The Coroner’s Court of Victoria heard that for three hours at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, she cried for help but that prison and nursing staff never checked her physically, only speaking with her through the flap in the prison door and an intercom system. She was in ‘‘excruciating pain’’ and made nine attempts for help.
I wonder, yet sadly doubt, if much of a fuss will be made. After all, it’s ‘‘just another death in custody’’. And that goes to show how low we have sunk as a society. We have, historically, turned a deaf ear to the plight of our Aboriginal fellow citizens. There was a royal commission in 1987 and umpteen dozens of inquests since, yet more than 400 deaths in custody have occurred since 1991. Would the white population of Australia tolerate that if the shoe were on the other foot?
Allan Havelock, Surrey Hills
A shoplifting suspicion? So why prison?
Why on earth was Veronica Nelson in a cell in a maximum security prison for women on a suspected shoplifting charge? Why were her cries for help ignored? A full judicial inquiry must take place. Black lives matter.
Chris Murphy, Hurstbridge
More police on the beat means safer local roads
It is very reassuring that Victoria’s new police chief commissioner, Shane Patton, is stepping up local district patrols (The Age, 16/7). A very disappointing feature of police surveillance since COVID-19 entered our lives has been the disappearance of officers on the main streets and roads in our suburbs. Quite apart from the continuing serious health threat of the deadly coronavirus, just crossing our roads adds another deadly threat. Speeding drivers and motorcyclists take to otherwise empty streets at high speeds, revving their engines, ignoring speed limits, pedestrian crossings and traffic lights.
Yes, our police force is seriously stretched, being deployed to monitor equally irresponsible community behaviour, a very important issue given the serious and worrying spike in COVID-19 cases. But safety on the roads is paramount.
Please, Chief Commissioner Patton, direct some attention to those who have turned our main streets into racetracks. More lives can be saved. An appeal to my local council with suggestions for action extracted a useless and impractical suggestion that I should get all the residents in our street to sign a petition. If I did that, I would need to wander up and down the street and make close contact with my neighbours. Is that even allowed during a lockdown?
Paul Zimmet, Toorak
Why didn’t officers try alternative methods first?
According to John Silvester, Shane Patton’s new edict is: ‘‘If you have to ram a hostile vehicle then do it. If you need to burst into an out-of-control party and grab the aggressive offenders then do it. If you come across an armed offender then engage. His message is clear. Just get on with it’’.
Shooting dead a person who was attacking a woman on that same day was certainly a spine-chilling example of police engaging with the public. Aren’t police trained in alternative methods of engaging before they use fatal force? And I had thought, only in America.
Patrick Alilovic, Pascoe Vale South
A new trust and confidence in our police force
As small children in the 1950s, many of us listened to a radio program called My Friend the Policeman and learned to trust the wise voice of the force. They were much less sophisticated times – but how wonderful if the return to community policing could lead to this kind of confidence and connection.
Margaret Menting, Surrey Hills
Get tough on cowboys
The wheels of justice certainly turn slowly. Having razed the Corkman Hotel illegally nearly four years ago, the perpetrators still have not complied with the Planning Minister’s wet-lettuce penalty to build a temporary park while they contemplate an alternative profit-making development for the site (The Age, 17/7).
As a vacant development site, the land is now worth double what they paid for it. They should not benefit from their illegal activities. They should be fined and forced to build a permanent park for the initial demolition breach, and compensated by the government for the remainder of their initial investment. Any future developments should be monitored like a hawk. They have form of the most arrogant kind.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick
Thumbing their noses
The Corkman Pub owners could be forgiven for assuming that any ‘‘development’’ on the site would be acceptable – in light of the loss of so many of our inner-Melbourne landmark buildings – for their circumventing of the permit rules, and then for defying court rulings.
John Marks, Werribee
Please, not Cormann
In response to Graeme Lee (Letters, 15/7), it is horrifying to think Mathias Cormann has his eyes on the post of secretary-general of the OECD. As someone who used to work there, I would find it shameful if he were to be selected for such a respectable, intergovernmental organisation.
Diana Richardson, Coburg
The next ‘job’ rhyme
Well, we have had JobSeeker and JobKeeper. Now it is JobTrainer. Perhaps to keep up the rhyming, we could have JobDrainer for all the jobs lost. Maybe JobBrainer will come in handy, too.
Mary Linnestad, Corryong
A fair go for the women
What is the government going to do to make sure women are given at least 50per cent of the JobTrainer opportunities? Most of the images we see are of young men hammering pieces of wood.
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet
Gestures of support
My 84-year-old bother tells me that the Plumbers Union of Victoria, of which he was a member for 50 years, contacted him to see if he was safe and well during the lockdown. They offered to arrange to bring him groceries or other support through their networks.
My son, 28, got a hamper from the RACV where he has lost his casual job as a ‘‘thinking of you’’ gesture during tough times. No doubt both institutions are targeting all their affected employees in this way.
I hope that all unions and employers, where possible, show similar respect, compassion and support for their workers. I salute and thank them both.
Mark Cloney, Eltham
Is it powerful enough?
A pharmacist told me that hand sanitisers containing less than 17per cent alcohol would be useless against coronavirus. I have looked at many brands for sale and none had the alcohol content on the label. Can a qualified person comment, please?
Ken Turnbull, Maldon
Hospital was ‘Jeffed’
Glenise Michaelson, I agree that ‘‘a designated infectious disease hospital is the best way to keep healthcare workers safe and reduce the spread of the virus’’ (Letters, 17/7). Unfortunately, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, which had developed an international reputation for the research and treatment of infectious diseases, was closed by Jeff Kennett in 1996.
