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Uncertainty is destroying VCE students and teachers

See the 5 km limit as a way to support others

Reading the news or watching the TV each day reminds us of all the distressing events happening around the world. We can easily become discouraged and have feelings of hopelessness.

I encourage people to think about the wonderful, selfless people who are working on the front line, such as doctors, those at COVID testing and vaccination centres, social workers and cleaners. Also the everyday people who are lending a helping hand to their neighbours, whether it is shopping for them and putting out their bins or a friendly phone conversation.

We need to see this “five-kilometre lockdown” as an opportunity to reconnect with, and support, other people. We can go much further than five kilometres on our computers and phones. Use the things we can for the greater good and our spirits may lift and our days seem brighter.
Sharon Hendon, Glen Iris

Please listen to the families who are suffering

Victoria recorded 55 new cases yesterday and is in lockdown. According to Reuters, the United Kingdom had 36,572 new cases and 113 deaths on Thursday and it is out of any sort of lockdown. The people are learning to live with the virus, fully aware that it will not be going away any time soon. Why do our leaders not take note of this? My family is beginning to really suffer, as are many others. Please let us start to recover ourselves. The mental strain is intolerable.
Jo Olsen, Blairgowrie

We need to keep our situation in perspective

I was going to write to the newspaper to whinge about all the things I am missing out on in lockdown but then I thought: Am I starving? Is someone with a gun knocking on my door? It made wearing a mask seem so minor.
James Lane, Hampton East

THE FORUM

Let’s all mask up

Ben Cowie, Victoria’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, says that of the state’s active cases, 89 are under the age of 10 and that this represents 26per cent of the cases in the current outbreak (The Age, 20/8). So when is it going to be mandatory for children to wear masks? Everyone over the age of two in Hong Kong has had to wear a mask when outside the home for well over 12 months. Simple, cheap – and maybe the playgrounds could be reopened.
Julie Moffat, Preston

Checking in for play

As a frequenter of playgrounds in the Yarra Ranges with my granddaughter, I would like to be able to sign in to them with a QR code. Then if a person who is there at the relevant time has COVID-19, the contact tracers would be able to notify me of our exposure. I propose that the Victorian government mandate the use of QR codes at playgrounds and councils install them.
Fred Tropp-Asher, Mooroolbark

The right to be jabbed

All the talk of allowing fully vaccinated people into the grand final and other such events is unfair on the those aged 16 to 30 who are only now being allowed to get Pfizer due to the government’s vaccine rollout stuff ups. They had no choice until recently to even get AstraZeneca, and had to watch while older Australians were vaccinated first. It is only right that we get our young vaccinated before we open up and make vaccination a right of entry to events or travel.
Sally Milne, Camberwell

Let’s all work together

Unfortunately, as we enter the third week of the current, “short, sharp, snap lockdown”, we are seeing more and more examples of civil disobedience. This is happening because people are confused, afraid and tired and they have real concerns about families, jobs, social interaction, mental well-being and the future.

The lack of a national strategy on how to handle COVID-19, a series of missteps on quarantine, border control, aged care and vaccination failures, coupled with a large amount of political waffle, has worsened the situation. It is time the national cabinet put politics aside and developed a real plan that is uniformly applied across Australia to get us through this crisis.
James Young, Mount Eliza

Creating fun in lockdown

Many of us grew up reasonably sane without playgrounds and skateparks, and attended schools that did not offer musicals, debating or camps (Letters, 19/8). For fitness, why not speed-walk and explore your five-kilometre zone? Bike riding? Time trials as you jog around the oval? Online gym, yoga or zumba? Backyard cricket or footy with dad?

For young creative spirits, there are dress-ups, stories and plays (reading, writing or acting them), and for older kids, try photography , woodwork or art. Get together as a family and try learning a new language. Make posters featuring key words or images. Google to discover life “over there”. Tackle the Age’s puzzles page. Get out the board games. Cook up a storm. Ring up grandma. Do the family history. This will ease the pressure on our mental health resources.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills

The exit is this way

I wonder whether people (especially politicians and others who have lost nothing financially in this crisis) who say “We can’t go on living like this” have fully grasped the essential truth that the alternative is “We can start dying like that”. Well into the second year of a pandemic, is that their dire vision for our future? The way out is, of course, vaccination (and lots of it), the sooner the better. We can do it.
Ian Powell, Elsternwick

The one-stop shop

Recently I visited Alfred Hospital’s COVID-19 testing site and experienced a fast, efficient and very friendly service. The results were back in five hours. Kudos to the team. Curiously though, not one of the four staff members I encountered asked me if I was vaccinated, or if I had considered getting vaccinated. What about this idea – a test and a jab for those who are unvaccinated and eligible?
Mandi Berry, Melbourne

Tightening our borders

If truck drivers are a COVID-19 source/risk, try a “trailer exchange setup” on the border as there is at Nhill. Both northbound and southbound drivers drop trailers off, pick up the counterpart trailers and take these back where the driver came from. It might take a bit of organisation – but it might also tighten the border.
Bernd Aberle, Southbank

Loss of a true legend

Bachar Houli wanted to play as many games as possible for the Tigers and he felt he had more footy in him (The Age, 20/8). So do I. I cannot help thinking that Damien Hardwick has ended his career prematurely. Houli deserved better.
Lyn Hudson, Kew

A perilous situation

The Taliban are showing signs that their promise to respect human rights cannot be believed. They have had 20years to become media savvy but life under them, especially with their interpretation of sharia, will be extremely repressive, especially for women.

