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A lack of precautions at some footy grounds

Our governments are encouraging us to holiday in Australia, and the New Zealand bubble encourages New Zealanders to holiday here. However, a large group of Australians and New Zealanders who have Australian holidays booked and paid for are still waiting for confirmation from the federal government that these can be taken.

My wife and I hope to have a Kimberley holiday in August. Unfortunately it is on a cruise ship and the government is silent on when, and if, ships may sail. We plan to spend time in Darwin and Broome before and afterwards, but this is dependent on the ship sailing. Cruisers face the prospect of their trips being cancelled at the last minute, and too late for them to plan another getaway.
John Cleaves, Elwood

Australia needs a mass vaccination program

The federal government needs to learn how to count, follow scientific advice and tell the truth. Sadly it is doing none of this. Instead it is wasting the huge achievement of virtually no community transmission by sticking to an outdated, privatised approach to the vaccine rollout, rather than a mass, public health approach using football fields, schools and playgrounds, as in the good old days. Yes, Shaun Carney (Opinion, 7/4), I for one am not happy.
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn

The impossibility of organising an appointment

What an absolute debacle the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is. Trying to book elderly parents into a clinic to no avail. Either not taking bookings, cannot get through on phone or are asked to try and get on a waiting list. How does anyone expect the hearing-impaired elderly to negotiate this mess? So many people will be overlooked and miss out. We really need to get this right for everyone’s health.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne

Time to explain why projections have been missed

The Prime Minister’s refusal to reveal fuller details of the COVID-19 vaccination program indicates clearly that the outcomes are falling very short of the government’s projections.
Alan Gunther, Carlton

Look to yourself as to where the blame lies, Minister

Health Minister Greg Hunt et al scramble to shift blame elsewhere over the vaccine debacle. “It’s the states, it’s the European Union, it’s the GPs, it’s the providers”. No, it is you. It is your system, your targets and you failed them.
Royce Bennett, Baxter

THE FORUM

The PM’s double standards

Watch out, Scott Morrison, your double standards are showing – again. Former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate was metaphorically burnt at the stake for following accepted business practices (The Age, 7/4), whereas Liberal National MP Andrew Laming got a slap on the wrist and was sent to the naughty corner for trolling women on Facebook, taking a mobile phone photo of a woman’s bottom, and an obvious lack of sincerity. In both cases, political expediency won over political integrity.
Sharon Holman, Highett

The overlooked gifts

Was Scott Morrison’s outrage over Christine Holgate and the $5000 Cartier watches just another case of boys sticking together? He did not seem at all worried by the bonuses and gifts that had been paid to Australia Post employees previously. But they were awarded by a man. I suspect Mr Morrison’s new found concern for women is just temporary. Wait and see.
Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong

Morrison’s be-all solution

Australia Post’s chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo should have sent “naughty” Christine Holgate for empathy training instead of insisting that she stand down. That would surely have met with Scott Morrison’s approval.
Max Nankervis, Middle Park

Justify the need and cost

How can the Victorian government get away with the very expensive joke that is the Suburban Rail Loop – “Passengers forced to swap trains on Rail Loop” (The Age, 6/4)? When it was in opposition, it criticised the business case for the East West Link (originally a Labor proposal) and yet there is still no business case for the loop for which it has committed $2.2billion for “early works”. The government is yet to advise the public how many commuters per day, or year, will want to make the alleged 22-minute trip from Cheltenham to Box Hill. Does it not know or is it too embarrassed to publish the results (guesstimates?). Money is being spent on this project while there are sections of the metropolitan rail network that are single track.
Des Grogan, Sorrento

A more humane approach

Noel Whittaker says that many Baby Boomers are “caught between a rock and a hard place: their kids won’t leave home and their parents don’t die” (Money, 7/4). Unfortunately this creates a limiting financial model of “longevity and Boomers”, which completely denies dignity, compassion and dare I say pleasure, around the ageing process within the family.

Tempered by these, the “challenges” are not just financial, but a humane approach within a family’s ongoing history. Were not Boomers once completely dependent on their now ageing parents
Annette Hourigan, Shoreham

When online is necessary

Many people, for reasons of their remote location, incapacity or personal circumstances, obtain university degrees via distance education. I am sure they are all immensely grateful to RMIT University’s Professor Rob Watts (Letters, 7/4) for explaining just how inferior was their study.
Brendan Harrison, Bacchus Marsh

Show the public benefit

In relation to religions being regarded as charities, a federal MP says “religions are assumed to be delivering a public benefit to Australia” (The Age, 7/4). The whole premise should be challenged, not just for Scientology. A clear distinction between public benefit and funding for “bells and smells” should be made so that both the public and the Tax Office know where donations are going and public benefit is formally demonstrated.
Janine Truter, The Basin

Try a diplomatic approach

Re. the $20billion cost to Australia of Scott Morrison’s ‴⁣⁣bull in a china shop” antics. In my 76 years, I have never seen anyone in Australian government so inept at foreign relations. He was so intent on big noting himself and kowtowing to Donald Trump about China, he failed to use common sense. Diplomacy is about negotiating behind closed doors, not bleating publicly to embarrass and place others in an enviable position.
Richard Lawrie, Newtown

Mending our fences

Is it not time Canberra diplomats started some serious negotiations with their Chinese counterparts to have the import bans on barley, beef, wine, timber, seafood etc lifted by allowing China to permanently ban the import of Australian coal and cotton? This would be a win-win for many people in both countries.
Glenn Stanmore, Cohuna

Treat all with respect

I am female, Jewish, a “bloody New Australian” and old (75). In each of these categories I have experienced unkind, dangerous, painful and politically incorrect behaviour. It was mostly perpetrated by people who felt entitled to their superiority, and confident that there would be no retaliation. Deflecting responses by saying “it’s just a joke” is a supreme insult, and indicates no comprehension of the animosity displayed and its effect. Scripted public apologies, after events, are hollow and without merit.

