Hilary Vaughan, Williamstown
Suffering the high cost of privatised services
So the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria was not caused by “ethnic groups with large families” or Black Lives Matter marchers but mainly by private security companies mismanaging quarantine, alongside a higher level of international flights coming into Melbourne. This contrasts with New South Wales, where the security was more effectively provided by the government in the form of the police and the defence force.
I hope the state government learns the lesson that privatised and deregulated services are less effective and more expensive for the community in the long run. But it was surprising to have this corroborated from an unlikely source when the Opposition Leader, Michael O’Brien, affirmed that Victoria’s use of “poorly-trained, lowly-paid private security companies” to staff hotels contributed to the “disaster”.
Miriam Faine, Hawthorn
Victorian taxpayers didn’t get what they paid for
No, Daniel Andrews, it was not a failure of the hotel quarantine contractor to prevent spread of the virus into the community. Your government placed the contract – buyer beware. It was a failure of your government to ensure what was being delivered was what was ordered and being paid for by the taxpayer. The worry is how many other contracts are not being monitored properly?
Tony Walsh, Preston
Both major parties have embraced privatisation
Over the past 40 or so years, federal and state governments of all persuasion have enthusiastically moved to privatise as many operations as possible. So gas, electricity, water and telecommunications have gone private with cost and service detriments rather than benefits. Private TAFE providers were financially and operationally encouraged and this resulted in a plethora of corrupt practices and student failures. And now we see the result of private security firms running COVID-19 restrictions in hotels implementing quarantine.
Jack Foks, South Melbourne
Maximising profits with minimum standards
How ironic. The Liberal government in New South Wales uses the army, while the Labor government in Victoria uses a private firm to supervise the hotel quarantine in their respective states.
Unfortunately the private firms were not up to the task or they just cut corners to make a profit. Private enterprise always tries to maximise profits by meeting the minimum standard required. In the case of COVID-19 or any pandemic, the most rigorous standards need to be met at all times. The army’s trained medical staff have proved they can do it.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North
Aim for eradication
The assertion by acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly, that pursuit of eradication of COVID-19 is a “fool’s errand”, leaves me stunned. The decision to pursue suppression was made very early in the pandemic, while our knowledge of the virus was in its infancy. We have learned so much, not least of which that eradication appears to have been achieved in several states and territories.
This warrants an expert panel of epidemiologists to review our national approach. I await the Victorian judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine infection control breaches with interest. However, the fact Australia is an island is so powerful, if we can get the quarantine program for travellers right (and city hotels are not the answer), eradication and the economic and social snapback we all crave may be achievable.
A vaccine may or may not come. Perpetual social distancing, cleaning touch points and being afraid one’s child has COVID-19 on their lunch box or their school “pick-up hug” is laden with it is not the life we want. I urge the government to revisit the strategy, for epidemiologists who agree with me to speak up, and ask Australians what they are willing to do to achieve eradication.
Dr Anita White, Kew
Why are returned travellers quarantined in city hotels? Why not use the two large hotels at Melbourne Airport, which would eliminate the bus trips to the CBD and minimise the risk for businesses and residents within the 3000 postcode?
How did these so-called security guards earn their employment? Why not use the out-of-work flight attendants who have first aid training and people skills? Also, if a person tests positive on day 12 of hotel quarantine, are they still shown the exit door on day 14 with “a promise to self isolate”?
The Victorian government and Health Department need to stop pandering to the self-entitled behaviour of a minority who are causing major emotional, lifestyle, economic and business havoc for many – including people in rural areas.Toughen up, Mr Andrews.
Steve Lamborn, Warrnambool
We’re in this together
Grow up, Australians, and behave like reasonable, thinking adults. Be thankful that our leaders are taking advice from the medical and science experts to protect our community. Lockdown and isolation is necessary at this point. We all need to stay safe as this virus does not discriminate.
Anna Munari, Ascot Vale
An underhanded approach
Shame on the AFL for advising Victorian players to move out of their homes and out of their hotspot suburbs prior to the lockdown or be barred from playing in New South Wales (Sport, 2/6). This is somewhat reminiscent of the expression “rats on a sinking ship”. What message does this send to other hotspot citizens? It is not a good lead from a high-profile institution.
Stuart Hercules, Altona
Set the Niddrie people free
Can the government please explain why Niddrie (postcode 3042) has been placed in lockdown again? It comes under the Moonee Valley Council and only part of that council’s area has been put under lockdown – with no explanation as to why. Pandemics do not subvert democracy, do they? You cannot just fulminate like a frustrated school teacher and not explain yourself. Moonee Valley Council has 28 active cases out of a population of 130,000 people. How does that qualify as a hotspot? And with that bureaucratic throw at the dartboard, people’s lives are disrupted and damaged, possibly irreparably.
John Henry, Niddrie
Contented in Brunswick
So here I am, locked up again. But things could be worse. In this sweet neighbourhood we have shops of all kinds, food aplenty and interesting people from all corners of the earth. Our past is apparent, our future uncertain, but each day is filled with opportunities: to walk and ride around, even drive or tram within whatever limits, to chat with our fellow travellers, mow that damned lawn, Google, even write what is in our hearts. My phone still works and my far-flung friends and family may safely communicate. We will survive, keep hope alive. A community united can never be defeated.
Ken Taylor, Brunswick West
The right to support
Many people who are on temporary visas and have made a home here, contributed to Melbourne’s famous food and arts scene and paid tax, are among those who are without any support – “1.4m people relying on food charity as recession bites” (The Age, 2/7). The government needs to extend income support to temporary migrants. They should not be discriminated against because of the visa they hold.
