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After all this, may better policies be enacted

Knock them down, start again

It is touted as the best action to contain the further spread of COVID-19 in Victoria, but surely locking up thousands of Melbourne residents in the commission towers is cruel, inhumane and risks other heath issues arising for these residents, such as depression and mental health issues.

If the Victorian government is serious about boosting its economy after COVID-19 and genuinely helping these poor wretches in the towers then it should make it a top priority to build new accommodation for these people, close to where they are now and implode the depressing, soulless towers that are reminiscent of the Eastern Bloc towers in Europe and around London.

In 2020 we can and should do better in accommodating our less than well-off residents in homes that are not cold, soulless prisons. Give them balconies, more open space and a decent lifestyle. I am sure that Daniel Andrews would not be prepared to live in such accommodation.
Errol Grace, Niagara Park, NSW

Black is not the colour

It is no wonder that people in the housing commission towers are nervous about the police presence. Who on earth suggested that black shirts would engender trust more so than pale blue ones? Armed men and women clad top to toe in black do not inspire trust, confidence or friendship, despite the bright cheery yellow of their high-vis vests.

When I was growing up I was taught that the policeman was my friend and was to be trusted above all other strangers. It was so then, but not now. Such a shame!
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton

There may have been unintended consequences

Mina Viola (Comment, 6/7) raises important questions regarding the hard lockdown of nine public housing towers. While the government is trying hard to stop spreading the COVID-19 to unmanageable levels with a hard lockdown, the residents in the towers are being left feeling anxious.

The fact that the “residents were not given the opportunity to stock their pantries and fridges” seems thoughtless and cruel, unless we consider the panic buying episodes immediately after the first wave of coronavirus infections and now.

If the residents were given a window to stock up their pantries and fridges and medicine cupboards, it is fair to assume that they would have rushed out to do their shopping.

They would not have observed social distancing measures. Everyone would have been in a rush to go to the shops. They would have shared lifts, most probably overcrowding them, touching buttons and hand rails, and talking with each other creating an environment which has the potential to infect many residents and their families. The police are there to help protect the residents and the wider community from a nasty disease.
Swarna Pinto, Lalor

THE FORUM

A Royal gesture

It’s so refreshing to hear the soon-to-not-be-royal-anymore Sussexes express the feeling that equality puts us all “on the same footing – a fundamental human right’’ (7/7).
It’ll be great to see them campaign to “equalise” the royal family’s massive wealth which can be attributed to a combination of the spoils of war, colonialist theft , the slave trade and generally scrounging off the British public for centuries.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne

Music for the people

Just a thought. Could we acknowledge the difficulties faced by those locked up in public housing and show our gratitude by holding and televising a concert in their car park?
Rob Youl, South Melbourne

Bipartisan please

Is it just me, or did we seem to have better government when all parties were acting in a bipartisan way?

Being in government does not mean you get your own way every time, just as being in opposition does not mean you have to oppose everything.

When issues were broken down into agreed parts, we seemed to get a swifter, fairer response.
Politicians are elected to further this country. It was good when they just looked at that option, rather than fighting like a rabble.

If a law, stand, or response is good for the country and its peoples, it should be supported. If not, it should be opposed.

Can we get back to a bipartisan approach, please?
Peter Rebbechi, Ferntree Gully

Some perspective

I have great empathy and admiration for the Australian service people who leave these shores for months at a time in the course of their duties. I struggle however to share the same feelings for well-paid, high-profile sportspeople who are being asked to play their games in other states for a few weeks.
Stephen Dinham, Metung

Swings, roundabouts

I just hope that people from the other states in Australia braying about Victoria’s problems with COVID-19 and locking up their borders don’t have any further outbreaks.

Or we in Victoria may ban them from entering the state for the Victorian World Open Tennis round, the Victorian World Grand Prix round, the Victorian AFL grand final, the Victorian World Bells Beach Surf round, the Victorian World Super Bike round, the Victorian World 500cc Bike round, the Victorian Australian Comedy Festival, and don’t let me forget the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival – it does include the Melbourne Cup.
Shane Gunn, Heathcote Junction

Damned decisions

Premier Daniel Andrews is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
If he were to do nothing about the thousands of people in the public housing blocks and it was found some time later that many residents were infected and indeed some had died, he would be held up to ridicule. He is acting in our interests, thank goodness.
Graeme Lee, Fitzroy

Not productive

Providing employment to Victorians was an understandable outcome for quarantine security. Unfortunately like many politicians of both persuasions, they trust employers and pay them handsomely to be ethical with their employees and the community at large.

It is counterproductive (Noel Towell, Analysis, 7/7) to create negativity in a community facing a crisis that is being handled and approved by state and federal health authorities.
Margaret Raffle, Keilor East

Moral dilemma

Peter Hartcher (Comment, 7/7) while acknowledging the “human capital” benefits of importing highly skilled entrepreneurs, points to a potential moral dilemma if relatively well-off Hong Kong emigres were permitted to settle in Australia.

Such a decision would indeed make a mockery of, for example, the circumstances of economically deprived Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing regimes where ‘‘forced disappearances’’ and torture were the norm, only to be consistently rejected by Australian immigration authorities.

A ‘‘genuine fear of persecution’’ has, sadly, not been honoured enough as a criterion for entry to this nation when it comes to the desperate and struggling people from developing nations or territories.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

Flow-on effect

A case is being made for broadening and extending the GST on “tax efficiency” grounds (7/7).

