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Public servants’ pay rise cannot be justified

What world do these people live in? With a flattened economy, they are lucky to have jobs, yet they want to slug the taxpayer for more money and even cushier conditions. The disconnect and gulf between small/medium business and the public sector’s pay and conditions is too wide already. Even COVID-19 cannot seem to rein in the insatiable self-indulgence of this sector. Clearly we are not all in this together.
Richard Trautmann, Blackburn South

How have they worked harder than anyone else?

The pay rise granted to Victoria’s public servants (and recently to the state’s politicians) shows how out of touch they are. Here we are in the middle of the greatest economic catastrophe for 100 years with tens of thousands of the private sector either out of work or having had to take severe pay cuts. The impact on the economy will take at least a decade to correct but our ‘‘leaders’’ are self-serving, rather than public serving.

These pay increases of at least 2per cent, which are in excess of inflation, are unconscionable in this current climate. Tim Pallas said, ‘‘Our dedicated public servants are working around the clock to protect Victorians from the coronavirus crisis – they have never worked so hard, and never have they been so critical’’. Great political spin, Treasurer. It is time for the ever increasing numbers of public servants to appreciate that unless they are producing greater economies than they are costing, their jobs are not viable.
Phil Dunstan, Mount Waverley

In a time of crisis, pay rise should be rejected

Surely during these most difficult times when thousands of people have lost their jobs, any negotiations about pay rises should be put on hold. Your article indicates that senior public servants have already accepted their pay rise. Shame on them. They should have rejected it. We need to work as a whole unit to manage the economic and social fallout of the pandemic.
Jill Moss, Malvern East

Cancel the tax cuts and spend it on the needy

The economic slump has intensified a Liberal push to bring forward $143billion in personal tax cuts (The Age, 23/7). Are you kidding? Those of us who are lucky enough to be working do not need a tax cut. The government should instead use the $143billion to keep JobSeeker at $1100 a fortnight. And while it is at it, it should also raise all other pensions to $1100 a fortnight. The elderly and the disabled deserve to have warmth and fresh vegies too.
Lee Guion, Portarlington

Why should the wealthy gain lucrative tax cuts?

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Prime Minister said this was not the time for ideology. Despite this, and faced with the largest deficit in 70 years, Liberal backbenchers are supporting a tax cut of about $230 per week for those on salaries of $200,000. This is only a little less than the total rate of NewStart before the pandemic. They are also urging the Prime Minister to cancel an increase in the super guarantee levy to 12 per cent to ease employer costs.

Sadly, most of these people will have left public life on a healthy pension when our grandchildren are faced with massive tax increases to fund the deficits, and support those who have inadequate superannuation.
Barrie O’Shea, Surrey Hills

What we could have done with those many billions

Wouldn’t the many billions of dollars not received because of franking credits and negative gearing (The Age, 18/7) be helpful at the moment?
Megan Walton, Beaumaris


Your story about the Melbourne woman who visited East Gippsland while awaiting the results of her COVID-19 test, which later proved to be positive (The Age, 22/7), is one of the reasons Victoria’s infection rate has skyrocketed.

It now transpires some 3000 Victorians are continuing to mingle in the community before receiving their test results (The Age, 23/7). The utter selfishness and stupidity of these individuals is beyond comprehension. Added to this, how many people who are required to self-isolate for two weeks actually do so?

It is painfully obvious that a substantial number of Victorians do not use their common sense, nor can they be trusted to ‘‘do the right thing’’. Where do we go from here?
Monica Clarke, Port Melbourne

Speed up the results

The advice is that if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you should get tested. One of the biggest problems is the delay in getting your results. I called my closest testing centre yesterday and was told the results were currently taking seven days.

