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Crossbench must keep the government honest

I, and almost all Victorians, have been prepared to comply with these restrictions for the sake of the common good. But we really have not had any choice, have we? The lack of transparency surrounding the egregious mistakes made by the government in its handling of the pandemic has eroded much of the trust we were prepared to lend the government back in March.

Trust in government is critical in these times. Daniel Andrews sounds so reasonable as he explains to us why the state of emergency must be extended. And we feel empathy for any government having to navigate its way through such a serious and unexpected health challenge. But the extension of power that he is asking for is massive.
The crossbench MPs have an opportunity to keep the government accountable and protect Victorians’ freedoms from an overreach of power. I urge them to place conditions on any approval of an extension of emergency powers – eg, insist on a month at a time extensions but only if the government provides a rationale and medical evidence to justify its plans.
Heather Lacey, Parkville

Protecting Victorians if the virus gets out of control

As Daniel Andrews stated, an extended state of emergency ‘‘doesn’t mean the rules will be on for 12 months’’ (The Age, 26/8). All this means is that power can be exercised quickly, when needed, if the virus gets out of control. The Liberals’ upper house leader David Davis seems to think this decision needs to be driven by the science. Well, it does not. It is not a debate regarding the science of transmission, it is simply an ability to access powers at a governmental level, if needed. The alarmism is hysterical. Daniel Andrews calls it as he sees it, there are no blurred lines. A refreshing example of honesty and a no-nonsense, direct approach.
Julian Roberts, Burwood

A common sense move to prepare us for problems

I, an avid Liberal voter, support Dan Andrews and the Victorian government in all they are doing to combat further spreading of COVID-19. Extending the state of emergency powers is ensuring we will be ready for any future problems. It will not be used unless it is 100per cent necessary, but it will allow the government to act quickly when necessary. I find the Opposition Leader very negative when he should be supportive or making worthwhile suggestions. This is not a time to gain points.
Gwen Hindhaugh, Bookaar

Has power gone to Premier Daniel Andrews’ head?

Why does the Premier even need the emergency powers to consolidate the gains? Come into the lower and upper houses and declare: ‘‘Honourable members, we all know social distancing works. Here is a bill that says any workplace open between September and December 2020 must allow 1.5metres between workstations, have sanitisers on entrances and strict rules about using common areas.’’

Who would vote against that? But instead Daniel Andrews demands powers reserved for emergencies to keep implementing the most trivial and uncontroversial methods. Either that is an admission that nothing was learnt in six months, or the power tastes oh so sweet.
Nicoli Angelov, St Kilda

It’s only bringing Victoria into line with other states

Josh Frydenberg demands Daniel Andrews explain his desire to extend the state of emergency powers, intimating that he thinks the Premier is wrong. Given the authority being sought is basically what applies in every other state, is the Treasurer suggesting they should wind back their emergency powers to reflect the regime in Victoria? Michael O’Brien could address the same question.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir


Two birds of a feather

Emily Thornberry, shadow trade secretary in the United Kingdom, describes Tony Abbott as an ‘‘offensive, leering, cantankerous, climate-change-denying, Trump-worshipping misogynist’’ (The Age, 27/8). The only other retired, national leader who would match this description would be Donald Trump himself, come November. So watch out Mr Abbott, he might take your new job in London before you have a chance to settle in.
Kevan Porter, Alphington

Relief from Mr Abbott

I am in complete agreement with Emily Thornberry with her excoriating comments about Tony Abbott. But, hey, there is a positive side to his new appointment on the UK Trade Board. He has not been given a plum job as Australian ambassador – to anywhere.
Maria Prendergast, Kew

Influence of an ex-PM

Here, here and well said, Emily Thornberry. Also, why was Tony Abbott granted an exemption from the Australian government’s international travel ban to fly to London to accept the new job
Deborah Batt, Safety Beach

Double standards on…

When will the government apply a common sense approach to allowing people to leave the country? A friend’s wife was denied exit, firstly when her dad was in a coma and then to attend his funeral. The government deemed her departure was not essential and she did not need to be with her family to support them. That was an appalling decision and showed no compassion.

