juc

Why not speak up earlier?

At the time when the failings that WorkSafe alleges were happening, where was its knowledgeable advice on these things? Or did I miss something?
Gerry Lonergan, Reservoir

Masks are mandatory

With shocking case numbers and continued exhortations to wear masks, your front page yesterday celebrated golfers being able to get out for a round. The photo showed two men ready to play with their masks around their necks. Well done, The Age.
Judith Ellis, Templestowe

Golfers’ very long wait

Back to golf yesterday. Happy days. However, there were far fewer people on the fairways than on my local walking track, so I am unsure why it has taken so long for golf to return.
Kim Hurley, Glen Iris

Such illogical decisions

Toilets at golf courses closed (The Age, 30/9). Golf participants tightly restricted and managed. Public toilets in the park open. No control over number of people in the park. Who makes this stuff up? Do they actually think about it? “Public health advice” is the great scapegoat of this pandemic. We know what WorkSafe thinks of the Health Department. No wonder people are frustrated.
Ken Archibald, Black Rock

The complaints continue

Sadly, I can believe it. I cannot go to my gym, understandably, because it is closed along with its toilets. Golfers can now exercise with a round of golf. And still they complain because the club toilets remain closed. For some people a gift is never enough. Just be grateful.
Suzanne Stillman, Ormond

Mandating vaccination

We are most grateful to our police force. However, I find it puzzling that it is not mandatory for the officers, as front-line workers, to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for their health and wellbeing. We are making it mandatory for our health workers and teachers and numerous others to be vaccinated. Why isn’t the police force included?
Geraldine O’Sullivan, Hawthorn

The need for the curfew

Celeste Liddle (Opinion, 30/9) could surely have drawn a connection between the curfew and illegal social gatherings: the curfew is to prevent the gatherings in the first place. It is more likely to be successful for the police to sweep people off the streets than it is to rely on neighbours reporting illegal gatherings or police spotting them.
Anthony Whitmarsh, Viewbank

Towards scientific literacy

There has been much discussion about mandatory vaccinations and much reporting of people with their ignorant, non-scientific views. I would like to put the case for mandatory education in the biological sciences focusing on the science of vaccination.

Of course, this will depend on having qualified teachers in our schools who understand the science and can communicate it to the next generation. If this can be achieved, perhaps we will have a more scientifically literate population to confront the next pandemic.
Bill Healy, Kew

How the world works

So Josh Frydenberg and co have decided that disaster payments can be reduced and then axed once states and territories hit the 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination targets (The Age, 30/9). Does he have any clue as to how people function in the real world?

We reach those targets and snap. You get your job back. If only it worked that way. For thousands of people in a variety of industries, unemployment or under-employment will be their reality. Treasurer, have a chat to a few people outside your bubble. You might learn a thing or two.
Ann Maginness, Sandringham

The more dangerous ‘debt’

I have never been able to get my mind around Josh Frydenberg’s preoccupation with not leaving financial debt for our future generations, yet showing little concern about the environmental debt we are leaving upon the same generation. Are politicians really that self-serving?
Geoff Cheong, Aspendale Gardens

The PM’s dilemma

Scott Morrison has several choices in November: go to Glasgow to be shunned by European leaders over his treatment of France, stay home and be labelled a coward and climate laggard, or shut his office door and pray for re-election by a nation besieged by COVID-19, not China. It will be interesting to see how he frames his eventual decision … and who is to blame.
Suzanne Miles, Frankston South

Put a target to the vote

Tim Thornton makes a good point suggesting that Scott Morrison should put a respectable climate target to the vote in the Coalition party room (Letters 29/9). It would be a disgrace if MPs in a democracy did not gracefully accept the result of a policy vote they had lost. Barnaby Joyce has boasted that the Nationals are the most democratic party in the Parliament. Scott Morrison should put this to the test.
Peter Hogan, Fitzroy North

The forgotten workers

I do not recall Barnaby Joyce and his neanderthal mates in the “coal party” saying anything about job losses when Tony Abbott eviscerated the car manufacturing industry to save a couple of hundred million in subsidies.
Rob Warren, Ivanhoe

Our precious librarians

Clare Boyd-Macrae laments the closure of public libraries during COVID-19 (Opinion, 30/9). Certainly it is not possible for us to enter the libraries but many are well and truly staffed and open for the wonderful “Click and Collect” service. Borrowers can search online, reserve their selections, and arrange a time to collect their books. Those without the internet can telephone their library. Add librarians to the list of outstanding unsung heroes in our community.
Elizabeth Douglas, Melbourne

The world through books

Clare Boyd-Macrae talks about her “comfort reads in trying times”. Even crime fiction can introduce readers to engaging companions and great locations. Guido Brunetti (created by Donna Leon) in Venice and Armand Gamache (created by Louise Penny) in Quebec, without pandemic, passport or packing.
Joan Waters, Blackburn

The life of nuclear subs

Our existing fleet of Collins-class submarines was launched between 1990 and 2003, so they are now 29 to 32 years old, and about to have their operating lives extended for another decade. The new nuclear fleet we propose to purchase from United States is said to be “powered by nuclear-fission engines which will last the 30-year life of the submarines”.

