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Take action against the social-distance scofflaws

Doris LeRoy, Altona

Huddling together hardly wise

I am unsurprised at the increase of the coronavirus in young adults. The park near the Brighton library is popular with young mums as it offers a safe playing environment for the toddlers. But one afternoon last week the group of young mums gathered there seemed to be oblivious to the need for social distancing as they huddled together.

I have observed that many people are confused with the terms social distancing and socially isolating, so on coming out of lockdown conditions, social distancing becomes discarded.

Trish Young, Hampton

Invite her into the tent

Perhaps Georgie Crozier, the shadow minister for health, could be invited to join a panel formulating Victoria’s COVID-19 response. This might reduce the snarky and often pathetic barbs directed at Labor’s efforts by the Coalition, even when the government is implementing actions recently advocated by the Coalition itself.

There is no clear path through this health and economic maze and petty sniping is simply unhelpful. If ever there were a time for our “bruised arms to be hung up for monuments” it is now. These are desperate times and we need to put “gotcha” politics aside and all pull together as a caring community.

Peter Barry, Marysville

A little discomfort is not too much to ask

My daughter has mitochondrial disease. At eight weeks old she went through a series of eye surgeries. Since then she has had serial spinal casting, skin biopsies, blood tests, MRIs and been in and out of hospital like a pinball. None of this was a choice, it was all a matter of survival.

I know that watching your child suffer is one of the most devastating experiences you can go through as a parent. I also know, from watching my amazing girl, that it builds resilience, character and an understanding of the greater good.

As far as testing for exposure to the coronavirus goes, surely parents can agree to, let’s face it, their child experiencing some minor discomfort in order to prevent what could be a catastrophe for another family.

Please, parents, agree to having your child tested.

Kylie Poppins, Wonga Park

No wonder the numbers are climbing

I agree with Mannie De Saxe (Letters, 25/6) that social distancing in Northcote is rarely being observed.

We have been abused for asking people on the streets to observe the rules, while others flip the bird or even yell “What are you going to do about it?” No wonder numbers of cases of coronavirus are climbing.

The only way I can see that attitudes will change is a more visible police presence on foot along High Street and surrounding streets.

Jennifer Frost, Thornbury

Treat them the same as we do fire bugs

If someone lights a fire in a region where a total fire ban has been declared, they are risking the safety and possibly the lives of others and are breaking the law in a way punishable with a hefty fine or jail sentence.

I see good reason to treat in the same way someone who has COVID-19, but has continued to pursue everyday social contacts having refused to be tested when the opportunity was there. They, too, are risking the safety and possibly the lives of others.

Ronald Burnstein, Heidelberg

THE FORUM

A lost opportunity

The AFL has lost a massive opportunity to showcase itself to a world audience. Michael Lynch in his article (“AFL cost Melbourne a shot at Women’s World Cup final”, The Age, 27/6) revealed the unwillingness of the AFL to reschedule AFL fixtures to allow World Cup finals matches to be played at the MCG.

A clever, ambitious and confident AFL would have allowed the World Cup final to take place at MCG and embraced the opportunity to showcase the AFL suggesting half-time children’s games or even an AFL-themed curtain raiser to show a global audience the local code.

Instead Melbourne has lost out on a golden opportunity to showcase the world game, Melbourne and AFL to a world audience. Broaden your thinking, AFL, and work in partnership with the world game and not against it.

Andrew Farmer, Rowville

It’s always there

Racism is always under the surface even in recent times. My son had two Somalian boys playing in his team and the abuse they suffered was sickening. And it has always been thus.

When I was young and being of a dark complexion, I also copped abuse. And this was at an elite private Catholic school.

The humiliation I felt remains with me to this day.

Until you have been on the receiving end, you will never ever know how this feels.

Peter Russo, Brunswick West

Cowardice and deceit

As an Australian taxpayer I deeply resent my taxes being used to prosecute two men who have done nothing more than attempt to expose Australia’s lies and duplicity.