Tiana Kollas, Brunswick East
Please, just build the link
I am sick and tired of hearing about a rail link from Melbourne Airport (The Age, 1/7). This has been going on since I was a kid – and both the Liberals and Labor are guilty of making promises that they have, for whatever reason, not fulfilled. As the late Hawthorn coach John Kennedy said: “Don’t think, do”.
John de Kever, Kew
Surely the better solution
Having a train direct to the airport from the city is a waste of time and money. Extending an existing line and timetabling express trains to and from the airport would surely be a more economical (both time and financial) solution. It works in other states and would make Melbourne a more accessible city.
Robin Starr, Caulfield South
All the best, Jelena
Once again the comments of Jelena Dokic – “I resent him for torment” (Sport, 1/7) – show how easy it is for perpetrators of domestic abuse to get away with it.
Jelena was not only being roughed up by her brute of a father, Damir, she was also roughed up by the sports media. At the time, I saw her as a young girl who demonstrated extraordinary grace and courage under great pressure. The media tended to present Damir and Jelena as unpleasantly eccentric. She demonstrates the same grace and courage today and I wish her all the best in a new life that she has truly earned.
Carmel Boyle, Wendouree
Target the tax dodgers
As ordinary Aussies wonder and worry about their financial future, MPs and economists are tentatively floating the idea of an increase in the GST (The Age, 2/7). This is a very dangerous idea. Once again, the disposable income of ordinary consumers would be drastically reduced. And companies would be indifferent and unaffected. They do not pay GST. And at the moment, many are not hiring staff. And even if they are, an increase in the GST would have severely negative consequences.
There are 40 large companies that deliberately skew their accounts to pay little or no company tax. There are companies based in tax havens. There are companies making billions from selling the eyes and data of Aussies – and pretending they owe no tax in Australia. Message to MPs: stop bullying individuals and take on the real tax dodgers.
Verity Webb, Yarraville
How about a carbon tax?
I agree with Jessica Irvine – “Why we should stop worrying and learn to love the GST” (Comment, 2/7) – but rather than raising the GST by 5per cent, we should take the same amount of revenue with a carbon tax. Instead of consumption of GST-exempt goods and services creeping up over time, we would have consumption of low-carbon goods and services creeping up. Apart from that one difference, all of Ms Irvine’s arguments apply equally.
Ian Atkinson, Kew
Anything for a good ‘mate’
I wonder if Scott Morrison’s $270billion defence procurement is not a defence procurement at all – but rather a ready made, and soon to be forgotten, announcement for Donald Trump’s campaign trail. Perhaps in their recent phone call, Trump asked Morrison to “do us a favour”. Or maybe I am just being cynical.
Matt McRobbie, Mont Albert
Opting for peace, not war
The Prime Minister’s announcement about defence spending, and war talk, continues Australia’s rich tradition of unnecessary military involvement – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and soon to be, China. Given that our next war, like the others, will probably end in ignominious withdrawal and a negotiated peace, why don’t we just skip the death and destruction part and begin peaceful negotiations with China immediately?
Peter Martina, Warrnambool
China’s dangerous goals
William Puls (Letters, 2/7), says “a wise course for Australia would be to work with China to accommodate what it sees as its legitimate goals”. I respectfully remind him of of some of these “legitimate goals”. The annexation of Taiwan, the subjugation of Hong Kong, the virtual annexation of the South China Sea, the sterilisation of Uighur women, cyber hacking of Australian assets and the ethnic cleansing of Tibet. And not to forget that any criticism, no matter how polite, of President Xi Jinping is a very serious crime.
John Orkin, Mount Waverley
Let players kick the ball
The AFL’s game scheduling woes would be over if states with border closures observed their obligation under Section 92 of the Constitution or if the High Court, through litigants, were to find a means to enforce it. Section 92 states that trade, commerce and intercourse among the states …shall be absolutely free. Football engages all three of the above.
Andrew Farran, Edenhope
Original, then common
Marcus Phillips (Letters, 30/6) might remember the Hawks’ 2008 premiership season. Alastair Clarkson devised a plan to combat the quick play on and long kicking, corridor style of Geelong in 2007. It worked and every team has defended that way since. Like a lot of innovative ideas. they work well until everyone uses that same idea.
Murray Horne, Cressy
AND ANOTHER THING
Why are some suburbs with no cases in lockdown while others are open?
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale
It turns out we’re not all in this together.
Juliet Drew Glen Iris
Sydney used to quip Melbourne was “all go and no show”. Now it’s “don’t go, don’t show”.
Annette Bando, St Kilda East
Security guards: protecting our borders from coronavirus means not standing shoulder to shoulder.
Anne Rutland, Brunswick West
Gun controls, virus controls (Letters, 2/7). Both designed to avoid premature death.
Mary Mack, Box Hill
If a Victorian from a hotspot suburb strayed into NSW, where would he be incarcerated?
Swarna Pinto, Lalor
I’m guessing Tim Smith won’t be inconvenienced by the hotspot suburbs in lockdown. Not many posh golf clubs up that way.
Mike Smith, Croydon
We have more money than we know what to do with, except when it comes to helping those who need it most.
Barry O’Neill, Menzies Creek
Disgusted at the government spending billions on useless defence. Warmongers in suits.
Tricia Wenlock, Tarneit
If the ABC were a ballistic missile, it would receive all the funding it wanted.
Doug Springall, Yarragon
Spending that props up a failing US economy demonstrates lack of creativity and innovation. Our PM should enrol in humanities.
Gerardine Christou, Ballarat
Vale, Hong Kong.
Jeannie Howard, Ballarat
If the government won’t support the ABC, why don’t we take up the slack by gift or subscription?
Marie Ormonde, Northcote
An easy solution to Alistair Clarkson’s ugly football. Play the team in positions named, as in pre-2005.
Kevin Slattery, Hawthorn