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Politics no substitute for respectful co-operation

The unadorned Dan Andrews in word and manner is such a relief of truth. Neither flashy nor exaggerated, he speaks unswervingly on sacrifice without head-hunting. That’s his straightforward example of leadership in a time of crisis.
Ian McKail, Cheltenham

Discordant PM does little to help confidence
Prime Minister Scott Morrison should know how difficult the COVID-19 crisis is to manage. It does not come with a playbook. His criticism only sows division and discord within Victoria and does nothing to help us manage the virus.

Opening up quickly, as Mr Morrison would have us do, will not inspire economic confidence. If we open up too early and allow the virus to spread uncontrolled, will we feel confident going to the movies, going out for dinner, shopping, catching public transport? I don’t think so. Without this confidence the economy will not rebound. I trust Dan Andrews will show the same passion and commitment he has shown to help keep us safe as he will to successfully lead the Victorian economy out the other side.
Claire Collins, Flemington

Why must Morrison stoop to shaming Andrews?
So, according to David Crowe’s analysis (‘‘PM’s political contact tracing finds Andrews at the source’’, 8/9) the Prime Minister must resort to shaming Daniel Andrews into easing painful state restrictions. Really? Why?

An alternative course of action for the Prime Minister might be to accept responsibility for the long-term, systemic shortcomings in aged care under his government; stop bleating about the economic cost to Australia of Victoria’s problems and making unhelpful comparisons to NSW and start working towards solutions for all Australians.
Maryanne Barclay, Frankston South

Admiration not for the political opportunist
Cometh the hour, cometh the man; from the outset, the contrasting COVID-19 leadership approaches of Scott Morrison and Daniel Andrews on consistency, conduct, integrity, accountability acceptance rather than avoidance, attacking the virus rather than the man, prioritising our wellbeing over political point-scoring and media scrutiny availability will, when the histories are written, result in one being remembered fondly with admiration and the other one as the opportunist that he is now known to be.
Carlo Ursida, Kensington

THE FORUM

Impact of alcohol
The ninth day of the ninth month, reminding of the nine months of pregnancy, is observed around the world as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day (FASD). This disorder is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed meaning many families do not get the help they need to manage it. FASD is caused by drinking alcohol while pregnant and a 2015 study revealed that about half of Australian women drink some alcohol during pregnancy. In severe cases it shows in facial features but often it is in a range of brain damage that can cause social and behavioural problems, lack of understanding, short attention span, and others which make life difficult for the sufferer and their family. There is no cure.
Anne Bergen, president, WCTU Drug-Free Lifestyles

Bracks is cushioned
For anyone who has read Steve Bracks’ article (‘‘Morrison’s receding light of unity’’, 8/9), I think they need to pause and think about where Bracks’ loyalties lie. Bracks is chairman of Cbus Super, the superannuation fund for the building and construction industry – his place of reference is all about the unions. What is happening in Victoria as small businesses are crushed suits anyone who supports unionisation. Bracks, like Andrews is still on full pay, apart from the curfew and inconvenience of 5km and one-hour exercise a day, he is cushioned from the devastating economic impact of the lockdowns.
Sharon Harris, Thornbury

Push for freedom
I hope the so-called freedom protesters and others who are strongly objecting to COVID-19 lockdown measures are also vocally lobbying the federal government demanding that the UK government return Julian Assange to Australia. Press freedom is paramount for all of us to safely express our views and hold the powerful to account.
Brenda Tait, Kew

Inaction on Assange
Latika Bourke’s report ‘‘Assange at Old Bailey to fight US extradition’’ (8/9) is indeed disturbing. Julian Assange, still rotting in UK’s notorious Belmarsh prison for exposing the US’ war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Middle East. Successive Labor and Liberal governments in Australia have done nothing for him. Australia’s media are equally guilty of inaction in Assange’s case. It is time for PM Morrison and AG Christian Porter to go in person to London and negotiate with their British counterparts for his release.
Bill Mathew, Parkville

Budget’s big projects
Wonderful to think the budget looks like including a big spend on major projects, including public housing. Let’s hope it doesn’t include tax cuts, but does include higher taxes for miners.
Patricia Norden, Middle Park

Tracing app a dud
It is easy for Mr Morrison to criticise Victoria’s tracing ability, but he maintains a deathly silence about the complete failure of the federal government’s COVIDSafe app! Where is the explanation, Prime Minister? How much did this dud, which was to be a saviour for the population, cost, not to mention all the advertising costs and the false hope; what did Australians taxpayers get for their money?
Marie Rogers, Kew

Coasting to Queensland
Yet again in this COVID world the wealthy are given privileges denied to those of lesser means (‘‘Lady Pamela travellers allowed to stay in Qld’’, 8/9). Despite clear and, one can assume, intentional breaches of the health conditions on their journey to Queensland, the travellers are given fines that represent a trifle to them, put into 14-day quarantine, no doubt in comfortable accommodation after which they are then free to remain in the Sunshine State. These individuals have certainly demonstrated the idiom ‘‘as sly as a fox’’.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill

Support for steel
Infrastructure: railways, pipelines, ports, towers, all need massive amounts of steel. But we have to import it. A crucial government initiative could be to support the processing of Australian iron ore and coal and make our own steel. The same can be said for aluminum. Those initiatives may then lead to resurrecting the core of a manufacturing and engineering industry, cars.
Bill Robb, Fitzroy

Short on detail
OK, David Davis (‘‘Premier’s road map a massive disappointment’’, 8/9), I get it. You think contact tracing should be done better, no one would argue with that. You think the road map should be better, I get that. Exactly how, might I ask? No restrictions at all from next Sunday? Some social restrictions from next Sunday? All pubs open from next Sunday. Do we wear masks? Once again, a view that has plenty of criticism, but is short on actual detail. Stop avoiding the question Please outline what you would do come next Sunday.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