So we will not “need our own nuclear industry”. Oh yes? With the example of the Collins-class fleet in front of us, what will we do with the nuclear subs when we are faced with the need to extend their lives beyond that 30 years?
Ron Burnstein, Heidelberg

Speak up, Mr Albanese

It takes a former Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to call out Scott Morrison for his duplicity over the French submarine fiasco. Where is Anthony Albanese on this? He is wedged so badly as to become mute.
Moray Byrne, Edithvale

High cost of our new subs

Clumsy, deceitful and costly is how Malcolm Turnbull has labelled Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines (Opinion, 29/9). The reality is we do not yet know what is required, when they will be delivered and what they will cost.

The cancellation of the French submarine contract has angered France, will cost millions, possibly billions, to settle contractually and jeopardise a trade agreement with the European Union. Angered Chinese warn that if Australia is nuclear-armed then it risks nuclear retaliation in the event of war. Costly? Sure.
Geoff Gowers, Merricks North

No escape from ’freedoms’

At first there was just the one case – Gladys Berejiklian quietly mentioned it in a press conference. No one questioned it or asked exactly what it meant, or if it meant anything at all. Soon it was repeated, and repeated and repeated. Then it appeared in the Fairfax media (horror of horrors) and on the ABC (more horror).

There is no escape. I am no longer allowed to be free of regulations – I must have my “freedoms”. And I thought the language was polluted when people told me they were “reaching out” to me. Help.
Jenny Darling, Southbank

Customer non-service

Marilyn Hewish (Letters, 30/9) forgot to curse those organisations which do invite you to leave a message but do not get back to you anyway. And an extra big curse for those departments which use the pandemic as an excuse for not doing anything, or not taking your call.
Clyde Ronan, Yarrawonga

Return our port to us

It is imperative that the Australian government takes back the Port of Darwin from its Chinese company owner, immediately. No ifs and buts, just do it. Can you imagine President Xi and his ruthless and belligerent regime allowing us to own and run the Port of Shanghai?
Tim Nolan, Brighton

We all love doing the quiz

To the people who create The Age’s Superquiz: Please throw in a few more questions for us Millennials who enjoy reading the newspaper each day.
Emma Murnane, Beaumaris


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


It would be unthinkable and unconscionable if the PM absents himself from Glasgow.
Warren Thomas, Ivanhoe

The PM enjoys the limelight so he should go. If he declines, will it be because he can’t face Macron?
Breta Cohen, Blackburn North

Climate-denial politicians: the dysfunctional tail wagging the bedraggled policy dog.
Peter Moore, Clifton Hill


Paul and Malcolm on the same page. How refreshing. Bring both back.
John Adams, Ivanhoe

Why can’t ex-PMs retire gracefully? Turnbull’s rant was unnecessary and demeaning to himself.
Diana Goetz, Mornington

Keating is so diplomatically switched on, he’s far from finished. He makes our current leaders look like ill-informed, subservient drips.
Howard Reddish, Swifts Creek

Keating’s essays are stultifyingly boring. Likewise Rudd’s. All of them supreme egotists.
Joan Mok, Kew

AUKUS: Australia covets the Union Jack and yearns to be the 51st star.
Jude McKewen, Crib Point

Those full-page United Australia Party ads make the ″⁣purrfect″⁣ liner for my cat’s litter tray.
Rick Luther, Carnegie


Tennis, golf, outdoor personal training: yes. Rubbish tip: no. The pile is building up. Must be a high-risk outdoor activity.
Chris Simpson, Frankston South

Imagine the chaos if anti-vaxxers exercised their “freedom” by ignoring red traffic lights.
Ailene Strudwick, Mornington

Victoria’s Health Department faces fines of up to $95million. Err, where will that money end up?
Peter Bennett, Clifton Hill

From 950 cases on Wednesday to 1438 cases yesterday. The protesters and party-goers have a lot to answer for.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

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