I would welcome any Afghan refugee who manages to get to Australia, be they arrive in a canoe, on a raft or on the back of Superman. Malcolm Fraser showed compassion and leadership in the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees. Cannot Scott Morrison do the same?
Maria Prendergast, Kew

Abandoning our mates

When it comes to settling refugees in Australia, Afghanistan poses a new challenge. Until now it has not been difficult for the government to ostracise exotic minorities like Rohingya Muslims, Uighurs, Yazidis and Tamils. It has been easy to dog whistle a gap between “us” and “them” because Australia cannot be directly linked to the source of their displacement.

Australians seem more ready to accept a narrative from the government that anything we do for those people is a huge favour rather than a legal humanitarian obligation. This story becomes more difficult to sell when the people you are abandoning are loyal mates who worked beside our soldiers in a war in their country, one that we chose to join and lost.
Greg Flanagan, Gisborne

Towards citizenship

The situation with people fleeing Afghanistan raises the sensitive issue of visas for refugees in Australia. The current options of temporary protection visas and bridging visas will again be inadequate. Urgently needed is a policy change to permanent protection visas for those fleeing Afghanistan currently and the thousands of legitimate asylum seekers who have been languishing in Australia on temporary visas. A pathway to citizenship is long overdue.
Russell Crellin, Greensborough

Take a deep breath …

Does anyone have perspective at the moment, including your editorial (The Age, 20/8)? Malcolm Fraser had a great record of refugee resettlement from Vietnam, but it happened over seven years of a planned immigration program. Bob Hawke allowed 40,000 Chinese students to resettle here after Tiananmen Square. They were in the country, by the way.

Afghanistan is a chaotic, uncontrolled situation with a nearly controlled airport runway in which the Taliban, for the moment, have promised not to fire at departing aircraft. If a C-17 with 600 people on board were shot down, I suppose that would be Scott Morrison’s fault too.
Murray Horne, Cressy

Why we need Langer

Australian cricket was on its knees following “sandpaper gate” and cultural reform was needed. Enter Justin Langer. What follows is higher standards, high performance expectations and improved results. Now we read that some on the inside find his style confronting and uncomfortable (Sport, 19/9). As an average Australian looking ahead to a “beat the English at all cost” summer and give the public something to smile about and bring the nation together, I believe we should re-sign Langer on a longer-term deal. Those on the inside cannot have it both ways.
Troy Jones, Wattle Glen

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

COVID-19

First there were green shoots, then light at the end of the tunnel. Who are you kidding, Gladys?
Mayda Semec, Brighton East

Hopefully I’m not run over as I zig zag across the road to avoid people wearing masks around their necks.
Jack Ginger, South Caulfield

I’d rather see playgrounds closed temporarily than seriously ill children.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod

I want to be free to walk down the street without being endangered by a misguided, maskless anti-vaxxer.
Bob Edgar, Strathfieldsaye

It’s 70 years since Delta won the Melbourne Cup. I hope we can celebrate the cup this year and say Delta is beaten.
Graeme Russell, North Warrandyte

I’ve seen about 25 million vaccinations on TV, so can I assume that we’re all fully vaccinated?
Bruce Love, East Melbourne

Afghanistan

When game changers are needed, go to the “wedges cupboard” and bring out proven vote winners: people smugglers, illegals and boat people.
Bruce MacKenzie, South Kingsville

If Afghanis were white and spoke English as their first language they’d have a better chance of being resettled here.
Rick Luther, Carnegie

Scott Morrison, did 170,000-plus Afghans also not die in vain?
Helen Hanrahan, Lower Plenty

Furthermore

It’s no surprise farmers are “switched on” re climate change (20/8). To do otherwise is a self-inflicted, economic shot in the foot.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

As if it weren’t depressing enough already, last Saturday it rained on the summit of Greenland for the first time.
Geoff Witten, Lower Plenty

Are parents who currently despair for their children without playgrounds sustaining this effort into action on climate change?
Emily Spiller, Harrietville

So the poor Sussexes “can’t move on” (20/8)? The Queen must think that she is encountering Diana Mark II.
Anna Summerfield, Bendigo

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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