I am grateful that we live in a country where, until now, the population was non-violent, and carrying weapons was not the norm. The addition of new technologies to facilitate the spread of hatred has accelerated the problems. Xenophobia and violence are being promoted.

Teaching the concept of “consent”, with respect to sexual activities, to students in schools is far too simplistic and naive. Children (and everyone) should be educated to recognise everyone’s right to exist and be safe, respected and treated exactly as they would wish to be treated and respected. We should also learn to speak out when we have suffered or we see injustice and disrespect. That is what the population, from youngest to oldest, must learn. This is what is underpinning the activism of the minorities. We must try to be upstanding for principles rather than observers of discriminatory and dangerous behaviour.
Bella Kolber, Caulfield

Far too much talking

Women have been talked at, talked to, talked about and talked over, again and again, over the centuries. Try walking a mile in our shoes, Hunter Johnson – “On sex, talk to men, not about them” (Opinion, 6/4).
Maria Irminger, Mount Waverley

Clarify the model first

It seems to me that until the republican movement can get its act together regarding which model it prefers, it has no chance of success. Everything I have read so far in the past 20-odd years suggests the movement is all at odds as to how this will come about. Also, why does this rhetoric always appear after some Palace misdemeanour, such as the pantomime of Harry and Meghan?
Bob Whiteside, North Warrandyte

Three universal rules

The treatment of asylum-seekers by our governments (Labor and Coalition) in recent years has been appalling. Amnesty International insists that the following three conditions should be mandatory all over the world: Everyone has the right to seek a better life in another country. No asylum seeker should be kept indefinitely in detention – their cases should be worked out as quickly as possible. And no one should be sent back to a country where they are in danger.
David Ginsbourg, East Bentleigh

No end to price gouging

On Tuesday l bought petrol in Drysdale for $1.18 a litre. I kept an eye on prices as l travelled home. Most were in the range of $1.40 to $1.66 a litre. The highest price I saw was $1.68, a whopping 50 cents a litre more than I paid. Price gouging is obviously rampant – or there was another “resurrection” and Ned Kelly is alive and thriving.
Julie Moffat, Preston

Destroying the NDIS

Draft changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (The Age, 6/4) are horrendous, not only adding new sections to the current NDIS Act but deleting key clauses which have underpinned the scheme for the 430,000 Australians living with a disability since it was legislated by the Gillard government.

The most frightening change is the so-called “God power” it gives to NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds to redraw the scheme at her discretion. She will have power to make decisions at any time which the National Disability Insurance Agency must adhere to when interpreting the legislation, removing states and territories of the veto power they now hold.

The spending of participants will be closely monitored, allowing the NDIA to retrieve money it deems to have been spent outside the new “rules”. Goods or services acquired as part of ordinary living expenses will be banned. Section 34 of the Act, which says participants will be given “reasonable and necessary” support to pursue their goals and aspirations in the community, has been removed. The NDIS is dead under this proposed legislation.
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne

Sacrificing their lives

I read with interest Tony Wright’s article (Insight, 3/4) on Wirraways. My father enlisted in the RAAF in 1941 and began flight training in Tiger Moth aircraft. His log book shows he started training in Wirraways in November 1941. He moved on to Ansons in May 1942 and Sikorsky aircraft in August 1942.

He trained in Catalinas and was based in Cairns. He was shot down and killed in the Gulf of Carpentaria in April 1943, aged 23, one month before I was born. I am very proud of his achievements and have been sorry all my life that I never got to know him. He was just one of many who gave his life so that subsequent generations could enjoy the freedom and lifestyle we enjoy today.
Libby Chanter, Glen Waverley

Come clean on vaccines

The Prime Minister says that we have a supply problem with the COVID-19 vaccines. Or is it a “lie problem”?
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Coronavirus

When the PM said “We are at the front of the queue”, was that the “royal we”?
George Reed, Wheelers Hill

Why do vaccines have to be “rolled out”? What about old-fashioned distribution?
Harvey Mitchell, Castlemaine

Morrison promises transparency around the vaccination program. The public gets obfuscation.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

Hurry up with that rehab, Dan. The federal cabinet needs a shot in the arm.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Yay, the Tasman bubble has burst. I’m off to Tasmania ASAP.
David Allen, Bayswater North

Politics

Great, a PM for Women. Can we have one for First Nation peoples, old people and … Wait, how about one PM for everyone?
Cheryl Toth, Queenscliff

Send Laming to Jen. That’s where the PM gets his empathy training.
Tom Stafford, Wheelers Hill

Re the changes to the NDIS. We need a government that puts public interest before self-interest.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills

Furthermore

Noel Whittaker doesn’t hold back in his advice. His comment that Boomers’ “aged parents don’t die” (Money, 7/4) says it all. Sorry, Noel, for hanging around too long.
Pamela Pilgrim, Highett

A “quick” crossword clue for DA: “Variation of an already fast crossword that is speeded up to a more confusing and clever level.” Answer: Quiptic”.
Nicholas Fothergill, Malvern East

We must wrest back control of Whyalla steel. It’s our chance to gain Aussie jobs and more investment in Australia.
Les Silverman, Brighton East

Peter Waterhouse (6/4) says the British monarchy has provided “social stability”. Perhaps we could crown an Australian king or queen. Just kidding.
George Greenberg, Malvern

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.

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