Megan Walton, Beaumaris
Protecting the elderly
It is unconscionable that the state Health Department told Werribee’s Glendale Aged Care home that it could not transfer four residents with COVID-19 to hospital (The Age, 17/7). So they get to stay there, posing a risk to other residents and care staff.
Has the department learned nothing from Sydney’s Newmarch Home where many patients died? Is it waiting until numbers increase as in Essendon’s Menarock Aged Care? There is also the issue of equity. Are older people now more disposable?
Jan Marshall, Brighton
We have had our lives
Please, we do not want to hear of another COVID-19 casualty in their frail 80s and 90s who is already compromised in aged care. It only heightens the drama and does not add to the wellbeing of an anxious community. Sad as it may seem, this age group has had their turn. It is unlikely that any of us in this cohort are going to reach 111.
Hearing of the death of a three-year-old, a teenager or someone in their twenties succumbing to COVID-19 would be heartbreaking. The pragmatic amongst us are happy to see the very elderly released from an aged-care existence and send them on their way with love.
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale
A shared responsibility
I am just a wee bit snarky at those who whinge about Dan Andrews and his government’s handling of the pandemic. They are not the ones hiding in cupboards, picnicking in groups, having poker parties or playing Pokemon. Take your share of the community responsibility to control the situation so the rest of us can get back to what we enjoy. I am sure that Pokemon will wait for you.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna
Silence in legal circles
The CBD column may be humorous but it often raises serious issues. The piece about Melbourne lawyer and member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Jason Pennell, (The Age, 16/7) again demonstrates a glaring deficiency in administration of the justice system. Had he been a member of a state judiciary, for example in Victoria or New South Wales, there would almost certainly have been a reference to the Judicial Commission in either of those states. It is said that there was silence within the profession after his plagiarism was revealed. But there is nothing the profession can do. It is precisely the problem highlighted in the Dyson Heydon matter. It can be fixed by Federal Parliament, and it should be.
Ian Dunn,adjunct professor in law, La Trobe University
The unisex code of dress
I got all the way to end of ‘‘Dress well without the fuss’’ (The Age, 16/7) until I realised the advice was for men. I was surprised how much it sounded like the modern day woman’s wardrobe. Or was it just me?
Aylin Dugan, Pascoe Vale
Forget the 2020 season
The AFL needs to face the fact that season 2020 is descending into farce. How can anything in the game that happens this year be compared to seasons past? How can the Brownlow Medal or the grand final or even goal of the year take a spot in the parade of champions that preceded 2020? The answer is there is nothing to compare.
I suggest that a line be drawn under what has transpired, and a round robin Challenge Cup be established, and this take place in a convenient time and place. And that this cup be resurrected should another pandemic emerge.
Susan Scalise, Ascot Vale
One simple question
In 1999, we had a referendum on which kind of republic we would like, without first having one on whether we wanted a republic. In 2016, New Zealand had a referendum on which flag they would prefer without first having one on whether they wanted a new flag. Both inevitably failed.
The Age proposes an Australian republic, linking it somehow to an Indigenous Voice to Parliament (Editorial, 16/7). Taken individually, either of these achievements would be monumental. Tying them together, if that is what The Age is suggesting, guarantees blowing them both up. Referenda almost always fail, especially in the absence of one appropriate, simple question.
William Hennessy, Clifton Hill
The ideal racing guide
In yesterday’s Age, you inadvertently published the puzzle page intended for next Monday, complete with answers to today’s puzzles. Next time you make this mistake, could you please do it with the racing results page.
David Hogg, North Warrandyte
AND ANOTHER THING
Pre-coronavirus, a super spreader was something a farmer used.
Robin Jensen Castlemaine
Move over ‘‘unprecedented’’, you’re being usurped by ‘‘cohorts’’. I hope you enjoyed your moment in the sun.
Ross Cropley North Ringwood
What a great time to launch a new season of The Masked Singer.
Monty Arnhold, Port Melbourne
Elimination, PM, not suppression, as shown to be effective in NZ.
Rosemary Lithgow, Maryborough
More than 60 days since Tasmania recorded a positive case. Time for Victoria to build a virtual moat.
Jackie Dargaville, Foster
I’ve bought a pack of masks. It is ironic that they were made in Wuhan.
Michael Meszaros, Alphington
The Queen is not ‘‘the queen of another country’’ (16/7). She is our Queen. And a damn good one.
Lawrence Pope, Carlton
The media refuses to acknowledge a coup took place for the simple reason that, at the time, they supported it.
Brian Sanaghan, West Preston
Australia ‘‘Sir-vived’’ the work of Martin and John, but democracy was ‘‘u-Sir-ped’’.
Wendy Knight, Little River
I’m more concerned with the involvement of Norman Gunston.
Anthony Petkovic, Belmont
July 19 marks the seventh anniversary of offshore detention. When is ‘‘enough enough’’?
Lucille Forbes, East Brighton
The government’s response to the crisis is skewing us towards a trained, rather than educated, society.
Joan Segrave, Healesville
Top marks to The Age (17/7) for Thursday’s football results. Bottom marks for Saturday’s crossword solutions and no DA.
Ted Palmer, Oakleigh South
A few clues in yesterday’s cryptic crossword were solvable. Odd, I thought, it can’t possibly be a DA. It wasn’t. Gremlins?
Mary Cole, Richmond