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Why was compulsory vaccination ruled out?

But as for the matter of getting vaccinated, you and your unvaccinated friends should be aware that you are hindering other Victorians’ efforts to reach the vaccination target and enable this lockdown to be lifted, restrictions to be eased and life to start returning to normal.

Unless you have a legitimate reason for not getting the vaccination, especially considering that it’s now readily available at pharmacies, I call that being selfish and unethical. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and realise that it’s not always about “me, me, me”.
John Howes, Rowville

A matter of priorities
As a 60-year-old immune-compromised cancer patient, who was double vaccinated with AstraZeneca at the earliest opportunity, I shall be distressed if hospital priority is given to a 50-year-old COVID-19 patient who chose not to get vaccinated despite being given ample opportunity to do so.

Frankly, I can’t see why our hospitals should be required to accept, let alone prioritise, any unvaccinated adult COVID patients after the end of this year, unless those patients have a genuine (and really rare) health exemption from vaccines.
Kairen Harris, Brunswick

Perhaps this time has arrived
Perhaps there is now a place for distinguishing between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Recent data from the Centres for Disease Control in the US shows that unvaccinated people are 11 times as likely as vaccinated people to die of COVID-19.

With that level of risk, as well as knowing that all current ICU patients with COVID-19 in Victoria including those on ventilators are unvaccinated, why would any unvaccinated people want to socialise outside their home? If you are not vaccinated the sensible, safe thing to do is to isolate yourself until you are vaccinated, otherwise the odds of significant harm from acquiring COVID-19 are unacceptably high.
John Togno, Mandurang

THE FORUM

Another crisis looms
Recently a COVID-positive patient attended a doctor at the general practice where I work.
Subsequently, the five doctors, four reception staff and practice nurse on duty were advised to home quarantine for 14 days as mandated – despite the fact that the four GPs not involved with the index case were in another corridor far distant and at no risk.

Our reception area is around 300 square metres and well ventilated.

It is a reasonable guess that, with rising case numbers there will be one exposure in most practices every month rendering closure 50 per cent of the time, consequently reducing primary healthcare at a time when it is desperately needed.

Primary healthcare in Victoria is about to face a serious crisis in delivery of services. I feel there is an urgent need to assess a contact site’s risk on a case-by-case basis and decide who does need to quarantine and enable practices to continue operating where the risk is low.
Dr Tarquin Oehr, Richmond

Home quarantine
I despair at Australia’s international border policies. My daughter and her husband are stranded in the UK with no income and no home after their commercial flights were cancelled and not rescheduled.

They have been working in the UK for the past seven years in the secondary education sector and had made a booking in January this year to fly one way to Australia to start a new life here in October, their travel date planned to allow sufficient time for my son-in-law’s spouse visa to be processed.
On Saturday, their flights were cancelled with no explanation. I assume the reason is the lack of hotel quarantine beds available.

My daughter and son-in-law pose a minimal public health risk. They are both fully vaccinated with the TGA-approved Pfizer vaccine. My entire household is fully vaccinated, too, so I can see no logical reason for us not being able to quarantine at home together.

When will government policy align with public health more sensibly for returning Australians? I am heartbroken. It’s been years since I’ve seen my daughter.
Jenny Thompson, Thornbury

Is this a captain’s pick?
I was astounded at Anthony Albanese’s decision to endorse Kristina Keneally to represent the safe Labor seat of Fowler over Tu Le, who lives there and is part of the community. Ms Keneally was a rather ordinary premier of NSW and CEO for Basketball Australia.

What happened to meritocracy, Mr Albanese? Is this a captain’s pick? The decision is a worrying one in someone who aspires to lead the country.
Barbara Cohen, Brighton East

Grief makes no distinction
By all means, let us remember, mourn and recite the names of the innocent people who died in the 9/11 attacks in America.

Let us be thankful also that we know their names. But we should also spare a thought for the nameless, countless thousands who were also the innocent victims of that terrible event and sentenced to death in absentia, their only crime being that they shared the same land as the guilty.

They were the women, children and old men who in their desperate subsistence existence held no grudges or planned any harm to a city many of them would not have known existed.

The unrestrained thirst for revenge is understandable, but wiser heads should have prevailed. Grief makes no distinction between an Afghan peasant and an American firefighter. We unfortunately, and perhaps unconsciously, do.
Nick Brennan, Rowville

Take a leaf out of his book
What a contrast last week in the reported news of The Age between the financial takers and the givers.
Luxury retailers and businesses have reaped millions of dollars from JobKeeper despite increasing their profits. How refreshing to see the news of our renowned philosopher Peter Singer giving his $US1-million award from the esteemed Berggruen Institute to non-profit organisations working to protect those in extreme poverty and suffering animals.

Let’s hope the takers can be inspired to take a leaf out of Peter Singer’s book and give back for the greater good.
Chris Nathan, Clifton Hill

An enlightening read
Bruce Pascoe’s defence of his position expressed in his book Dark Emu makes an informative and enlightening read (“Let’s have a conversation, not a screaming match, about our history”, The Age,11/9).
Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe in their critique Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate apparently are concerned that Dark Emu lacked “scholarship”.

