Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, the federal Chief Health Officer, as well as many Premiers, have jumped the queue to get their vaccinations. The rest of us oldies have to hunt to find a place and time to get one. True democracy.
Kishor Dabke, Mount Waverley
The economic damage from a slow rollout
One of the many impacts of the slow vaccine rollout is the long-term disruption to business and work-related travel overseas, not to mention leisure travel. The European Union will soon introduce a “vaccine passport” system that will require people to have had the vaccination before they can enter EU countries.
At the current pace of Australia’s rollout, many people under 60 will be waiting for a year or more before they receive both doses. This will limit their ability to travel internationally. In Australia, there will be more snap border closures until the majority of people are vaccinated. This will create more economic and personal pain.
The federal government needs to get its act together fast, source more safe vaccine supplies and get on with the mass vaccination program. This can be done without slowing the provision of vaccines to poorer countries. It just requires the will to act and a modicum of competence, both of which appear to be in short supply in Canberra.
Gavin Kempin, Port Melbourne
Introduce tight requirements for entry into Australia
Having a son who is living in Sweden with his partner and kids, I am keen to find ways to facilitate expatriate return to this country, but it needs to be done safely. The criteria for letting passengers and flight crew into Victoria must include them having had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and having been tested negative prior to getting on the aircraft, and after their arrival.
No system of screening and quarantine will be perfect. However, I believe this is a far safer proposition than bringing people in on an aeroplane (a flying petri dish), who have not been vaccinated and/or have not been tested, and putting them into reopened hotel quarantine. Appropriate vaccination and testing should be the absolute minimum requirement for return to, or visit to, Australia.
Dr Geoffrey McCallum, Seville
The forgotten people
My son, Adam, who has a disability, will require sedation to receive his COVID-19 vaccination. No one has been able to inform me how this can be co-ordinated or even if these circumstances are being considered. I have spoken with his medical practitioners, made many phone and written inquiries to information lines, the Chief Health Officer, government departments, our local MP and ministers. Most of my queries have not been responded to.
The Royal Commission into Abuse, Violence and Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability reported last year that there have been significant failures in the efforts of the government and its agencies in responding to the needs of people with disability during the early stages of the pandemic. It appears there are still worrying gaps as we commence the vaccine rollout.
Stephanie Gotlib, Collingwood
Let the air flow freely
The AFL match between Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium was a nail biter but why did it take place under a closed roof? While all the COVID-19 measures were in place, and I appreciate that masks are no longer mandatory, the obvious detail of many bodies in a closed space, with little ventilation, seemed to have been missed. Rain was not expected. The grass appeared to be dangerously slippery in the warm conditions for the players. I wonder whether the AFL was trying to reproduce Brisbane’s conditions for the Lions’ home match without considering the health concerns.
Julian Collins, Ormond
Please, respect for all
I once felt childish envy of a kid who attended our Catholic school but did not have religious parents – he was spared the ordeal of lengthy Easter devotions. But I found my blood pressure rising as I read an entire column – “Following stations of the crossword” (Opinion, 2/4) – mocking that which is sacred to Christians, Catholic or otherwise.
A man called Jesus was unjustly tried, tortured and executed by a cruel Roman system. Whether or not you follow his teachings, the excruciating agony of a human being is no laughing matter. Our Good Friday church service this year drew attention to others who have also suffered unjust trials and punishment.
I was pleased when movie theatres and other diversions became available on Good Friday because some find the day bleak and depressing. But in a time when respect is sorely needed for women, let us not forget the need to show respect to all – including Christians.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
Editor’s note: Some readers have complained about this column which they considered to be disrespectful on Good Friday. The Age apologises for any offence, which was unintended.
Such relentless abuse
Nyadol Nyuon wrote a brave and very honest article – “The high cost of speaking out” (Opinion, 27/3). Nyadol, a highly intelligent, well-educated and proud Sudanese woman has been such a beacon for her community, but even she seems almost defeated by racism. I worked with the African community for many years at Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. They were treated with great respect in the hospital, but I witnessed and know of some terrible racial abuse even within the car park. I advised them not to react but found their stories heartbreaking.
One young mother, with her baby, had a cup of hot coffee poured over her car’s windscreen. Another was told she was “a black bitch and shouldn’t be driving”. It has always been difficult for first generation refugees and migrants, but the abuse of Africans is cruel and relentless.
Maggie Lynch, Brighton
Surely front-page news?
Chris Uhlmann’s article – “An Australia divided against itself cannot stand” (Opinion, 31/3). Such wisdom will need more prominence than page 20 in the future if we are to have any hope
of avoiding the calamities he warns of.
David Palmer, Wangaratta
Our shared responsibility
A spokesman for Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor says global warming is “a global problem requiring a global solution” – “Reef to vanish in climate disaster” (The Age, 1/4). That is right, minister, and that includes Australia. Sadly, another “not my responsibility” from the government.
