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What ‘crime’ did these children commit?

Let the family return to their home in Biloela

I understand that our prime minister is some kind of Christian. If so, I am surprised he has not taken into account that well known reference in the gospel according to Mark, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not”. If he really is a Christian, how can he support policies that have mentally tortured these two Australian-born little girls? Enough is enough. Show some compassion. Bring this family back to their home in Biloela.
John Maxwell, Newport

The two opposing sides of being Australian

The enduring response of the Biloela community in support of the Sri Lankan family following three years of detention and limbo on Christmas Island highlights the best elements of being Australian. Sadly, our government’s response highlights the worst.
Julian Druce, Balaclava

It is time Australia ended these inhumane policies

When and how did we become a nation that believes it is alright to hold two small children and their parents in indefinite detention on Christmas Island? When did it become alright to hold, in limbo, the lives of thousands of people who sought our protection?

Do we consider that our elected government is acting in a way which represents our true values as a nation? We must hold our leaders to account for the harm they are causing to countless lives because of their intransigent, callous and inhumane policies. This can not continue.
Mandy Bridges, Barwon Heads

A security guard for each little girl. Really?

I watched the report on Christmas Island (ABC TV, 8/6) and was appalled that it took four security guards to escort the family everywhere. I wonder if Scott Morrison and his family ever sing Jesus Loves The Little Children at his Hillsong Church, or even know it.
Kerry McInerney, Mornington

THE FORUM

An act of desperation

Dan Andrews had a break with his family on the Mornington Peninsula. He slipped and fell on wet stairs which resulted in fracturing at least five ribs and sustaining an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra. He is on sick leave with the usual entitlements of sick leave because he is demonstrably injured.

\Why is shadow treasurer Louise Staley claiming Victorians needs “honesty and transparency” from the Premier and asking her “12 questions” about the circumstances of the fall? (The Age, 7/6). It seems like an act of desperation by an ineffectual opposition. Instead of peddling conspiracy theories and playing the man, it should concentrate on sharpening up its own policies, political tactics and behaviour.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds

A lack of leadership

Michael O’Brien suggests that Daniel Andrews should only be paid as a backbencher while he is absent on sick leave as he is not carrying out his duties as premier. Perhaps Mr O’Brien should apply the same logic to himself and accept a backbencher’s pay because he is definitely not carrying out his duties as opposition leader.
Ken Finley, Mount Martha

Voters want information

Our politicians are the employees of the voters. So why are we, as employers, denied the updated status and information of our elected, injured premier? If any one of us were (heaven forbid) injured or ill and unable to work, we would be paid sick leave (or, in some cases, WorkCover) but only for a limited time. Our recovery progress would be continually reviewed by our employers, together with encouragement to return early to work to “light duties”. How can we Victorians have faith in the continuing stalling and non-information by the Acting Premier and Treasurer?
Gerard van de Ven, Mount Martha

Misplaced priorities

Let’s face it, the Liberals, Michael O’Brien and QAnon followers will not be happy until Dan Andrews was found to have been injured after tripping on his feather boa on the way out of a karaoke bar with Elvis. He slipped on a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich perhaps? I would have thought there were bigger things to worry about, chaps.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna

Repaying our debts

I was so glad to hear that the federal government will fast track humanitarian visa arrangements for Afghan interpreters who assisted Australian defence forces. It is an urgent and morally right decision. And it probably needs to be extended to security guards and other workers there as well.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Of course we trust you

The Acting Premier has announced an easing of restrictions from 11.59pm on Thursday. I am sure that with Melburnians being able to travel up to 25 kilometres, none of them will be clogging Peninsula Link on their way to Sorrento and Portsea. I mean, that is more than 35 kilometres. And they certainly will not be slipping out on Thursday night to beat the rush. I am looking forward to a quiet long weekend down here.
David Baxter, Mornington

Surely a valid exception

My husband is 98 and one of few remaining World War II veterans. He wishes to have the Pfizer vaccination as he fears the complications caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. As advised by the COVID-19 hotline, we saw our GP for referral to a specialist clinic. Because my husband did not meet the criteria set down, he was refused. Unfortunately, when I complained to the GP (who is an excellent doctor), he told me that he was forbidden to criticise the system and he wished us good luck. Our son in Queensland was offered both Pfizer or AstraZeneca. He chose Pfizer.
Anne Collins, Malvern

The power of music

Many children are anxious in these difficult times. Music is a great way for some children to reduce that anxiety. Yet the state government’s Business Cost Assistance Program, round 2 excludes private music teaching. Yet another sour note for a sector that has been hit hard by the pandemic.
David Niven, Ormond

Look to world models

I am a Victorian who is now living in Italy. During this pandemic year, the Italian government made a commitment to keep children in schools, avoiding the blanket lockdowns of 2020.

While the situation varied according to the virus zoning system, and high schoolers suffered more online schooling due to difficulties providing enough public transport and guaranteeing social distancing, most elementary and middle schoolers completed most of the year in the classroom.
The system was simple: reorganised classroom spaces, surgical grade masks worn all day, teachers in the first group of workers to be vaccinated, class closures only in the case of suspected and confirmed COVID-19, distance learning only when classes were in quarantine, and a return to classes after group testing was carried out.

