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The new lockdown: Why is the rest of our state being punished?

Take a tough stance on those who won’t be tested

Dan Andrews, well done to date. However, the Victorians who have been doing the right thing are being punished by other states because certain areas have not done the right thing. Now we hear that 1000 people have refused to take a COVID-19 test. Why? Do they have something to hide? If they do not wish to protect our society, maybe the society (i.e. government) should reconsider what it gives them in benefits. People, careers, and families may be disrupted or broken by these people’s lack of respect for our society. Premier, force them to be part of Victoria or punish them.

Brian Siddles, Heathmont

More than a century later, not much has changed

On September 14, 1880, when typhoid and diphtheria were problematic, The Age published a circular by the Central Board of Health. It chided Melbourne’s citizens for their “general and almost utter disregard of the laws and regulations preventing the spread of infectious disease” and urged that proceeding be taken against offenders. One hundred and forty years on, you would hope that we would be doing better.

Vikki O’Neill, Ashburton

Long-term, we will benefit from this lockdown

I am pleased that my hotspot suburb has been locked down so we can all get through this faster. It is a relief to see the end of the dilly-dallying that has landed other countries in hot water.

Yasmin Kelsall, Brunswick West

How good was staff training at quarantine hotels?

One would think that a vital criteria of the staff training for those engaged in ensuring the compliance of quarantining rules by others, would be an insistence of strict social distancing among the workers. Car pooling is a case in point, unless limousines were supplied? The basics of infection control include hand washing/sanitising after smoking, as well as not using shared items (such as cigarette lighters). It is a big fail all around for whoever provided the staff “training” at the quarantine hotels, as well as those charged with monitoring the performance of the employees.

Joyce Wilkinson, Ivanhoe

The importance of frequent and effective testing

Melbourne’s outbreak could have been averted if staff in contact with known or suspected COVID-19 cases had been routinely and frequently tested. Failure to do this for staff in one Tasmanian hospital two months ago resulted in 12 of the state’s 13 deaths. Social distancing, by itself, is not enough in high-risk settings like a quarantine hotel. Testing is plain common sense – simple, cheap and effective. The lesson of Tasmania’s disastrous experience was ignored. All Victorians are now paying the price.

Martyn Goddard, health policy analyst, Hobart

Well done to our Prime Minister and Premier

We are all in this crisis together, except if you happen to be in the Victorian Liberal Party or the federal Labor Party. This is an extremely difficult time for all of Australia, especially Melburnians, and you would think that all politicians would be working co-operatively instead of taking cheap shots. Scott Morrison and Daniel Andrews are in unenviable positions but appear to be working together to help put Australia and Victoria in a fantastic position compared to the rest of the world. Well done.

John Spies, Shepparton

THE FORUM

Does this meet guidelines?

Light aircraft from Moorabbin aerodrome continue to circulate over Melbourne’s southern suburbs, with many of these presumably being training flights. Quite apart from the dubious benefit of such training in a world with a forthcoming glut of pilots, how can an instructor and pupil possibly observe social distancing in these tiny cockpits before they land and then drive off back into the community?

David Moffatt, Parkdale

A fraction too close, PM

It seems Scott Morrison considers the requirement that we stay at least 1.5 metres from others does not apply to him. In your photo (The Age, 1/7), he is shown touching elbows with the Liberal candidate, Fiona Kotvojs, in the Eden-Monaro byelection at a distance patently less than 1.5 metres.

Basil Theophilos, Castlemaine

Unfair punishments

To the law-abiding residents caught in the lockdown suburbs who have done everything right: Welcome to the world of the law-abiding gun owners in Victoria. Judgment and legislation based on the actions of those who refuse to follow the law.

Andy Worland, Geelong

Dangerous daily travel

The freedom of choice around which school kids can go to has long worried me. This is mainly because of the increased risk to life and limb, with so many cars on the road transporting kids. It also does not help with strengthening our local communities where local schools are real hubs for families to relate to, and support, each other.