However, a swimmer of the English Channel, a former prime minister and an entrepreneur who wanted to pick up his new yacht were allowed to leave Australia.

I have elderly parents in Scotland who are in their 80s and I would like to see them before they become sick and dying. Admittedly I have not applied for an exemption but then I do not see the point – I cannot swim more than 100 metres, being female I would not wear budgie smugglers and I do not own a yacht.
Ali McLeod, Cremorne

…where we can travel

Let us get this right. With few exceptions, Melburnians are not allowed to travel further than five kilometres from their homes and are not allowed out at night – except if you own a large yacht (The Age, 26/8). Said yacht is in such dire need of repair, the owner, along with his family, sails to the Gold Coast, a mere 2000 kilometres. Are there no marine engineers in Victoria? Something is rotten in the state of Victoria.
Paul Mechelen, Glen Waverley

Seeking a scapegoat

Are we seeing Scott Morrison’s knife at the ready for Daniel Andrews when the pressure mounts for his failed Aged Care Minister to resign and for his government to accept full responsibility for the failures of federally funded, poorly regulated, inadequately staffed and administered aged care homes?
John Sale, Glen Waverley

Leaders joined at the hip

When blaming the Victorian government for the spread of COVID-19 in aged care facilities, Scott Morrison is very much Donald Trump in the way he blames China for the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States. Both men are attempting to distract us from their failure to combat the virus in areas for which they are responsible.
Nicholas Howe, Malvern

Show us the proof, please

I came upon an anomaly in the law this week. I noted that the ladies in a local shop do not wear masks. Each one I have challenged says she has a medical certificate. They always refuse to show it to me. I rang the local police station and was told that even though officers can request to see the certificate, the person with it is able to refuse to show it.
Mary McCleary, Research

Certified anti-maskers

Surely there is a way to accommodate the concerns of anti-maskers. How about they are registered as such and issued with a ‘‘no-mask pass’’ which they can present on request so as they will not be hassled by the masked public or fined by the constabulary. Designated exercise areas and essential supply depots, manned by anti-maskers, could be established. Should they, heaven forbid, become infected with the coronavirus, they could be taken to facilities reserved for anti-maskers and treated by anti-masker volunteers. There would be no claims of discrimination and we could all get on with our lives.
John Mosig, Kew

Just pick up the poo

Have stage 4 restrictions given some dog owners permission not to pick up their dog’s crap? My friend and I were commenting on how often we were seeing these abandoned ‘‘deposits’’ on the footpaths in our neighbourhood. And, by the look of them, these are by some very large dogs. Does the absence of witnesses due to people staying indoors mean owners are less likely to do the right thing and pick up after their dog? Please people, if you do not care about the inconvenience to my shoes, think about these putrid logs going into stormwater and ending up polluting our waterways.
Josephine Byrt, Brunswick

It’s only been six months

World War II ended 75 years ago. Without for one moment attempting to diminish the devastating economic, emotional and mental impact of the pandemic and consequent lockdowns, I do wonder how people coped with six years of the world at war.
Chris Curnow, Mordialloc

Importance of learning

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius valued his education so highly that he had gold statues made of his tutors. He saw the benefits of developing critical thinking, analytical, logic and communication skills – crucial skills gained in an arts degree of today. Nero, on the other hand, ordered his tutor Seneca, to commit suicide. I fear Rome is burning as arts degrees are devalued and doubled in price. Can a civil society afford it?
Ann-Maree Eckersley, East Melbourne

Return power to Australia

New laws will allow the Foreign Minister to cancel agreements that states, territories, local governments and universities enter into with overseas governments if they contradict our national interest (The Age, 27/8).

So, Scott Morrison, the Port of Darwin will come back under Australian control, and the Foreign Investment Review Board will be given real teeth to stop Chinese government-backed companies from buying our pastoral properties (or having majority ownership). Are Australians allowed to purchase any property in China?
Joel Matthews, Coburg

Our right to question

Australia’s call for an independent investigation into COVID-19 hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, according to deputy head of mission at China’s embassy in Australia, Wang Xining (The Age, 27/8). It is the officialdom that becomes upset by the Australian impertinence. Transparency is a weakness.
Helena Kilingerova, Vermont

Any admissions of guilt?

