There needs to be an urgent investigation of the circumstances in which entry permits are issued for travel into this country, given the pressure on our inadequate quarantine system, our mainly unvaccinated population and the fact that the Delta variant brought in recently from overseas has resulted in more than 10million Australians being in lockdown, across states and territories,with the severe financial, physical and emotional costs involved.
Sidra de Zoysa, Glen Iris
The restrictions in Victoria are still hurting many
Yes, mercifully we do not have the harsher restrictions operating in other states – “Victorians visit a parade of holiday delights” (The Age, 30/6) – but the prevailing view seems to be that Victoria now has minimal restrictions of little consequence.
Due to the reintroduced COVID-19 density quotient, our small coastal hospitality business can only currently, and for the foreseeable future, operate at a reduced capacity. Our winter trading numbers are always greatly reduced compared to the warmer seasons. Last year was dire and with two 2021 lockdowns already and the loss of the Melbourne trade in the lead-up to, and inclusive of the June long weekend, surviving winter 2021 still remains a challenge.
Prior to the recent outbreak, all space restrictions were to be lifted on May 28. In response – and in anticipation of a full-house winter and school holiday season – we purchased new furniture. Sadly, as it turns out, it was money not well spent. Of course we understand the need for COVID-safe operations and caution and we are pleased to welcome all customers, local, old and new. However, let us not make the incorrect assumption that all is rosy for all in the regional hospitality landscape.
Trish Berry, Point Lonsdale
The great vaccine dilemma
Is anyone under 40, like me, confused about whether to take up the AstraZeneca vaccine or wait for Pfizer? It would be really good if the Morrison government could get something right with the vaccine rollout. Something as simple as getting its messaging aligned with relevant health authorities regarding vaccinations to those aged under 40 would be a start. I, like thousands of others, have been waiting patiently to play my part in getting out of this mess. Is it really that hard to present a united message when something so important is at stake?
Alice Hodges, Moonee Ponds
Impossibility of knowing
Surely the only way those under 40 can make an informed decision about whether or not to get the AstraZeneca vaccine is to know exactly when the Pfizer vaccine will be available to them. If the federal government is unable to provide this, an informed decision is not possible, whether or not people consult their GPs.
Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South
Belated, right decision
The armed forces are experts at logistics – “Using military precision on COVID” (The Age, 1/7). Other countries have been using their armies for many months to co-ordinate vaccine rollouts. Here we are in the Land of Oz – where the rollout is not a sprint, and the government is just now beginning to to realise that ours has been sub-optimal. We have vaccinated only 6per cent of our population. The army should have been brought on board much earlier. Better late than never. I suppose.
George Greenberg, Malvern
Applaud the authorities
It is time for armchair critics of our governments to take a back seat instead of railing against their perceived failures in managing COVID-19 cases and the vaccine rollout. A little more than a year ago we were being warned that an effective vaccine might be years away. Now we have a number of effective vaccines available.
We should be applauding all involved and thankful that we can now see a way back to life as we knew it. Of course there have been mistakes but these are inevitable as the authorities are learning on the run. What looks like confusion arises because new and better information becomes available on a daily basis. This is the small price we pay for being able to deliver more than 7million doses of highly effective vaccines over the last few months.
Garry Ringwood, Kew
The burden of disease
Gigi Foster – “Stop human cost of lockdowns” (Opinion, 30/6) – is an associate professor in the School of Economics at UNSW and can rightly comment on the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
Her opinions on the effects and effectiveness of lockdowns, which use deaths from COVID-19 as the outcome measure of their worth, offer a very limited view of the effects of this disease on a community and fail to acknowledge the obvious experience in other countries.
Deaths as an outcome are reduced by good treatment. It is the burden of disease that can overwhelm a healthcare system, as widespread illness can affect day to day life. There is increasing understanding of the long-term, adverse effects on the health of up to 25per cent of those who catch COVID-19, including younger people who may only have mild symptoms of the acute illness.
Dr Brian Cole, North Bendigo
The benefit of lockdowns
Re Gigi Foster’s article. Here is an economist who apparently can see “no connection in a COVID world between shelter-in-place orders and lives saved”, when the United States, with few lockdowns, has had more than 600,000 deaths and Australia, with our lockdowns, has had less than 1000. OK, the US has about 13 times our population – but not 600 times.
Keith Burrows, Fairfield
Bring our Aussies home
My daughter wants to move back to Australia from Germany with her family at the end of September so her older child can start school here next year. Because she and her husband will be leaving their jobs and packing up their apartment, she is extremely worried that their flight will be cancelled due to federal government caps on quarantine numbers. Now we discover the government is allowing substantial numbers of non-citizens into the country, taking up quarantine places, even for holidays. How can that be justified when there are still thousands of Australians overseas who want to come home?
Lucille Warlow, Essendon
Take a united approach
Wouldn’t it be refreshing and far more productive for the federal and state governments to pool their collective wisdom, resources and expertise to jointly agree on a set of guidelines and processes with respect to COVID-19 vaccinations? Set aside politics for once and you might just get a greater engagement from the general population, rather than dividing opinion and promoting uncertainty and confusion. We Australians are all physiologically the same – there are no Victorian, NSW etc variants.