I read Dark Emu with interest and I will hasten to acquaint myself with Sutton’s and Walshe’s writing, and I encourage the reading of both works to all readers of The Age.

The more we are better informed about our early and continuing history as relative newcomers to this continent, the better chances we will have to recognise the civilisation that existed here before the “invasion” by our white population.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was disregarded by the then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull when it was presented to him.

Let’s not follow his example. Grow up, Australia, and recognise the gift we have received from our First Nations peoples and live a life of tolerance and acceptance and generosity in our relatively new sharing of this land.
Elizabeth Gallois, St Kilda

A path to the MCG
What better time for a vaccination passport than now?

It would allow 60,000 double-dosed Melburnians into the MCG, the home of the AFL grand final, to see two local clubs play for the prize that the season has been all about.
Peter Sparkes, Templestowe Lower

I’m glad he’s not PM
Former prime minister Tony Abbott was caught near a Sydney beach not wearing a mask when he should have been – he is someone who should have known better.

He was dobbed in and fined $500 – pocket money for him. He refuses to accept he was in the wrong saying “I believe that I was well within the law, reasonably interpreted. But I am not going to challenge the fine because I am not going to waste police time,” he said. “And I never thought dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character. I think as soon as we can leave this health police state mindset behind us, the better for everyone.”

I am so glad he isn’t our prime minister during this pandemic.
John Cummings, Anglesea

What’s the difference?
Is there any real difference between a “vaccine blitz” targeting some of Melbourne’s suburbs and one that targets people in Sydney during a surge in infections?

Both take vaccines and resources from a less affected area and move them to a more affected area.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

Lodge at The Lodge
Thank you, Tony Wright, for calling out such an egregious fault in this federation of ours (“PM for Sydney could try a little Lodging”, Insight, 11/9).

The prime minister of the day has a magnificent harbourside property at Kirribilli in Sydney that he/she can choose to live in. So where is the equivalent in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Darwin? Is he/she obliged to live in any of these cities?

If the president of the United States is expected to live in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, DC, and the British prime minister is expected to live in 10 Downing Street, then we, the taxpayers, ought to be able to expect that the prime minister of the day (regardless of political affiliation) and his or her family will live in The Lodge.
Anthony Clifford, Wendouree

When ‘cancel culture’ is OK
It is curious how often some conservatives who are foremost in denouncing the so-called “cancel culture” are, in many instances, the first to want to shut down any discussion of matters they don’t agree with when it comes to certain contentious issues.

There can be no better example of the application of “cancel culture” by conservatives than reports that the federal Education Minister, Alan Tudge, is seeking to remove from the draft school curriculum any reference or discussion of “contested” views in relation to certain events in Australian history, including the Anzac legend.

Provided such views are not racist, offensive and have some basis in fact, they are the very things that should form part of the school curriculum and discussed in a balanced and considered way.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

It’s worth the read, Mr Guy
I hope that Matthew Guy takes the time to read Nyadol Nyuon’s Saturday Reflection (“We remember fear campaign, Mr Guy”, Comment, 11/9).

The fact that Mr Guy and his colleagues thought they were on a vote winner by vilifying the African community shows how low they were prepared to go. Fortunately, the people of Victoria rejected them out of hand.

Has Matthew Guy learnt anything during his time in the wilderness? Does he acknowledge the damage that campaign created? Time will tell, but I, for one, doubt it.
Ann Maginness, Sandringham

AND ANOTHER THING

Gladys Berejiklian
It seems an odd time for Gladys Berejiklian to worry about not doing her job properly.
Jeff Johnston, Murrumbeena

Credit:

Gladys Berejiklian claims that she cannot do her job properly while holding daily press conferences: After reflecting on her performance over the last three months, a lot of Victorians will agree with her.
Natashia Curtin, Aspendale

Gladys Berejiklian has decided not to front the media on a daily basis regarding COVID updates. Does NSW not have a Deputy Premier ?
Peng Ee, Castle Cove, NSW

NSW, lock down too late and open up too early.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

Politics
If Tim Smith is “Guy’s most important ally” (“Guess who?”, Insight, 11/9), what hope do the Liberals have?
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

I assume Scott Morrison will let us know when he has repaid the cost of the RAAF jet he used to fly to Sydney for Father’s Day.
Jan Storey, Beaumaris

The surprise would have been if Matthew Guy actually kept any of those who voted against him.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

How easy it is to be in opposition. Simply oppose any COVID strategy, something will stick.
Gary Bryfman, Brighton

The history wars
What’s worse than fake news is fake history.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

Furthermore
It’s only fair that Melbourne makes the grand final. Their supporters have missed two ski seasons in a row.
Niko Melaluka, Fairfield

I believe Adam Treloar and Ben Brown should send thank you cards to Collingwood and North Melbourne respectively, considering where those teams finished this year.
George Djoneff, Mitcham

Finally
This protracted domestic opera in which we find ourselves, The Bin Cycle.
Trevor Martin, St Leonards

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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