Those who protected us deserve greater respect
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CROWDS AND COVID-19
Those who protected us deserve greater respect
The consequences of COVID-19 are everywhere, and one most people in the world have faced is lockdown in some form or other. There are a number of sensible crowd restrictions designed to minimise the potential spread of the virus but not all of them are sensible.
Sunday was Anzac Day, a memorial for those that fought and died during wars Australia has taken part in. The ceremony normally draws tens of thousands of people but this year the dawn service crowd was limited to 1400 and enforced with wire fences around the venue. In the afternoon there was a football match at the MCG that often draws a crowd of more than 90,000, but this year the crowd was limited to 85,000 and 78,000 turned up.
The Anzac crowd is usually quiet, respectable and well managed, while the football match is quite the opposite, a rowdy football crowd.
Many people missed the chance to attend and pay their respects, but everyone was either able to go to the game or watch it on TV. Surely there should be a greater respect for those that stood up to protect their country. We remember them.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
Appalling complacency after the game
Having caught a train home from the Anzac Day game at the MCG on Sunday I was appalled at the COVID complacency that was shown by my fellow commuters. The train was packed to the absolute limit with only around 10 per cent of the passengers wearing the required mask.
Graeme Barry, Ringwood East
Shoulder to shoulder at the march and the MCG
I attended the Anzac Day march on Sunday in Melbourne and marched as a veteran with our group, pretty well bunched together, then went to the Anzac Day football match with 78,000 other people, sitting pretty well shoulder to shoulder. Hoping out of it all I don’t contract the COVID-19 virus.
I was watching the early morning news yesterday, and I was interested to hear them talking about COVID shedding, that is, presumably, someone slowly over a period of time ridding their body of the virus.
Now I’m only a dumb retired builder but to me you either have the virus and can spread it far and wide, or your completely clear of any signs. If you have the ordinary flu you can infect other people until the time comes that you are clear.
It’s like saying you’re a little bit pregnant. During this shedding process are you still able to infect other people, if so you’re still a walking time bomb until your body is completely rid of the virus. So don’t take any chances with ifs and buts, quarantine until the complete all clear is given.
Geoff Parker, Point Cook
The right and wrong of it
I can’t help but feel that the authorities who limited attendance at the Anzac Day dawn service to 1400 got it right (“At the Shrine, the wire is no barrier to remembrance”, 26/4).
Whoever decided that 85,000 could go to the football at the MCG got it wrong.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
There was no justification for the MCG crowd limit
I watched the Anzac Day football game at the MCG from my room in hotel quarantine having flown to Melbourne from Perth last Wednesday. I spent 48 hours enjoying Melbourne and surrounds before being notified of my quarantine detention, and I assume the other 264 passengers, crew and ground crew did the same.
Yesterday, the front-page headline was that there was a post-COVID world record crowd of more than 78,000 at the MCG on Sunday, the day after a game was played in an empty Optus Stadium in Perth. This might sound like a stupid question to government ministers and health professionals, but if 265 people are deemed to be a COVID risk worthy of quarantining but only after they have spent 48 hours on the loose in Melbourne, how can it be reasonably justified to permit a crowd of 78,000 to congregate at the MCG the next day?
Surely both cannot be the right course of action in the circumstances?
Holger Lubotzki, Wundowie, WA
Volunteers could help
I wonder if a simple solution for the National Archives’ problem of being able to digitise old format records, would lie in an army of volunteers?
I imagine that there are suitably qualified persons, sound engineers etc, who would love to take on this important role for the honour of doing so and also to continue a feeling of self-worth in their retirement.
Australia as a whole would probably grind to a halt if it wasn’t for these very willing volunteers, who make places like Red Cross and Meals On Wheels, just to name a couple, tick every day. My own father, Wayne, puts in nearly as many hours on our public golf links as he did his full-time job.
Alas, as my opening statement said, it’s probably too simple and therefore not even a consideration.
Shaun Dunford, Mount Gambier, SA
These stories must be told
Michael Bachelard’s article (“Finding rich pages of history in camps of last hope”, Comment, 26/4) is a powerful and sobering reminder of the stories we will never know and even when told are unimaginable for us to grasp.