Few people would self-isolate for a week for something that might only be a cold. Or they might think, ‘‘I will know before then if it’s COVID-19 because I will be very ill.’’ Meanwhile, the person waiting for results has been out in public, possibly infecting others. I agree that masks are important but faster test results are even more important.
Jacqueline Kenna, Kew

Too many selfish people

Maybe the thousands who skip isolation should also consider the after-effects of the virus – ‘‘Headaches and fatigue in virus survivors (The Age, 23/6). That would be a wake-up call. As an elderly person, I have largely stayed at home since March. It is extremely disappointing to think of those who not only do not care about their own health, but also do not care about the health of others: words like thoughtless, careless and selfish come to mind. How to shock them into reality
Geoff Crowhurst, Thornbury

Where the blame lies

The state government contracted out security at the quarantine hotels to private companies, which in turn contracted much of the work to other companies. These employed inexperienced workers on low pay and on a casual basis. They were not properly trained for quarantine work. The government is to blame for contracting the work out and then failing to ensure that the contractors did their job properly. Outsourcing is claimed to save money but often fails to do so and sometimes produces disastrous results, as in this case.
Chris Slee, Coburg

What are they thinking?

So there is anger at the state government for the quarantine hotel issue. I will level my immense fury at the selfish, inconsiderate people who flout the rules. Sure, the guards were responsible, but worse are those who are ordered to isolate and continue to move around the community, infecting others. For example, the woman who went to East Gippsland, causing infections and businesses having to close. Unbelievable.
Barry Buskens, Beaumaris

Learning from Singapore

The Singapore experience with its guest workers crowded into dormitory living showed us months ago that the way an advanced economy supports its least privileged workers can determine its success or failure in dealing with the coronavirus.
Sue Currie, Northcote

True sense of quarantine

What on earth are people with a highly infectious disease doing quarantined in ordinary hotels in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities in Australia? Our ancestors kept infection out of the country for 150 years by quarantining everyone and (literally) their dogs in a quarantine station in Portsea, completely closed off to outsiders.
Now it is a ‘‘you beaut’’ tourist attraction and recreation centre. If we do recover from this, we must learn from history. Reopen the station, or bus the arrivals immediately to the Little Desert or fly them to Christmas Island. Anything else is far too dangerous.
Joe Flood, South Yarra

The temptation to shop

Leaving open non-essential shops implies that people are invited to shop in them. For the shopkeepers, it is short-term gain. For the community, it is long-term pain.
Mary Klein, Caulfield South

Mask up, all runners

I know this is all uncharted waters but from day one the inconsistencies of both rules and recommendations in relation to the coronavirus has been extraordinary.
Now we are told that runners can exhale particles from deep within their lungs to a distance of up to six meters but, lo and behold, they are not required to wear a mask whilst running. So I am out walking and a jogger passes within a metre of me, his breathing sounding like he is drowning, yet he does not have to wear a mask? Seriously? Never mind, he has to wear a mask when he has finished (and he is breathing like a normal human being). No wonder we are in this mess once again.Neale Meagher, Malvern

A mask when I cycle

When I am out walking, I spend a lot of time avoiding aggressive runners who hurtle along, spraying their sweat and huffing and puffing hot breath all over whoever walks the path. Recently I stopped in my car at traffic lights and put my window down. A cyclist pulled up next me, turned his head in my direction and spat upon the road. His face was about 30centimetres from my face.

Can someone (Daniel Andrews?) please explain why runners and cyclists are exempt from wearing masks? I am a cyclist myself and I intend to wear a mask when I ride. I am not a runner, but maybe runners could walk briskly until we get this nightmare under control.
Mary Learmonth, Northcote

Courtesy when we run

As a jogger (very slow), I would find it very difficult to exercise wearing a face mask and I appreciate the government’s decision to exclude this requirement. However, I appreciate my passage making others feel uncomfortable.

Whilst it may be scientifically of limited value, could I suggest that all runners hold their hand to their mouth and turn away when passing others. This would have the duel benefit of, hopefully, reducing the risk of infections and give the positive message that the runner is aware of the situation.
Malcolm Goldsworthy, Mount Martha

A compromise solution

At first glance, joggers not being required to wear a face mask while walkers must wear one appears to be an inconsistency. Breathing is difficult when you are breathing heavily.

Hence the advice for joggers not to wear face masks. If they were asked to run around sports ovals and walkers to use streets, lanes and bicycle paths, much of the problem would disappear.
John Andrew, Fitzroy

How many wears is safe?