Now the pandemic has added another consideration. How much easier would it be to control the spread if kids attended their local schools, within their own communities, rather than being driven all over the city or using public transport. It is time to revisit this policy.

Margaret Maguire, Coburg

Boost the work inspectors

While I am in total sympathy with the aims of those who wish to reduce the number of deaths in the workplace, I cannot agree with the new draconian laws (The Age, 1/7). As any teacher, parent or police officer will tell you, the severity of the punishment is not what prevents unwanted behaviour. Instead it is the certainty of being caught.

Human nature being what it is, if someone thinks they have a 90per cent chance of getting away with something, they will very often take that risk. A more effective solution would be to dramatically increase the number of workplace inspectors. However, this will cost more money and so is not being considered.

Sue Tuckerman, Kew

Equal punishment for all?

With our new industrial manslaughter laws, if a public servant is injured or killed at work, will the relevant government minister be charged and face up to 25 years in prison?

Richard Davies, Malvern East

Taking a smarter approach

Australia will purchase long-range missiles to form part of a new defence strategy. Peter Hartcher writes that, “By excluding the nuclear option, Australia’s revised defence strategy means we are going to continue trusting America to protect us under its nuclear umbrella” (The Age, 1/7).

It is reasonable to ask if this trust will be reliable given the shambolic nature of US foreign policy, and the increasing pressure towards isolationism, propensity to value national interest over world leadership and unpredictability and inconsistency in the US leadership. We should be smarter and more self-sufficient in defence and foreign policy.

Peter Starford, Williamstown

We’re escalating tensions

Scott Morrison’s announcement about the jump in so-called defence spending made me very sad. He admitted that a poorer world means a more dangerous world.

Shouldn’t we be addressing poverty, then? At a fraction of the cost, we could act on climate by bolstering investments in renewable energies, transition workers out of coal and gas into sustainable jobs, and build great relations with our neighbours by supporting peace, education, disaster risk reduction and food and water security projects. This increase in our military spending will only escalate tensions.

Christine Morris, Hoppers Crossing

Wars of destruction

After reading Peter Hartcher’s article about the “unspoken threat”, I was reminded of one of Albert Einstein’s post-World WarII statements: “I know not the weapons that World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.

Lynne Wenig, Melbourne

An arms race to the death

Australia’s decision to install long-range missiles and even space warfare weaponry is fraught with danger. It will stimulate a MAD (mutually assured destruction) arms race in our region and only increase instability and the risk of global annihilation. How can we argue that North Korea and Iran should abandon their missile and nuclear programs when we take this path?

David Crawford, Balwyn

We should aim for peace

Scott Morrison announces huge arms purchases from the US so we can “stop war”. We are claiming more defence policy independence while binding ourselves more closely to the military-industrial complex of the US, which ties its economy and politics to a stance of perpetual hostility. In our region, China is reasserting its past dominant status and a wise course for us would be to work with it to accommodate what it sees as its legitimate goals. Instead, we have joined the US in the revived policy of containment as well as promoting a clash of “values” that seeks to legitimise a paranoid condemnation of a communist China.

As we arm and confront, China responds with belligerence and its own increased defence spending. Instead of turning East Asia into an armed camp, we need to lead the way along an independent path to peace and stability in our region.

William Puls, Mentone

Where dollars should go

Quiet diplomacy with any likely enemies would be the safest way for our government to proceed. Instead, we have shades of 1984, where the threat of another war is the best way to unite an uncritical country. What magnificent peacetime benefits could we all enjoy if the money for weapons were diverted to the arts, housing, health, education and energy.

Julanne Sweeney, Eden Hills

The more things change …

The media reports that Russia is allegedly paying a bounty on US military deaths in Afghanistan. Wow, it might be a case of “the biter bit”. A few years ago, I recall the US government was proudly financing and supplying military equipment to the Taliban to kill Russian military personnel in Afghanistan. Perhaps neither country should be there. Governments have conveniently short memories.