When a former Australian government ordered the bugging of Timor Leste’s parliament to gain an unfair economic advantage, our national reputation was tarnished forever.

In a desperate attempt at concealment, our Attorney-General is proceeding with a secret trial which could result in these two men being imprisoned for speaking truth to power,

Bernard Collaery and Witness K are heroes in the eyes of the Timorese, but in a shameful display of cowardice and deceit, our government tries to muzzle them.

It’s in the public interest to know the truth. This trial should be open to the public, particularly as we are being forced to fund it.

Janet Upcher, Hobart

Downright dangerous

As many Melburnians choose to have meals delivered during the COVID-19 crisis, the explosion in the number of motorised bikes zipping throughout the CBD is both chaotic and downright dangerous, particularly to those who exercise, work or shop on our city streets.

These electric bikes are ridden illegally on footpaths, weaving at high speeds between pedestrians, or on roads, with riders oblivious to traffic lights or stop signs. Few bikes have lighting or use indicators, none are licensed or registered, and sloppy riding habits are clearly visible.

Most galling of all – particularly to car drivers who have been hit with significant fines – is riders’ habit of using their mobile phone for directions or conversations while blatantly ignoring all road rules. A windfall is here for the taking if councils and police spend an afternoon monitoring the streets (and footpaths) of Melbourne.

So often it is stated that it will take a tragedy for authorities to act and finally do something. Heartbreak for one family will occur sooner rather than later, and let it be clearly stated that the warning signs are everywhere.

Tim Swain, Carlton

A ray of hope

One lurches from despair to hope in the climate change space. I had the thought that the new hordes of STEM university students will realise that their future jobs lie in developing and managing green energy solutions. Let us hope they take the science they learn to heart, putting Scott Morrison’s revised fee structure to good use.

Surely they won’t be stepping out of university to design coal, oil and gas infrastructure to heat up and pollute the planet for themselves and their future offspring.

Elaine Hopper, Blackburn

Misguided vision exposed

Our Prime Minister, federal Treasurer and Education Minister would do well to reflect upon Thomas Keneally’s wisdom as he laments that “Australia’s cultural cringe lingers” (Comment, 26/6).

Keneally exposes the misguided vision and inherent flaws of their applying hard-line neoliberal ideologies to tertiary education funding.

Education Minister Dan Tehan wants more science students but Australian researchers are distracted from their primary role by wasting time and energy in chasing ever-decreasing research money.

Keneally wants us to break out of our cultural cringe of settling for importing refined goods and culture; he insightfully observes that “Our dreams and visions are extraneous to need in an economics which cannot define their value”. We need to promote the humanities, they help to humanise and energise us.

Kevin Burke, Sandringham

It’s no joke

Julie Szego is right (Comment, 29/6), there probably is a culture war in play and arts degrees are collateral damage. Did the government start the war or did cultural warriors within arts departments?

She might be amused “at the reporting on groupthink in humanities departments” but it’s no joke. Marxist, feminist and race perspectives are the predominant group thoughts and holding balanced perspectives is discouraged.

I report this as a former arts student in the 1970s. My sons report the same with their studies today. In my case I enjoyed studying arts and feel enriched by it but I couldn’t get a job with that degree alone.

Andrew McLorinan, Hampton

Leave it in the ground

Absolutely correct, John Walsh (And Another Thing, 29/6). Carbon sequestration has been an abject failure, a sop to the coal industry that has cost Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for no benefit at all.

All energy use ultimately results in heat being dissipated into the atmosphere, water or soil of planet Earth. If we derive our energy from the sun, no net heating will occur because the sun’s energy will arrive here anyway. We can choose to utilise it or not. Either way it will produce heat, but if we choose to use the sun’s energy to perform useful work prior to its dissipation as heat, doing so will result in no net heating of the planet.

