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Our duty not to put other people at risk

The high cost if a company has to close due to COVID

I am astounded that some small-business owners do not understand why they should only allow vaccinated patrons on their premises. Their responsibilities for the health and safety of their staff and customers should be front of mind.

Can’t they foresee the impact if staff or customers contract COVID-19, forcing the shutdown of their business, and negative reputational impact? Especially if some people become seriously ill. This is a pandemic. COVID-19 can make us seriously ill, or kill us. And it is already overloading our ambulance service and hospitals. We all have a responsibility to stop the spread and protect each other, business owners included.
Graeme Russell, Clifton Hill

We all have the right to access free vaccines

Some experts warn that insisting people get vaccinated for COVID-19 in exchange for jobs or services risks entrenching disadvantage (The Age, 28/9). This is incorrect and misleading.

Whereas disadvantage generally stems from lack of opportunity, or financial power, or education, none of these factors are present in relation to being vaccinated. Just because there may be a lower rate of vaccination in certain suburbs at the moment, and these suburbs have a higher proportion of disadvantaged residents, it does not mean they are disadvantaged in getting vaccinated.

The vaccinations are free, everyone has equal opportunity to obtain them and you do not need education to access them. If vaccine passports are introduced, there will be no difference in a person obtaining one based on their education, wealth or postcode. In fact, the Victorian government is promoting vaccinations within some of the socially disadvantaged areas to improve the take-up.
David Ford, Camberwell


Using us as guinea pigs

Holly Lawford-Smith (Opinion, 27/9) says the objections to vaccination given by the two women she spoke to – one of them being that COVID-19 had not been around long enough for longitudinal studies on the vaccines’ effects – are “reasonable”, although she adds their concern may be “misguided”.

What if we all waited until that happened? Then there would be no one to be studied. What they are saying is “we want to know if the vaccine is safe for everyone else before we will consider having it”. That is as unreasonable (and selfish) as I have ever heard.
Don Jordan, Mount Waverley

Logic and vaccination

Hopefully, one of the lessons learnt from the pandemic, especially in relation to the question of vaccination, is the importance of critical thinking skills and the need to develop these as an essential component of the school curriculum.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

The tables have turned

Now that Victoria is recording more daily COVID-19 cases (with significant less testing) than NSW, are those correspondents who were quick to praise Daniel Andrews and condemn Gladys Berejiklian on their handling of this third wave still keeping score?
Lindsay Cooper, Brighton East

My right to be masked

I am a crippled, elderly woman who uses two walking sticks. I wear my mask and my shirt with “Fully Vaxxed” written on it because they reassure others and amuse them when I walk and shop. Now, I have been warned that to do so is dangerous because of recent assaults on law-abiding people like me. I will not be intimidated by mindless bullies and cowards. Is this not a shameful situation to find myself in in Australia?
Name withheld, Camberwell

We must stand united

There has been an enormous build-up of stress in the past 18 months and once restrictions are lifted, these fracture lines will widen dramatically when an us and them/vaxxed and unvaxxed community is created. If unrest continues, our only option will be to look to our leaders to maintain order. But with social media feeding and fuelling public opinion, and our leaders being referred to with emotive terms and name calling, it will make their job so much harder.

Whether we agree with them or not, they are what we have right now, and this negative rhetoric needs to stop. Inflammatory name-calling only serves to create a rift in our community at a time when we should be standing together. Let our leaders do their job and judge them at the ballot box.
Noel Richardson, Mitcham

The good news stories

Thank you for your series, “Local heroes”. The first thing I want to get to when I open The Age every morning is this. A simple reminder that there is so much good in our community. Thank you for highlighting this. Praise be.
Trang Nguyen, Sunshine North

Resurrection of Keating?

Paul Keating’s piece (Opinion, 29/9) is a wonderful reminder of a time when our prime ministers had a vision and understood the need to work within our region. It has been 25 years since we have had a prime minister with Keating’s ability to communicate the issues and the humour is the icing on the cake. Come back, Paul, as by world leadership age standards, you are a spring chicken.
Viviane King, Milawa

Great versus insignificant

While John Hewson, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating turn their considerable intellects to analysing the big strategic choices facing Australia, Scott Morrison stands smirking on the steps of Number 10 waving a packet of Tim Tams and Anthony Albanese asks himself what the bloke at the pub thinks. How on earth did it come to this?
Kairen Harris, Brunswick

Prepare for future fires

We watched The Drum (ABC TV) this week about the fire situation in our country. It is inevitable that fires and devastation will happen again and again. Hundreds and hundreds of homes will be destroyed and whole communities will be lost. Worse will be the loss of life. Why spend billions on nuclear submarines when 100 water helicopters would save homes and lives? Also if new dams were built strategically. Where is our compassion? Who is going to move on this?
Tui and Jim Beggs, North Balwyn

Seeking customer service

A curse on companies and government departments which are too cheap to hire enough telephone staff so we have to wait for hours on hold. An extra curse on those which do not tell us at the start whether the wait will be two minutes, two hours or infinite. And more curses on those which don’t offer, “Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you”. More curses to the designers of websites who make the process unnecessarily complicated, hide the important tabs and instructions in small type in some obscure position, and tell us that we have done something wrong but do not tell us what. You have only so much public goodwill, and when we get angry you lose it.
Marilyn Hewish, Darley