Please can we have some guidance about what to do with masks once we have worn them. One situation which needs clarification is this: if we wear a cloth reusable mask for half an hour while shopping, do we need to wash it before wearing it again? Or can we use it, unwashed, when going for a walk later in the day?
Brenda Callaway, Mornington

Lessons to prevent the flu

The only good thing to come out of this pandemic should be a reduction of transference during this and future years of the influenza season, now that we have learnt to social distance and use hand sanitiser.
Winston Anderson, Mornington

Prodding the Panda

War games with the US Pacific fleet in the South China Sea will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will give the Beijing government some great propaganda images to show how an American-led force is gearing up for an invasion.

Secondly, it will give the Chinese navy a good look at what it is up against should, heaven forbid, a military conflict erupt one day. Of course, prodding the Panda will have the US military machine puffing out its chest in an election year, and maybe that is what this exercise is really about.
John Mosig, Kew

Understanding Millennials

Before supposing that Millennials lack resilience or were subjected to bad parenting (The Age, 23/7), Ita Buttrose might like to consider what life would be like if she were a young journalist today.

Her degree, at a minimum cost of $14,000 a year, would lead her into a world of ever-diminishing print media and a very small pool of under-resourced, insecure options elsewhere. Perhaps in that context, she too would be seeking reassurance from the person who decides whether or not to renew her contract and therefore sustains her livelihood (during a global pandemic, recession and climate crisis no less).

No news is definitely not good news in 2020 and beyond, and Buttrose’s staff at the ABC – Millennials or otherwise – probably need a fair bit more than hugs.
Catherine Reidy, Carlton

Put environment first

Sussan Ley ‘‘considered the expected social and economic benefits of the Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine to the local community outweighed the impacts of the mine … as a result of the likely destruction of parts of their Indigenous cultural heritage’’ (The Age, 23/7). As the scale of fires, floods and drought intensifies, the distorted priorities of our environment minister are putting us all in peril.
Don Stokes, Heidelberg

Oh no, even worse than DA

David Astle’s cryptic crosswords every Friday are both devious and cunning. But NS’s quick crossword (The Age, 23/7) took deviousness to a new level. We had to fill in the last three answers without any clues being provided. Was I suddenly doing a morphed Sudoku? (I did have some of the letters from the ‘across’ answers.) Too cunning by far. I do not think this latest idea will catch on.
Karin Strahan, Greensborough

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding



To those who are outraged at having to pay for a mask, cut up an old tea towel, pillowcase, shirt etc and tie it around your face.
Catherine Miller, Chewton

When will we have masks in footy team colours?
Greg Lee, Red Hill

Beware, the ‘‘Mandatory masks take away my freedom’’ tribe are coming to your shopping strip.
James Moseley, Frankston

Do those who refuse to wear a mask prefer to wear a respirator?
Jill Bryant, Malvern East

Am I ever gonna see your face again?
Paul Custance, Highett

Avoid shopping centres. Like, the plague.
David Brabet, North Carlton

Those who don’t want masks will be first in the queue when the vaccine is available.
Peter Caffin, North Ringwood

We seem to have another pandemic running parallel to COVID-19: stupidity.
Allan Carbis, Lalor

Mask-less, puffing joggers have replaced kamikaze cyclists as walkers’ worst nightmare.
John Wilson, South Yarra

We need a funky ad campaign to promote the use of masks as fashion items, as well as PPEs.
Cath Dyson, Mount Eliza

Caught walking without a mask? Simply start jogging. Problem solved.
John Tilbrook, Ashwood

Poor handling of security, pathetic enforcement of border controls and compulsory masks. Too little, too late.
Lesley Black, Frankston

The state government should consider cancelling the grand final and Melbourne Cup Day public holidays. We can’t afford them.
Wayne Emmins, California Gully

The false note can be heard loud and clear throughout Trump’s return to scripted briefings.
Ann Peers, Glen Iris

‘‘Thousands skip isolation as virus surge gains pace’’ (23/7). We have met the enemy and they’re us.
Rex Condon, Ashwood

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