If we use energy derived from other sources, like fossil fuels, extra heat and vast amounts of CO2 will be produced, which will additionally heat the planet. It is only through the use of solar-based energy sources that there is no “waste energy” penalty to be paid in the form of further global warming.

If we leave the carbon in the ground, there is no need for expensive and energy-intensive secondary sequestration. It is already safely sequestered now.

Helen Moss, Croydon

More representative

The effect of cutting representation on local councils to one elected representative per division is enormous. A rough examination of last year’s federal election indicates that first candidates received 43 per cent of first votes, while the first two candidates received 70 per cent of first votes.

While it may be impractical to extend the local government ward system to the House of Representatives, it is not impractical, and much more representative, to have multi-member electorates at local level.

If the Andrews government believes in fair representation in local councils, it will continue with the current, multi-member electorates there.

John Pinniger, Fairfield

The message was heard

Why is there no spike in NSW in the incidences of COVID-19 as there is in Victoria?

The answer is simple. The NSW Premier went to the extraordinary length of going to the court to attempt to stop the Black Lives Matter protest.

This sent a very clear message to Gladys Berejiklian’s electorate. Compare this to what our authorities in Victoria did and said – the end result is that Victorians became complacent, hence the spike.

We all now suffer the consequences.

Bill Holmes, Kew

This model might work

Although we in Australia are reluctant to adopt many American models for doing things, perhaps we should consider something akin to the funding model for its National Public Radio (NPR). The ABC could pursue additional core funding from state and local government, supplemented by untied corporate sponsorship plus personal donations in periodic funding drives.

It certainly can be argued strongly under the present circumstances that the ABC’s role during emergencies and in other major events warrants support at state and local levels, while the community at large also should be prepared to make a contribution in return for the numerous benefits obtained by having a healthy, fully functional ABC.

A concern might be raised that this funding model will facilitate effective federal government defunding, but we are seeing that already. And let’s hope that ABC funding becomes an election issue carrying some weight.

John Wark, Docklands

Hits the nail on the head

The Age economics editor Ross Gittins’ article (“Post-pandemic economic shock awaits Morrison”, Business, 29/6) hits the nail right on the head.

His statement about the government being delusional with tax cuts aimed at the top end of town is backed up by the latest reporting on who in society is propping up the economy. The upper end of town are sitting on their hands with their spending while the general population are contributing the most to the economy.

Peter Roche, Carlton

AND ANOTHER THING

Coronavirus

To mask, or not mask, that is the question.

Susan Caughey, Glen Iris

The government hasn’t “paid the price” for the failure of the COVIDSafe app (Editorial, The Age, 29/6), the taxpayer has. As usual.

Olivia Manor, Coburg

Please lock us down again, Daniel Andrews, to eliminate the virus. Close the schools again, this is unfortunately the only way to contain it.

Bronwyn Brown, Templestowe

Politics

Letting Adem Somyurek’s council electoral reforms stand is a very appropriate way to recognise his “contribution” to government.

Peter Venn, Bentleigh East

If we can’t have Ross Gittins as our treasurer can we please have him as principal adviser to the treasurer?

John Walsh, Watsonia

Amanda Vanstone

Well blow me down, we certainly do live in unprecedented times. I have just read an article by Amanda Vanstone and not only was it well written, I found myself agreeing with her.

John Ryan, Brighton East

The footy

With Alastair Clarkson’s blast about the appalling look that AFL has become, perhaps the powers that be may sit up and take notice of someone with both credibility and knowledge of the game and do something to make it watchable again. Please.

Marcus Phillips, Mount Eliza

Furthermore

What a fabulous calendar (“Classic moments in aid of a good ol’ laugh,” The Age, 29/6) capturing the spirit of fun and laughter: it sang out “life is awesome”.

Mary Cole, Richmond

Finally

Millennials deride Boomers; Zoomers deride Millennials; just the normal order of derision … they will soon know how it feels to be labelled “old”.

Marie Nash, Balwyn

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