This resulted in two weeks of online schooling for my daughter and three weeks for my son. It was not a normal year where they could sing, play contact sports and go on camps, but a year at school with their teachers and peers. Young people desperately need Victoria’s leaders to rise to this challenge.
Alice Adams Carosi, Rome

An unfair load on some

Because restrictions are being eased on Friday, the federal government is cutting off the already meagre support package offered to workers who have been unable to earn an income.

For my partner, a fitness instructor on a temporary partner visa, that means that instead of the close to $3000 she would have earned over the past two weeks and coming seven days as gyms remain closed, she will potentially get a payment of $500. That is about $23 a day. We both understand and respect the need for social controls, but workers like my partner cannot and should not be expected to shoulder such a heavy economic burden for next to nothing in return.
James O’Keefe, East Melbourne

Ensuring a wage for all

The pandemic and lockdowns illustrate the need for a universal basic income which could be increased during disruptive crises such as pandemics, natural disasters, wars, etc.
Fabio Scalia, St Kilda

Enough of the repetition

Journalists, what is the point of asking the same question at media conferences multiple times? And surely there is a difference between rigorous questioning and aggressive questioning.
Marsha Merory, Ivanhoe East

Please, we’re so tired

Another hotel quarantine outbreak (this time from Adelaide), another lockdown. And yet we are told to keep on fighting. Victorians are battle weary: exhausted, depressed and many are financially struggling or broke. Victorians, particularly Melburnians, have been amazingly compliant over four very arduous lockdowns and we have had enough. We have kept our end of the bargain. It is time our government kept its.
Louise Ryan, Richmond

Buckley, the Pies’ hero

Nathan Buckley has stood down as Collingwood coach (The Age, 9/6). It is doubtful there has ever been a more dedicated coach, and talented player, for Collingwood than Nathan. Thank you from this Magpie supporter for your brilliance on the field and outstanding tenure as coach. To be able to walk away from an AFL club with your head held high and on your own terms is a rarity.
Darren Grindrod, Glenroy

Remembering loved ones

I write to support the exquisite words from haematologist Ian Kerridge (Opinion, 8/6). We are fortunate in Australia to be able to seek medical help in times of illness, yet seem to abandon the value of that shared journey when a loved one dies instead of having a “success” and recovery.
It is so pertinent to learn of Professor Kerridge’s feelings from attending his patient’s funeral, and how he discovered so much more about the person other than his medical symptoms.

Funerals provide a rite of passage and assist us in closure for the day-to-day love we have shared with those who meant something special to our lives. They are often a source of memorable tales, previously unknown. The article gave me a beautiful insight into the times we are facing, as well as in better times. Thank you for sharing your enriching story, Professor.
Gilly Swinnerton, Kew

Scaring off the snakes

I was interested to read the comments from Elaine Hopper (Letters, 8/9) regarding the way to protect ourselves from the venomous snake population. During the 1950s, when our family lived in a forested area near Buxton, my brothers and I were taught to create some noise with our feet as we walked through the bushland, the thought being that snakes were just as nervous as we humans were and they were quite willing to get out of our way. I do remember seeing an occasional reptile slithering off into the scrub. None of us kids ever had a problem.
Ken Prato, Ballarat

Such blatant hypocrisy

Ross Gittins outlines the main issues relating to Mathias Cormann and his change of heart on climate change (Opinion, 9/6). How can we possibly have belief in politicians in the wake of such breathtaking opportunism and hypocrisy? Democracy is supposedly in trouble in the world. I am not left wondering why.
Peter Berenyi, Howes Creek

The flaw in the logic

Scott Morrison’s call for allies to unite and defend freedom against autocracy (The Age, 9/8) reminds me of the Crusades. The other side must believe what we believe. We are right, you are wrong. We have raised the standard of living of our peoples and you… Hang on, you have done better than us.
Beng Lee, Blackburn

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Biloela family

Suffer the little children to be shuffled off to the US or NZ – an updated Christian principle.
Richard White, Blackburn

In such a “lucky” country, how can the government treat this family as it has? How much more torture is to be bestowed on them?
Jane Russell, Bonbeach

Morrison calls for global allies to defend freedom over autocracy (9/6). I’m sure little Tharnicaa and her parents are so glad.
Vaughan Greenberg, Chewton

We know Morrison doesn’t hold a hose, sandbag or syringe. But it seems he can’t even hold a little girl’s hand.
Pia Brous, Prahran

Can’t compassion and sanity prevail and Australia welcome the family’s return here to become Australian citizens. To fail to do so would be disgraceful.
Judith Eppinger, Narre Warren North

What would Jesus do, Scott?
Steve Wilson, Yackandandah

Premier’s accident

Tehan says the opposition has the right to ask questions. It’s certainly Staley’s right to appear foolish.
Matt Bennett, Wodonga

God help us if the opposition wins government. It seems it’s opposed to injured workers accessing sick leave.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown

The opposition should bin its 12 petty questions and instead reveal its vision for Victoria.
Peter Bennett, Clifton Hill

Really? You’ve got to be kidding, Louise Staley.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

Sport

Forget the Hall of Fame. Let us bestow a much sullied title where it truly fits. The Honourable Adam Goodes.
Rowan Paton, Brighton

Adam Goodes, I have nothing but admiration for you. You’re an inspiration.
Karen Morris, Newport

It was a nice change to see Rory Burns’ pony tail helping him to a Lords’ ton rather than the preponderance of mullets in the AFL.
Nick Hallebone, Armadale

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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