We should also consider another major benefit that would ensue – benefit to the environment. An increase in the GST will mitigate ‘‘over-consumption’’, a phenomenon that unnecessarily draws down on non-renewable resources and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Reduced consumption will, of course, have a negative impact on GDP but the capacity of governments to spend will be expanded upon to an equivalent amount. We trust that governments will spend the money in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Roger Gibbins, Ivanhoe

Stop blame game

Najat Mussa’s report of life in the public housing estate (7/7) should be listened to, her recommendations heeded, and acted upon by the government.

It’s about time both parties stopped playing the blame game, and while they’re at it, if the leaders of those parties stopped referring to themselves as “I” instead of “we”, and “my government” instead of “our government”, it would help focus on the job at hand.
Rosemary Taylor, Castlemaine

This isn’t Florida

Unsettling as the current surge in COVID cases is in Victoria, can we maintain some perspective. As reported in this paper, Victoria recorded 127 new cases on Sunday – Florida reported in excess of 10,000 new cases on the same day.
Brian Kidd, Mt Waverley

More alms for the poor

Maybe Australian society would benefit from providing better, more spacious, housing for public housing tenants. Then we could move to better support the poor more broadly. We might find it helps us all.
Bruce Wright, Latham, ACT

One course for all

At the same time nine high-rise public housing towers are subject to a police lockdown, the Victorian Racing Club is lobbying the government to relax social distancing rules for the spring carnival. Are we still all in this together?
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Soul music

It was poignant to read of the death of composer Ennio Morricone. His body of work is simply staggering and it is a testimony to his creative genius that he was able to bring something fresh and memorable to whatever his gifted hands laid rest upon.

Whether it was the opening primal trills of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or the sublime tonal beauty of The Mission, he always struck me as that kind of artist whose fame was modestly muted but whose work was immediately recognisable.

For better or worse, two of the most overwhelming ’80s film experiences for me – The Untouchables and The Thing – were in no small way due to Morricone’s orchestrations giving heightened emotion to what was already visually so formidable.

Soundtracks have a habit of either serving as forgettable background filler, or making celluloid a visceral experience that almost etches itself onto the human soul. Morricone’s music was truly embedded into the latter category.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn

Tax is good

It’s tempting and human to look for scapegoats. It’s easy to blame government, security companies and even easier to blame security guards but the real responsibility lies with us all who over the past 40years have accepted Reaganomics and the belief “public sector bad, private sector good”, that tax is unnecessary as everything should be left to the market and private companies.

Privatisation allowed the rich and powerful to transfer wealth from the many to the few but it was only possible because we all bought into the idea that we could have services without paying for them and it was our duty to avoid tax.

We ignore lessons like the London Olympics where a similar debacle by security company G4S was rescued only at the 11th hour by the British Army. Despite this our track and trace system is outsourced as is much of the testing and this has led to Leicester going back into lockdown.

Only when we all, not just multinationals, accept that tax is not evil, tax is how we contribute to something bigger, better than ourselves, will we improve life for the vast majority of us.
John Simpson,
Ross on Wye, UK

The right education

The newspaper makes for unsettling reading. We live in an age where my belief trumps (sorry!) your knowledge; where my feelings are as valid as your science.

We live in an age where Pauline Hanson’s prejudices about Housing Commission residents are accorded a greater right to be heard than the experience of those who inhabit commission housing.

I blame the teachers, and I am one.

What is education, if it doesn’t lead to inquiry and the testing of conviction against evidence? What is it, if it doesn’t lead to valuing information over mere opinion? The answer is that we end up in a community that accords prejudice the same value as principle.
David Baxter, Mornington

The harm of one man

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Credit:

Trump’s claim that 99 per cent of coronavirus cases are “harmless” is doubtful (there is no scientific evidence to support it). But there is no doubting that there is one man who is very harmful for America. It’s President Donald Trump.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW

AND ANOTHER THING

COVID-19

NSW – now a bridge too far.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda

Perhaps we’d better ask Donald Trump over to show us how to build a wall.
John Cain, McCrae

When all is said and done, the lockdown of these towers has highlighted the inappropriateness of this type of public housing.
Anne Carroll, Brighton East

Pauline Hanson has surely stepped over the hypocrisy line with her “can’t speak English fluently” line about housing commission residents. Glasshouses come to mind …
Billy Miller, Yarraville

Quarantine overseas arrivals on Christmas Island. I hear it’s a first-rate facility.
Peter Cogger, Viewbank

It seems we crave strong leadership – unless it personally inconveniences us.
Dale Crisp, Brighton

Trump

It’s absurdly consistent for Donald Trump to protect statues of slave traders while metaphorically pulling down the Status of Liberty.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

As Trump shows no signs of intelligence, it’s surprising any intelligence briefs were submitted to him.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills

Elsewhere
The one thing missing from Scott Morrison’s warmongering rhetoric — it wasn’t announced in a hot-air balloon.
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne

So all we have to do is wait for Henny Penny to tell us that the sky is falling and we’ll do something about climate change. Am I missing something?
Gerry Danckert, Torquay

Finally

Once upon a celestial heaven, the joy and pathos of your musical genius accompanied us through the turbulences of life. RIP Ennio Morricone.
Alex Njoo, St Kilda

To submit a letter to The Age, email letters@theage.com.au. Please include your home address and telephone number.

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