Viv Newnham, Ivanhoe
Changing our approach
We can avoid a climate catastrophe but first we need a price on carbon and on ecosystem damage, and much less travel and transport. We need more spending on clean manufacturing, and fewer huge houses, freeways and private cars. There should be a fair wealth distribution, no coal and gas use or export, smaller families, wise consumption and the recycling of materials. Also, changed diets and significant changes in lifestyles. The world can do this with new decision-makers who will not be influenced by vested interests. There would be lots of new, meaningful employment too.
Jonathan Crockett, New Gisborne
On Thursday night my wife and I were driving home from a restaurant in Richmond at around 9.30pm. While we were waiting at the traffic lights, a young man emerged from a nearby hotel and came close to the passenger window. He made lewd, sexually explicit gestures less than a metre from where my wife was sitting. When will young men learn that such behaviour is unacceptable? Until all men accept that such behaviour is simply not OK, nothing will change.
Robert Adler, Albert Park
Enough is enough
I was shocked to read of vicious attacks made on the Reason Party’s Fiona Patten for supporting the extension of Victoria’s state of emergency (The Age, 27/3). This negotiation did not happen anywhere else because every other state has Public Health Act legislation which allows for the declaration of emergency powers in crises. Victoria required emergency powers be negotiated and voted on by the Parliament. These ugly attacks typify the crisis we face, of a culture wherein harassing, threatening and attacking women is tolerated. With impunity, without reason, integrity, ethics or, often, consequences. In this case cowardly men threatened an MP, a woman who has made significant contributions to our society. Enough is enough.
Imogen Hall, Prahran
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge wants universities to expand their online courses “to take advantage of the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the forced shift to online learning” (The Age, 31/3). However, he is also concerned the current strategy has resulted in a “relentless” pursuit of revenue generated by international student fees, and that this is coming at the expense of educating Australian students (The Age, 31/3).
University for me and my friends was one of life’s most exciting and challenging times – of gaining independence and new friends, and of being exposed to inspiring lectures.
Today’s students are being short-changed. One of my grandsons enrolled in science and has two face-to-face classes a week. For the rest of the time, he sits at home with a laptop. For so-called practical classes, he watches someone else doing prac on his small screen.
If Mr Tudge genuinely cared about our students, he would fund universities generously rather than force them to desperately hunt for overseas students. And he would insist that they provide students with a physical environment that supports them emotionally and intellectually.
Margot Rosenbloom, Princes Hill
Paying tribute to RAAF
If Queen Elizabeth felt compelled to leave home in a country still ravaged by COVID-19 to pay her respects to the Royal Australian Air Force on its centenary (World, 2/4), why didn’t Scott Morrison also appreciate the importance by attending the ceremony held in Canberra on Wednesday? As a former pilot with Bomber Command, I am disappointed with his lack of respect.
Laurie Larmer, Strathmore
Our right to our own home
The reports on retirement (7.30, ABC TV) highlight how critical home ownership is to the welfare of an ageing population. Among the strategies proposed in order to reduce the financial pressure on the government (and thereby tax revenue) were reverse mortgages and a HECS-style funded home care system repaid from the deceased estate. Commendable in theory, but these require you to have a home in the first place.
Unfortunately, as our population steadily grows, so does our ageing population, while home ownership declines at a much faster rate. Home ownership provides a stable environment for most, a form of forced saving for others and a basis for a sustainable future for all. The commoditisation of housing driven by tax incentives and poorly thought out subsidies has created a ticking time bomb which will impact all of us sooner or later.
Stephen Farrelly, Donvale
Beware the female voters
Despite the appointment of a female “Prime Minister for Women”, we will have to wait to see if Scott Morrison still leads a phallocracy. It is a shame there are so many women voters.
Alister McKenzie, Lake Wendouree
AND ANOTHER THING
ScoMo can’t Tame Grace. You go, girl, and keep exposing his hypocrisy.
George Djoneff, Mitcham
I don’t want leaders who need training in empathy.
Cate Broadbent, Yarraville
Launching a guided missile project must have been a relief for the PM after his failure to guide out of control missiles in the government.
Alan West, Research
What happened to the $444million that Morrison, as treasurer, gave to the little known Great Barrier Reef Foundation?
Beverley McIntyre, Camberwell
We need to back John Kerry at Glasgow or risk being known as the nation of fossil fools.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
There’s an old saying, ″they couldn’t organise a one-man queue to a country dunny″. It applies today to a certain mob in Canberra.
Rob Walton, Beaumaris
We have a Prime Minister and Prime Minister for Women. It’s time for a Prime Minister for Vaccine Distribution.
Tony Lenten, Glen Waverley
To quote Maxwell Smart, “We missed it by that much, Chief”.
Wendy Knight, Little River
Instead of playing politics, the federal government should consult and retain an army expert in logistics.
Shirley Videion, Hampton
As the vaccination system seemingly falls apart, Scott Morrison says: “I don’t hold a syringe, mate.“
Glenn Murphy, Hampton Park
Is there anything better than beating Collingwood by a point – after the siren? Happy Easter.
Brian Morley, Donvale
Brisbane have made their point. They can go home now.
Ted Palmer, Oakleigh South
Who was the bright spark who decided to end daylight saving on a holiday weekend?
Keith Robinson, Glen Waverley
Note from the Editor
The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.