I was reminded of the recent fire in Bangladesh in the Rohingya refugee camp. “Camps of last hope”, resonated because the Rohingya refugees had sought safety after fleeing murder and violence and the fire was yet another great tragedy for them.
It is estimated there are more than 60 million people today, who are either refugees or displaced within their own countries and whose stories we will never be told.
Yes, journalists must keep telling their stories, so they don’t become dust and afford them the dignity that their stories are those of fellow human beings. Also we must continue to raise our voices against the inhumane treatment of many who have sought refuge here and continue to be in detention. They, too, have stories that must be told.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley
Look at this too, please
The Belt and Road agreement between Victoria and China was more of a feel-good exercise that contained no firm commitments or agreements other than a desire to find some common benefits. Yet the federal government has decided to cancel it as not being in the national interest, in its opinion.
The government must now explain, in the name of consistency, how something like the Port of Darwin agreement remains in the national interest despite the obvious national security implications and the considerable angst it is causing with our most important partner, the US.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
A safe and viable option
Les Ismail’s positive story (Letters, 26/4) of self-managing NDIS funds is like many I have heard from NDIS participants and older people self-managing their allocated funds.
They use their funding efficiently by getting market rates for services and supports, and the majority are far more satisfied compared to being restricted to service provider arrangements. Typically, the person, or their family representative, needs initial support to learn the ropes, and a port of call to answer questions as circumstances change.
With these supports, self-management is a safe and viable option often overlooked because it is not well known or not seen by service providers to be in their interests.
Self-management deserves wider recognition because it has potential to use funds efficiently and to benefit many people, as it did for Les.
Carmel Laragy, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
It’s not that simple
I spent two weeks in Howard Springs and was impressed. Howard Springs works because it has the infrastructure, planning and logistics. Someone actually organised it. It is not just a matter of popping up a few caravans and expecting it to work.
Perhaps if we had a proactive rather than reactive government things may have worked.
Mary Wise, Ringwood
Nothing to be proud of
The people who signed off on the crowd size at the MCG should be awarded a world record in stupidity. The last place to have the world record for a sporting event was India – and look at India now.
We had an infectious man fly into Melbourne from hotel quarantine in Perth – a plane full of people dispersed, and there is bragging about sporting crowds.
Across the Yarra, a COVID-safe event at the Shrine is criticised. Good on the Shrine trustees for showing good common sense.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
He’s just doing his job
People who criticise Scott Morrison’s stance on climate change suffer from the quaint misconception that his job is to lead Australia into a clean carbon-free future and protect us from the potential catastrophic effects of fossil fuel emissions.
His job is in fact to ensure that he remains in office. Distracting and dividing while distorting the issues around climate change and energy have been key factors in the electoral success of the Coalition for the past decade. Climate change denial and mockery of opposition climate policies have been a very successful strategy for the Coalition.
Why, given this is his real job, would he change course? Of course we will see a slight change in rhetoric, plenty of announcements in funny hats, lots of token projects maybe even a few that are worthwhile.
But it will be all smirk and mirrors. While the issue of climate change can be weaponised for electoral advantage, Scott Morrison will do so. It’s his job.
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
It wouldn’t work in my car
Scott Morrison says “It is not a question of if, or even by when, for net zero, but – importantly – how”.
I reflected on whether this explanation would have worked on my children, when young, on a long trip in the car.
When asked when will we get there, I doubt an answer such as “I don’t know when, but I think we will get there sometime” would be met with cries of anxiety and frustration. Beware, Prime Minister, the voters are getting restless.
Dave Robson, Port Melbourne
We were lucky
The recent WA quarantine transmission event holds a vital lesson federal politicians stubbornly refuse to learn.
Airborne transmission can occur silently and a person can walk out of quarantine, incubating, with a negative exit test, and start an outbreak.
We were lucky. Genomic sequencing detected a transmission event had occurred. But what if the only person contracting COVID-19 via intrahotel transmission was the Victorian gentleman, and he remained asymptomatic and oblivious? Perth and Melbourne could experience dual outbreaks, detected later, with both cities requiring lockdown simultaneously. We must pivot away from city hotels to a Howard Springs model of accommodation.