Sorry, I missed Wang Xining’s speech. Did he apologise for COVID-19? Did he say all wet market issues have been dealt with to make sure there is not any chance of a COVID-20?
Michael Dillon, Woodend

Becoming fire-ready

It is time for the commonwealth to spend money on a fleet of water bombers to douse spotfires before they become infernos. I am a city dweller, I am all right and I never want to hear again the dreaded words: ‘‘It is too late to leave’’.
Marjorie de Saint-Ferjeux, North Caulfield

Having a bob each way

Thank you, Father Peter MacLeod-Miller (Letters, 27/8), for pointing out the absurdity of ‘‘concerns’’ expressed by three prominent church leaders about the ‘‘ethically tainted’’ Oxford vaccine. Which is the greater moral crime? Is it utilising vaccines developed partly from a line of stem cells originating from three foetuses that were aborted for medical reasons in the 1960s, or is it the archbishops’ claims that theirs is a personal stance not intended to influence others? They know full well that they hold extremely influential leadership roles. Their moral grandstanding is reprehensible and reveals hypocrisy and divisiveness during a deadly pandemic.
Beth Wilson, former Health Services Commissioner, South Yarra

A very pleasant bubble

One of the television news reporters said that the AFL players were now living in a bubble. I thought they always lived in a bubble, just a very luxurious, well paid one where there were few consequences for misdemeanors.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

Some who only take

Most of us are trying to do the best we can through this incredibly challenging time. Many people have been unable to be present as loved ones died, babies were born and loving unions were not celebrated. Family visits and holidays have been cancelled, students’ education has been upended, health care workers have been stretched to the limit, and jobs and businesses have been lost.

Life has become less safe and our futures less secure. We are all in this together, except for those who are not. The arrogant rich, the entitled, the selfish and the ill informed who think the rules do not apply to them. Everyone else gives and they take.
April Baragwanath,Geelong

Prayer will save us

Brilliant cartoon, Wilcox (Letters, 26/8). But do not forget that fundamentalists do not need vaccines, they have prayer.
Bronwen Bryant, St Kilda West

One impressive woman

Although I do not want any Trump to be president for the next four years, it was obvious from Melania Trump’s speech that she has the intelligence, composure, language and rhetorical capacity lacking in her husband. He must surely be worried.
Geoff Wilson, Eaglehawk


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Tony Abbott

England used to export its trouble makers to Australia. It’s only fair we send it one of ours.
Patricia Rivett, Ferntree Gully

It looks like the UK Trade Board is down the gurgler.
Tony Kruger, Fitzroy

How will Tony, champion of divisiveness, divide his allegiance between London and the Vatican?
Chris Hughes, Rye

A case of Australia’s loss is Australia’s gain.
Peter Molina, Brighton East

Is anybody seriously upset a travel exemption was granted so Abbott could become someone else’s problem?
Claire Merry, Wantirna

Tony Abbott, Australia’s best export to the UK. Please keep him.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown

Is this Abbott’s move to be awarded a knighthood?
Dave Speirs, Geelong

Given Abbott’s track record, can we expect a new market for our coal?
Colin Mockett, Geelong


Gosh, contact tracing has gone digital. Next they’ll put a man on the moon.
Bruce Severns, Toorak

How will our government protect us without the powers embedded in the state of emergency provision?
Sara Lyons, Caulfield

Tactically, ask for more than you want. Request 12 months, receive six. All happy.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale

I wish I was effluent enough to sail my yacht to Queensland.
David Stripp, Murrumbeena


Trump’s character: all facade and no substance.
Kevin Hartshorne, Mount Evelyn

With all the Trump family giving speeches, the convention looks like an episode of The Osbournes.
Peter Heffernan, Balaclava

Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement could be cancelled. Hooray. Good on you, ScoMo.
Lance Ross, Kooyong

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