Mike Mack, Kew
Clean up our city
The streets in the CBD are filthy and I see no reason to set foot there any time soon. I am referring to the dirt and grime of the footpaths, gutters and shopfronts at street level. Store keepers do their best with window cleaning and general rubbish in bins is collected.
However, the build-up of dropped food, cigarettes, chewing gum, spit, vomit, and urine is disgusting and adds to the general grime from cars and trams.
In Noosa Heads, the main street is cleaned and hosed every morning. Would it be possible for a team with high pressure hoses (and soap) to have a schedule of cleaning our grid? The pandemic has heightened everyone’s awareness of the spread of germs and disease.
Felicity Browne, Kooyong
Back to the glory days
Almost all 18 AFL teams are based in Victoria due to lockdowns, can we call the league the VFL, relocate the Brisbane Lions back to Fitzroy and Sydney back to South Melbourne? Perhaps we can call GWS Giants the Greater Warrnambool Southern Giants and the Gold Coast can become the Gippsland Suns.
John Farquhar, Mitcham
Stand up, Ms Plibersek
Like them or not, four Labor prime ministers in the last 40 years – Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd – had the “cut through” that made people at least take notice.
Right now there are gaping holes in the Coalition: a humiliating failure to vaccinate the nation, a prime minister who was in charge of that ongoing calamity and who now has as his deputy prime minister the man he most surely did not want, the volatile Barnaby Joyce.
But the Coalition is still a fair chance to win the next election. That is as long as Anthony Albanese leads Labor because, sadly, he does not have “cut through”. Tanya Plibersek has the blend of competence, intellect, humility and humanity which cuts through to almost everybody except the Labor Caucus. People might appreciate the chance of a prime minister like that.
Paul Ormonde, Northcote
End the gas drilling
Welcome back, Dan Andrews. We know you care about our beautiful Victoria and have led your government in taking some valuable steps towards a renewable energy-fuelled state. That is why it is so hard to swallow the fact you have taken such a dangerous back step and allowed the ban on onshore gas drilling in Victoria to be lifted. All these years we have proudly applauded your determination to exercise caution and stand up to the fossil fuel industry. Please do us proud again and put the brakes on gas drilling in Victoria for good this time.
Annie Mullarvey, North Fitzroy
Maintain Irish heritage
If the Celtic Club cannot survive financially without having pokies (The Age, 30/6) then it is not viable as a club. Pokies were never a part of the culture and heritage of Ireland and time and again, they have been proven to be detrimental to people’s mental health and very addictive, leading to serious social problems.
As for the club’s wish to have younger members, young Irish people in Australia are extremely adept at using social media to connect, so the concept of the club as a way of connecting Irish immigrants is outdated. Its funds should be used to care for elderly Irish immigrants who are disadvantaged by their age and lack of familiarity with social media.
Maire Lyddy, North Melbourne
Enriching our democracy
Re “Shrinking pipeline of economists” (Opinion, 1/7). The very last reason young Victorians should study economics is to become economists. Why they should study this potentially rich and interesting subject is to help them become thinking and caring contributors to a contemporary Australian democracy.
Along the way they might also gain some understanding of the very large number of Australians doing it tough under the current economic policy and the massive economic burden their own younger generation will need to confront into the future. But this will take a very different economics course than the one on offer in Victoria.
Peter White, Mount Eliza
Waiting, still waiting
On April 14 we moved into a newly built unit marked “NBN ready” on the NBN website. Two missed appointments and two cancellations later, they are saying the job will be done on July 13.
On Wednesday, I emailed the Macedon Ranges Shire Council and received an automated reply saying my email would be passed on to the relevant department and replied to within 10 business days. At least that is better than three months. Has any business ever thought of the public good they could do by employing sufficient staff? Not to mention how happy the customers would be.
Don McLeod, Riddells Creek
AND ANOTHER THING
The VFL is back in town (Sport, 30/6).
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
I wonder if our PM could advise on a cure for my arthritis? It would save a visit to the doctor.
Elaine Wightman, Eltham
Next the PM will suggest left arms have AstraZeneca and right arms have Pfizer, so everyone is safe.
Tony Danino, Wheelers Hill
ScoMo’s vaccine spin has spun out of control, leaving others to sort out the mess.
Sue Peterken, Berwick
I will scream if I have to watch any more TV footage of people being injected during COVID stories.
Patti McGregor, Buninyong
Everyone should have their choice of vaccine on the advice of a health professional, not an MP, journalist or the brain dead on social media.
Veronica Dingle, Brighton
The government doesn’t need to make vaccination compulsory, just available.
Mary Wise, Ringwood
The government has proven itself to be the gold standard in contradiction and obfuscation in COVID-19 information.
Roger Hehir, Albert Park
Are any of Morrison’s relatives under 40 getting the AstraZeneca vaccine?
Swarna Pinto, Lalor
I’d rather have a “lock out” policy than a lockdown policy.
Will Bennett, Ballarat
Barnaby Joyce’s support for fossil fuels is a case of a loose cannon flogging a dead horse.
Stephen Dinham, Metung
Was there an au pair on board the privately funded medevac flight from south-east Asia?
David Speirs, Geelong
So, Bridget McKenzie has been reinstated as a cabinet minister. Which porkfolio did she get?
John O’Hara, Mount Waverley
The gold standard for pork barrelling has been set by Morrison and his ministers.
Geoff Allen, Mount Eliza
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