Fred Funnell, Brighton

In support of Channel 31

Thanks to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher for allowing Channel 31 to stay on air for another year while it transitions to a digital-only broadcasting model. But why wait until the last minute to announce this? And why for only another 12 months? So Channel 31 will have to go through the whole ordeal again next year. It does our community a massive service. Give it a break and let it stick around.

Simon Presljak, Reservoir

Back to the future with VFL

The AFL schedule is becoming more and more difficult to manage. This problem is easily solved. Start the season again, with 10 Victorian teams. Forget the other states. Nine rounds through July and August, and the finals in September. It could be called the VFL.

Margaret Smith, Point Lonsdale

Take a leaf from the US

This season let us adopt the American Football conference system. Victorian clubs play each other and the interstate clubs play each other, including semis. The winner of each conference plays for the flag. Problem solved.

Brad Vann, Richmond

Detail in the fine print

Great news. A guaranteed 15per cent electricity price reduction from July 1 has been announced on the energy.vic.au website. Beware the fine print. The single rate minimum Feed in Tariff (domestic solar power) has reduced from 12to 10.2 cents/kilowatt hour “largely due to the forecast reduction in wholesale electricity prices for the (new) financial year”. It is lucky forecast budgets are so reliable in Australia and who cares about global warming?

Walter Green, Hawthorn

Deterring wrongdoers

AMP chief executive Francesco De Ferrari may be right about litigation funding in Australia (The Age, 1/7). The system may require changes. However, the functions of compensation law are not limited to compensating those who have suffered loss owing to the wrongdoing of others.

Another equally important function is to provide an incentive for potential wrongdoers not to harm others in the first place. The threat of litigation may encourage one to obey the law. In the past, many business leaders did not feel sufficiently threatened by the law to behave properly. If AMP had not behaved so egregiously, it would have little cause to fear compensation litigation.

Alister McKenzie, Lake Wendouree

Premiers had their chance

We have had 11 premiers in Victoria since Melbourne Airport opened 50 years ago. Now three former premiers – Jeff Kennett, Ted Baillieu and Steve Bracks – are calling for a rail link to the airport (The Age, 1/7). Why didn’t any of them build it when they were in power?

James Lane, Hampton East

The ‘bulletin’ will live on

When the 7.45am news bulletin on the ABC goes, we should keep the music theme and make it Australia’s national anthem.

Bob Greaves, Mount Eliza

AND ANOTHER THING

Defence

Our great and powerful friend, the US, continues to defend us by selling us missiles, planes and …

Tony Haydon, Springvale

Did the PM’s buddy tell him about Russia’s alleged bounty on coalition troops in Afghanistan?

Robyn Lovell, Epping

An $84 million cut to the ABC’s budget, yet $270 billion for defence. What the …?

Dermot Mcintosh, Bacchus Marsh

There’s always money for war toys.

Gloria Meltzer, Chewton

How “good” will these incredibly expensive subs be fighting our number one enemy, cybercrime?

Rod Oaten, North Carlton

Coronavirus

Berejiklian has banned Victorians from virus hotspots. Is she the same premier who allowed the Ruby Princess to dock in Sydney?

Helen Buckley, Richmond

How long does our PM think his elbows are?

Jan Lacey, North Melbourne

You can be fined if you refuse a breathalyser test. Why doesn’t the same apply to COVID-19 testing?

Ian Anderson, Surrey Hills

While I endorse the lockdown, would someone tell me where the Queensland/Victoria border is?

Nick Deacon, Boorool

Mandate masks and temperatures checks everywhere.

Jane Spier, Seaford

If Dan’s popularity is down because cases are up, he should “slow down the testing”.

Rod Glover, Highton

Furthermore

I can’t see Kennett kicking any goals soon (29/6). His feet would need to be extracted from his mouth.

Ken Richards, Elwood

This year, let’s forget about a premiership. Instead Victorian teams should play local friendlies.

Graeme Lee, Fitzroy

Problems solved, Gill. Bring back the VFL and let’s see you smile (and even laugh) again.

Joy Middleton, Larpent

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