In the face of a worldwide crisis, decisive decision-making and clear public messaging are paramount. We deserve better than what we are getting.
Bob Malseed, Hawthorn
Keep calm, carry on … and leave it to the experts
I’ve decided that it’s a waste of time taking “rollouts”, “road maps”, and “pathways” seriously, because the only certainty they possess is that they won’t be achieved.
It’s quite clear who’s in charge here: It’s the virus. Even Gladys Berejiklian is no match for it. It’s best just to “keep calm and carry on” and let the medical officers, doctors, scientists, epidemiologists and those who actually know how to organise things (Lieutenant-General John Frewen, step forward) get on with it.
Michael Feeney, Malvern
Are we the victims of our own success?
Let’s put things in perspective: in keeping COVID-19 at bay so effectively for so long, it seems we are more fearful of a vaccine that protects against it than of the ravages of the disease itself.
But it’s not just the risk of dying of COVID-19 that should worry us, it’s catching it at all. Now that the Delta strain is out in the community, the risk of suffering some of COVID-19’s debilitating effects are surely far greater than the unthinkable – but unlikely – risk of death from AstraZeneca. Are we the victims of our own success?
Megan Jennaway, South Golden Beach, NSW
It’s not better, it’s worse
Four years ago, with trailblazers and brave clubs, women were hopeful about what AFLW might bring. Now, without a single female coach, it’s swipe right for ex-players and swipe left for talented female coaches in the AFL’s dating game app (“14 AFLW clubs, 0 women coaches”, Sport, 3/7).
Media and quota watchdogs are like the wedded men in society, looking at qualified, footy-smart women, exclaiming “She’s a catch. But why is she still single?”
As a member of an AFLW coaching panel in 2018 with a ratio of one woman to five men, I still remember the comments accompanying the photo announcement on social media. Most were congratulatory, but others remain with me still: “And there she is: the window dressing.“
Swiping left for talent and right for tokenism isn’t the key to a happy football marriage either.
I (we) really thought things would be better by now. They should be, but, in fact, they’re even worse after the musical chairs of 2020’s lockdown lay-offs. With fewer chairs, the chance for a seat when the music stopped became even less likely. I can’t help but wonder if women will ever get their footy happily-ever-after.
Footy will always be more Tinder than Bumble. Maybe I’ll just get myself a cat.
Jessica Rottura, Richmond
How about ‘hu’?
Bonnie Logan (“Quest to scratch ‘he’ from letter of the law”, The Age, 5/7 ), I hear you.
But thinking of the unintended consequences on the environment with the extra ink and paper required to replace “he” with “the person” or “they”, how about “hu” for “human”?
Gender neutral. No extra ink. No extra paper.
Gracie Warner, Kooyong
An unfortunate legacy
We used to have independent building inspections to monitor and enforce standards (Letters, 5/7). That was the role of council building inspectors.
Then in the mid 1990s, local government was smashed and the industry cowboys were let loose to do as they please. Flammable cladding, falling cladding, shattering balcony glass, cracking walls and the like are the legacy.
Unfortunate owners and the public have been paying the price ever since.
Helen Moss, Croydon
It’s all about money
With international flight numbers being halved from July 14, there is some doubt as to whether the Formula One grand prix can go ahead in November in Melbourne. But apparently flights for grand prix personnel would be exempted from these caps (“State to rule on grand prix as bosses seek green light”, The Age, 5/7).
This beggars belief. So racing car drivers and their cohorts are more important than Australian citizens stranded for months overseas? Just where exactly do our government’s priorities lie?
Oh, I forgot. It’s all about money, not compassion for people wanting to return home.
Apparently if the race does not run again this year, Melbourne could lose the event to another state. Hurray. Sounds like a great outcome to me and many other Melburnians.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North
A lack of loyalty
Julia Banks’ revelations about the sexist behaviour and social conservatism of some federal Liberal MPs are indeed concerning.
However, it should be recognised that members of the Liberal Party preselected her and without them she would not have been an MP at all. As a consequence, I am not impressed by her reasoning for leaving that party mid-term and opting instead to sit as an independent.
Rather, as a member of a team who owed loyalty to a party, a more constructive approach would have been to seek change from within.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
Our sacrifice squandered
As an angry citizen of this country who wants a safe community and to be able to go about business as soon as possible, I strongly endorse the article by Kevin Rudd (“Hunt has failed and must go”, Comment, 5/7).
We have squandered the sacrifices made in the first stages of the pandemic to suppress the virus and stop community transmission. As a nation we were in a position to organise the vaccination of our citizens and create a strong quarantine system, but the federal government failed on both counts.
This Prime Minister and cabinet are a clear and unfortunate example of the “Peter Principle” – promoted beyond their level of competence.
Ian Gardner, Northcote
Ripe for corruption
Parliament has become a consequence-free refuge that has enabled too many shameless politicians seeking its shelter to snub their nose at the Westminster system of responsibility.
Ministers taking responsibility for patent failures of competence and integrity within their portfolio is an important catharsis for the voting population and builds confidence in our political system.