Evidence-based mapping
Daniel Andrews and Brett Sutton say that improvements have been made to contact tracing. Please show us evidence with quantitative data of our system over time and please compare it to other states. If the data shows it is as good as other states, why does our road map need to be more stringent than anywhere else?
Kerry Landman, Alphington

Treading on army toes
Donald Trump’s reported disparagement of US military members (‘‘‘Lies’: President tweets back at ‘losers’ claims’’, 8/9), may not end well for him, if history is any guide. The experience of the 1950s powerful and virulently anti-Communist Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, famous for his smear tactics, was telling. McCarthy met his match when he attempted to attack members of the US Army bureaucracy. Appalled, President Eisenhower invoked executive privilege in 1954, thereby destroying McCarthy’s career. Trump should tread warily, lest voters similarly punish him.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

It’s all about you
Here are the rules: Don’t wear a seatbelt; don’t wear a helmet; drive as fast as you want to; smoke in restaurants and bars. There are so many rules that you can ignore just because it doesn’t suit you and don’t worry about what effect your actions may have on other people, it’s all about you.
Bill Walker, St Andrews Beach

Balance in the bush
I totally agree with Alex Judd (Letters, 8/9). I cannot walk out into my garden without being dive-bombed by the native noisy miner. This invasive native species has driven out not just the small honeyeaters but the once common red wattlebird and the little wattlebird. Honeyeaters perform a vital service when feeding by cross-pollinating our plants and feeding on some of the pest species of insects in our garden. It might help if people who leave food out for birds ceased the practice, as our gardens and bush reserves provide all the nectar and insects they need. I don’t know the answers but a cull would be a start and removing nests and eggs before the birds hatch.
Cecily Falkingham, Donvale

Threat of super
Shaun Carney (‘‘Now for the really hard yards’’, 7/9) says signs the Morrison government will go beyond its own orthodoxy with its October 6 budget are not encouraging, quoting tax cuts and the deferral of a ‘‘tiny increase’’ in the superannuation guarantee as examples. But it’s his explication of what is behind a super deferral which is most instructive. The government’s ideological war on super, especially industry super, is weakening our super system, he says, a system that has set aside $2.7 trillion in retirement savings since 1991 and is regarded by many as the best retirement system in the world. Industry super is an immense source of power outside the control of the government and its banking mates, and hence represents an intolerable threat.
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne

Putrid public toilets
With gyms closed and no group exercise classes allowed, I find myself circling Princes Park for my allocated hour. I’m not alone, it’s a veritable freeway of walkers, joggers, pram pushers and cyclists. Occasionally I use the toilets on that route. Without exception they reek of urine and are visibly splashed with stains on most surfaces. I find it astounding that public toilets, which are undoubtedly experiencing peak traffic flows and have numerous ‘‘high touch surfaces’’, are not a priority for cleaning and disinfecting.

I see clusters of ‘‘high vis’’-wearing cleaners who occasionally wipe traffic light buttons and light posts. It makes no sense, considering most of us don’t touch these surfaces with our hands any more. WCs are different, the doors are not able to be opened using a foot or elbow, let alone wash your hands or flush without touching. These public amenities are languishing in putrid conditions and are a risk to public health.
Amanda Davis, Fitzroy

Travel quota draconian
The Morrison government’s quota limiting the ability of Australians to return home is probably the most draconian infringement of human rights ever introduced in Australia. Thousands of Australians now languish overseas in complete uncertainty, with disastrous consequences for their health, families and work. In effect, commercial airlines now decide who can come home and when. Pre-booked flights are routinely cancelled. Thousands like myself are now indefinitely stranded, with Australian consular offices offering no assistance.

In my case, I was forced to go overseas to deal with a legal matter after the death of my mother, and now I am unable to return. This inhumane measure is justified in terms of the limited capacity of hotel quarantine. This makes no sense. Alternative quarantine options should have been considered first.
Joseph Forgas, Rose Bay, NSW

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Credit:

Coronavirus
When Scott Morrison criticises the Victorian government for its poor contact tracing I have two words to say to him: COVIDSafe app.
Steve Dixon, North Melbourne

If only some commentators and politicians could test their opinions by having a simulated dose of COVID-19.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood

Jon Faine’s zealous praise of Premier Andrews is as unproductive as the coarse bellowing he denounces.
Simone Martin, Deepdene

Perhaps antimaskers and the like could be exported to China so they can get a real taste of dictatorship.
Dr Jim Casey, Richmond

I now know the reason for the pandemic buying of toilet paper: it was the Health Department buying up so they could record the results of their community transmission tracing.
Richard Bowen, Canterbury

We Victorians need your help and support PM – not your punishment.
Marie Douglas, Camberwell

Scott Morrison. The Prime Minister of the Divided States of Australia.
Scott Gale, Richmond

Stop playing party politics Scott Morrison and support us.
Ann Romain, Sale

Scott Morrison blasts Daniel Andrews about the closed state border but he keeps the Australian border closed till December.
Linda Reynolds, Croydon Hills

Highwaymen used to say, ‘‘Your money or your life’’. The present choice is similar. Which do you want to save?
John Crossley, Oakleigh

Maybe we should remind the business community that the dead aren’t very active consumers.
Cindy O’Connor, Brunswick

Even Baldrick with one of his ‘‘cunning plans’’ could do a better job with a road map out.
Colin Hobson, Williamstown

Federal politicians’ attacks on Victoria are coming close to incitement. Dangerous behaviour.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

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

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