Your diary is free, PM

The Prime Minister may not attend the Glasgow conference on November with other heads of state owing to other priorities. Who or what organisation would attempt to organise a meeting with him around that time?
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton

An eye opener in Scotland

As a Glaswegian, I feel it is probably best if Scott Morrison does not go to Glasgow. It will be too much of a head spin for him to be in a country where everyone enjoys free entry to art galleries and museums, tertiary education and if you want to send your kids to a school outside of the government system (if you can find one) – you pay the lot. He definitely will not want to see the charging points for electric vehicles sited outside government buildings and hooked up next to parking meters.
Simon Clegg, Donvale

Not PM’s doing, Nancy

Nancy Pelosi, like millions of Australians we have invested in solar panels for our homes. I can assure you that our Prime Minister had nothing to do with it.
Lawrence Ingvarson, Canterbury

Spend the money wisely

Why not get the $13 billion back from those businesses that made a profit out of the JobKeeper cash splash and give it to the coal miners who lose their jobs?
David Moore, Kew

The type of MP we need

Why is a trustworthy, clever and sensible person like Darren Chester being forced to consider his position in Parliament ( The Age, 27/9?) Don’t leave the “circus” to the clowns, Darren, we need you more than ever.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

Melting glass ceiling

At 53 years old, this was the first year I have ever watched the AFL grand final. What a brilliant game. It gave my family and me much needed joy in lockdown.

I stopped being an active AFL supporter when I was told, as a child, that I could not play professionally because of my sex. I stopped engaging with the AFL when I was told I would be very unlikely to be employed in any high level, professional role in any club because of my gender.

So despite enjoying the grand final, and the fact that I am thrilled there is now the AFLW, I will not be a paid-up member of a club, pay to attend a game, watch or listen to footy commentary or commercially support the AFL until there is pay equality between the AFLW and AFL and equal gender representation throughout the AFL. I will use my purse to fan the flames to melt the glass ceiling.
Kimberley Grieger, Berwick

Just deliver my mail

My letterbox, empty on Tuesday, yesterday contained a leaflet featuring special offers if I take out insurance policies with Australia Post online – along with a large bundle of letters, some dated more than three weeks earlier. Is this service typical of the efficiency I may expect if I trust Australia Post in “delivering new, great value home and car insurance”? I would prefer it if they concentrated on their mandate to deliver mail.
Keith Tupper, Macleod

Vaping and nicotine

Re “Vape rules will drive smokers back to old habits” (Opinion, 27/9). From October 1, people who want to use vaping products containing nicotine as a means to quitting smoking will be able to do so under medical guidance through obtaining a prescription.

This decision brings the importation rules into the line with state and territory regulations. We are taking measures to protect children and others from unrestricted access to vaping imports, which are already banned for sale in Australia without prescription.

New Medicare rebates started in July for face-to-face, telehealth and phone consultations to support smoking cessation. Already, this new item has been used over 1000 times. Any of Australia’s almost 100,000 registered medical practitioners may currently prescribe nicotine containing e-cigarettes that can be used by consumers for personal importation.

It is ultimately up to a doctor whether prescribing products is medically appropriate. It should be noted that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ smoking cessation guidelines state that nicotine-vaping products are not first-line treatments for smoking cessation. While I understand that these decisions are often contentious, they are made in the best interests of overall public health based on the expert medical advice.
Greg Hunt, Minister for Health

Mysteries of the UAP

After reading Craig Kelly’s full-page letter (The Age, 24/9) I responded to the email address, not to join the United Australia Party but to comment about his statements. I pushed “send” and up came a message telling me that my email had failed because it was an invalid email address. Strange.
Greg Bardin, Altona North



It would be more sensible to invest in firefighting aircraft now rather than submarines in the future when they’re likely to be obsolete.
Noel McKinnon, Frankston

It’s hard to take a lecture from Bridget McKenzie on values.
Graham Parton, Beechworth

Chester is too honest and skilful to be wasting his time with the Nationals.
Mark Hill, Middle Park

Vote 1 Paul Keating (29/9) for prime minister.
John Harris, Williamstown


Whoopee. At last we’ve got something bigger and better than NSW – more daily case numbers.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

Andrews’ road map is ridden with too many no-through roads, roundabouts and one-way streets.
Antonia Romanidis, Caulfield North

I can’t understand why anyone would refuse to accept a vaccine that might save their life or protect others.
Carole Nicholls, Surrey Hills

Why the fuss about exclusions for unvaccinated adults? Children can’t go to childcare unless they’re vaccinated.
Jennifer Monger, Benalla

Climate change

“We’re talking about the future of humanity itself” (Editorial, 29/9). Could Joyce, McKenzie, Canavan et al read and reflect on that powerful comment.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie

Clearly McKenzie sees there’s sport in claiming zero net emissions are a rort.
Andrew McFarland, Templestowe

Many countries have carbon emissions schemes. Australia has a carbon omissions scheme.
Pete Sands Monbulk

Is Morrison reluctant to go to Glasgow because he plans to announce an election date in November, for December?
Mike Puleston, Brunswick

Climate change or ScoMo’s job? What is the priority?
David Baker, Parkdale

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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