Consequence-free power is ripe for corruption without a punitive disincentive such as an independent broad-based anti-corruption commission that is backed up by a voting public that throws away how-to-vote cards and stops re-electing candidates that have displayed scoundrel behaviour.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South
A telling story
What a great story about the food van at The Pavilion School in Preston … until I read that some of the proceeds from the van are going towards making the school’s basketball court fit for purpose (“School food van delivers hope for students”, The Age, 5/7).
I thought of the abundant facilities at all the private schools in my neck of the woods and nothing so starkly shouted about the “rich getting richer” injustice at the heart of current school funding practices.
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn
A simple tax solution
We are reading about the loss of tax revenue through lower population growth, less smoking, alcohol and petrol consumption.
Here’s a novel idea: How about replacing these with a tax on atmospheric carbon?
Peter Seligman, Brunswick West
Shades of East West Link
Your article “Call to block Crown’s compo shield” (The Age, 5/7) outlines the rushed contracts signed by the Napthine government with Crown Resorts. This included extending its licence to 2050, expanding its capacity for gambling and providing for handsome compensation (10.5 times any profit lost) in the event of rules around its operation changing. A great deal brokered by the former government for big business.
One is reminded of another great thing signed by the Liberal state government in 2014 in its dying days to compensate companies involved in the planned East West Link project.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds
Nothing to see here …
Simon Birmingham says being re-elected means the car parks fiasco is fine. Nothing to see here – the end justifies the means (“No promise of extra spaces in $660m car parks scheme”, The Age, 5/7).
That’s the standard we’re supposed to accept under this government.
Geoff Charles, Mount Waverley
Distance is not a problem
Everybody who lives in the federal seat of Deakin lives less than 5 kilometres (a 10-minute ride) from their nearest train station.
It would be cheaper, more space efficient and simpler to provide the ability to park and ride a bike safely to the train station, than to build mega car parks, which, owing to their size, you’d probably need a bike to cover the distance from your car to the train from anyway.
David Blom, Nunawading
Much appreciated care
We may take for granted our medical support services until we actually need them ourselves. My husband was recently in a nasty cycling accident at Mount Eliza.
He miraculously survived only because he was wearing a helmet. We would like to thank all the medical staff at The Alfred hospital and the paramedics who took care of him. From the paramedic who left a reassuring message for family to admin staff, orderlies, nurses and medical specialists. Your care was much appreciated.
Mary Fraser, Elsternwick
More than miracles needed
The “national plan to transition Australia’s national COVID-19 response” is welcome, but it is six months late and is predicated on the one thing that has been the federal government’s Achilles heel – being able to deliver the vaccine rollout. They have rightly been held responsible for the vaccine rollout and have butchered it.
Now we are to believe that, as if by osmosis, it will all click into gear like a well-oiled machine.
The Prime Minister might believe in miracles, but it will take more than a miracle to undo the damage this government has done in terms of vaccine confidence and mixed messaging.
Will we finally get the kind of advertising campaign that has been so effective in the UK, US and France? We can only hope.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Take the politics out of it
After reading the article “AstraZeneca the poor cousin of the rollout but is this really fair?” (The Age, 2/7) I almost feel sorry for said vaccine, which is probably ridiculous, but I do feel compelled to come to its defence and to give a huge thanks to all those involved in its creation.
It is sad that Australia’s rollout has become so politicised and people are listening to the fearmongers. Please listen to the medicos, not the politicians, who are not in it for the long haul and are clearly not interested in what is best for the country.
Ann Maginness, Sandringham
It will take more than this
Australia’s four-stage recovery program comes from the government that has failed to protect the aged in aged-care homes, failed to get enough vaccine in the country, failed to give effective quarantine facilities and failed in its understanding of science on many fronts.
It’s going to need more than a lieutenant-general, a belligerent, partisan Deputy Prime Minister and a Prime Minister who is now leading from the rear for us to have any faith in achieving phase two, let alone phases three and four.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale
AND ANOTHER THING
Why are the most potent opposition attacks against the Morrison government currently coming only from Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull?
Rob Brown, North Coogee, WA
Rather than using his marketing skills to sell progressive solutions to our faltering economy and technology sectors, our PM is using them to try to deflect reality.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East
According to Simon Birmingham pork barrelling is quite OK if you get the votes (“No promise of extra spaces in $660m car parks scheme”, The Age, 5/7).
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor
Simon Birmingham says the train car park program was justified because the Coalition had won the 2019 election. So I guess cheating at an exam is acceptable if you pass?
Vicki Jordan, Lower Plenty
If we are taxing our way to a healthier nation, a sugar tax could be a budget sweetener.
Joan Segrave, Healesville
Hear, hear, Ben Bramble (“Space tourism plans on the nose”, Comment, 5/7). We’re in the midst of both an environmental crisis and a global pandemic, and the focus of billionaires is to fly off into space? What a world.
Stephanie Ashworth, Pascoe Vale South
Forget the Formula One grand prix in November; think of the money we’ll save.
Geoff Schmidt, Richmond
Surely if Crown is found to have abrogated the terms of its licence, then it has also abrogated the rights to compensation if its licence is altered.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
Another gem of a piece by Tony Wright (“So much to learn from a toddler’s adventures”, Insight, The Age, 3/7). If only certain people in power had his skills of communication.
Richard Davies, Hawthorn East
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