When will the Chief Medical Officer of Australia acknowledge this?
Anita White, Kew
If the ″supply″ is at Jeff’s Shed and the ″demand″ is in the suburbs, why not run a ″COVID Bus″ from various community centres into the city once or twice a day, like the pokie buses except they would come home, all vaccinated, still with all their money. You could throw in a cup of tea and a sandwich. Or is that too simple a solution?
Liz Harvey, Mount Eliza
It was suitable back then
Weren’t those Australians and permanent residents flown from Wuhan quarantined on Christmas Island last year?
So why is it unsuitable for quarantine now?
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra
This ‘reform’ wasn’t needed
Parnell Palme McGuinness’ article (“Corporate activism imperils democracy”, Comment, 24/4) was beside the point.
The new law in Georgia in the US seeks to make voting harder for the state’s large black population, restricting who can vote, and making it a crime to offer food or water to voters forced to wait in lines for hours on end.
Her suggestion that giving corporations the power to ″take decisions on behalf of the whole country″ might sound absurd, until you consider the untold millions of dollars donated to Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns by corporations and people such as the secretive Koch brothers. In truth, the reality is Republicans don’t need election reform to win back the White House, they need leadership
Parnell would be well aware that here in Australia our democracy is already under threat because of the secretive financial support of the three major political parties by the fossil fuel industry and other vested interests, including right-wing media.
And, finally, her comment that ″I can tell you that at least 50 per cent of my colleagues agree with me″, while interesting, sounds much more like a Putin style ″me-election″ than accurate polling research.
John White, Burwood East
It’s a pipe dream
The Coalition remains obsessed with carbon capture and storage as a means of continuing Australia’s economic love affair with fossil fuel energy and exports.
The process entails finding suitable geological sites to store CO2, and these may be nowhere near the preferred locations for power plants so transport of the gas may be necessary. The CO2 must then be converted into a semi-frozen “slurry” that is pumped deep underground into rock crevices that may need to be created if they do not already exist.
The energy needed to do all this has to come from the total obtained from burning the fuel in the first place.
Little wonder that most scientists regard CCS as a pipe dream.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone
Respect was not paid
As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and one who also served his country in the RAAF for more than 20 years, I think the Melbourne march on Sunday was not given the respect that is deserved to all service personnel who wished to march on Anzac Day, and it was total hypocrisy, when there were almost 80,000 people at the MCG to watch a football game.
Pamela Grierson, North Balwyn
AND ANOTHER THING
The sporting life
Good idea about widening the soccer goal (Letters, 26/4 and 22/4), and while we’re at it, why don’t we make the golf holes two metres wide so that it will be easier to hit a ball in and make the game a bit more ″alive″.
Roberto Ceppellini, Gardenvale
Your correspondents have suggested that soccer needs a method of increasing scoring. I suggest one simple rule change will do it. Get rid of the offside rule.
David Ross, St Kilda West
The world’s largest crowd since the COVID pandemic began and a botched vaccination program. A frightening combination.
Kevan Porter, Alphington
The hole that Scott Morrison has dug himself into on climate change priorities seems to be getting deeper every announcement he makes.
Hugh McCaig, Blackburn
Cloth nappies proudly flapping on a backyard Hills Hoist like Tibetan prayer flags. A simpler way of life back then.
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale
Listening over the weekend to the frequent “acknowledgement of the land on which we live” is all very nice and perhaps gives some people a warm and fuzzy feeling, but until Indigenous Australians are acknowledged in the Australian constitution, it seems to me they’re meaningless and empty words.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn
Chris Young (Letters, 26/4) captures a sentiment common to many correspondents: “Prime Minister, it’s time to start lifting.” At the very least Mr Morrison needs to release the handbrake and let so many would-be lifters get on with the tasks at hand.
Jim Spithill, Ashburton
About that crazy tax on electric cars: I’ve cut back on the grog. Should I declare it on my next tax return?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
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