A duty to ensure our children are protected

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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COVID-19

A duty to ensure our children are protected

Yesterday morning I sent my son to school for the first time in months. As a teacher and former engineer, I knew the ventilation in many classrooms would not be sufficient to reduce transmission of COVID-19, so I waited – and waited – for the state government’s promised air purifiers to materialise at my son’s school. They are nowhere to be seen. Now, nearly five weeks into the term, my resolve has cracked and I have sent my son into an environment that I know is not as safe as it should be.

My postcode has been among the top 10 in Victoria for new and active cases this week, and yet the government has abandoned us. Living with COVID-19 means deploying multiple strategies including compulsory masks and improved ventilation in all schools. But young children are the only people in society who are expected to forgo any protections in the name of freedom. My son is six years old. He is precious to me, but the state government seems to think he is not worth even the minimum of effort. Shame on it.
Amanjit Gill, Narre Warren

I am double jabbed but am unable to prove it

I had my first jab on May 1 and my second one on July 24. The first injection is listed on the Medicare site but the second one is not, therefore my immunisation certificate cannot be obtained from Medicare. After repeated attempts to rectify the situation by visiting Jeff’s Shed, where I had the vaccinations, and several submissions to the website dedicated to “missing” immunisation data, I have received no acknowledgement nor action to rectify the situation.

I now read that non-essential retail outlets in Victoria will close their doors to those who are unable to verify double vaccinations on November 24 (The Age, 10/11). I have been a huge supporter of the vaccination program and generally approve of the state government’s track record. However, how are innocents, such as myself, to lead a life which is impacted by bureaucratic bungling? I have done the right things, but will be penalised because faceless bureaucrats seemingly are unable to do their jobs. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
Howard Pribble, Middle Park

The serious risk when elective surgery is banned

Health Minister Martin Foley, I understand that the hospital system is under extreme stress due to COVID-19 patients and has limited elective surgeries to the most critical only. However, my husband has a family history of bowel cancer. It is recommended that he have a colonoscopy screening every two years. He is unable to book even a private one at this stage. Instead, he is forced to wait indefinitely, or until his symptoms of bowel cancer become so critical that his colonoscopy is permitted. Surely COVID-19 patients do not need a private bed in a colonoscopy day surgery.

This situation is not unique and potential cancer cases are being undetected, allowed to grow, and prove much more difficult to manage. Surely not all elective surgery needs to be stopped. Can’t the government set certain categories where COVID-19 patients are unlikely to be impacted. Please address this situation before a tide of previously preventable cancer patients emerges.
Grace O’Neill, Scoresby

A dedicated COVID site where the staff are safe

I owe the Royal Melbourne Hospital my life after I was admitted some years ago while suffering an acute asthma attack. Ever since then its staff have provided me with magnificent follow-up care. So I have been so saddened to hear of the abuse these wonderful people, as well as those at other hospitals, are receiving from unvaccinated patients who cannot believe they have COVID-19, and are possibly dying.

I feel sorry for people who, for good medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated. But for the rest, I wish them the best, but think the best solution would be to create or convert a dedicated facility where care can be given in a good protective environment, safeguarding staff from abuse. Perhaps the no-longer needed quarantine hotels would fit the bill?
Anthony Clarke, Woodend

THE FORUM

Too terrible to talk about

For some young men in WWI, the war zones were the only home they had known since teenage hood. They had witnessed death and horror to an extent nobody could have foreseen in 1914. They had experienced deprivation of food, warmth and sleep. They had seen their best friends die horrible deaths. Many would have been on the cusp of shell shock at war’s end. People at home would have been curious, asking “what was it like?“, but no one would have understood. It would have been indescribable. So I wonder how many men were filled with anxiety on this day 103 years ago and thought “I don’t want to go home”.
Kay Vanos, Neerim South

The futility of all wars

On Armistice Day 2021 this Nasho remembers the shameful conscription announcement by Prime Minister Robert Menzies on November 10, 1964 requiring 20-year-olds to register for army service in the US-led Vietnam War. Sixty-one thousand Australians served there.

Successive Australian governments engaged in similar bloody US adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan when thousands of innocent civilians were killed. The Morrison government now commits our nation to AUKUS and the construction of incredibly costly nuclear submarines. Why?
Neil Tolliday, Werribee

France and nuclear subs

Chris Uhlmann (Comment 10/11) writes, “If France could deliver a submarine as potent as the political strike its President launched on the Australian Prime Minister, this nation has pulled the wrong rein opting to go nuclear. Alas it can’t”. Actually it could. The French submarine that Australia planned to buy was nuclear-powered but the government insisted that it be converted to diesel-electric.
Michael Barrett, North Balwyn

True representation

Thank you, Sunita Gloster – “Bravest ad makers will cut stereotypes” (Opinion, 9/12). We are very slowly beginning to see advertising that reflects the wonderful diversity of our society. I believe an increase in advertising that reflects the real “us” in gender, nationality, culture and ability will go a long way towards increasing our sense of identity and enhancing our respect for others.
Betty Alexander, Caulfield

Monstrosity of a plan

Well, there goes any claims for Melbourne to be a liveable city with a proposal to link a chain of towers encapsulating 9000 apartments, sundry shops, restaurants and potentially an education precinct (The Age, 10/11).

Towering over the green parklands Melbourne is rightly proud of, these towers will be a blot on the landscape. COVID-19 provided us with an opportunity to redesign public and private spaces and rethink how and where we live, work and play. It appears to have been a short-lived opportunity for a reset. Let us hope this project does not get off the ground.
Denise Stevens, Healesville

An irresponsible approach

The ‴⁣⁣$25 billion towers plan” lacks any site analysis and design evaluation. Exemplified even in this photograph is the shadow cast over the tennis and sports centres and public outdoor spaces to the south, and the overlooking to residential precincts to the north. The scale dwarfs the might of the MCG and challenges the heights of buildings announcing the CBD. The development of air rights over the ugly noisy tracks with a linear park and building of up to five stories maximum is a responsible approach. These 20-storey buildings are not.
Peter Hirst, architect and town planner, Eaglemont

Such a lack of imagination

The old Gas and Fuel buildings created a wall, shutting off Flinders Street from the Yarra River. They were hated and demolished. The proposed development of the Jolimont rail yards is described by the developers as “a nation-building project” and a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” (for them). In fact, the row of buildings would be another ugly high-rise wall, permanently shutting off the eastern end of the city from the Yarra. No amount of hatred would get these buildings demolished, once built. Developers have already managed to turn the CBD into a hotchpotch of eccentric dog boxes. The rail yards need more imagination than this poor effort.
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne

Which PM is fair dinkum?

Who is the real Scott Morrison? Is he the one bringing a lump of coal into Parliament, telling us not to be afraid or the one at COP20 pledging net zero admissions by 2050? Is he the one who poured scorn on Labor’s pre-election, electric vehicle promise or the one who is now willing to pledge millions to support EVs?
Jan Storey, Beaumaris

Moving to campaign mode

When the Labor Party advocates the use of electric vehicles it is, according to the Prime Minister, “telling people what to do”, regardless of financial incentive. When the Coalition advocates the use of electric vehicles, it is encouragement, albeit without financial incentive. Could it be that the difference between “telling” and “encouraging” is not electricity but an election?
Trevor Hay, Montmorency

Not resting easy yet

I was relieved to see on the news that I no longer need to fear the demise of the weekend. However, I still wait to be reassured about the $100 lamb roast, not to mention the retiree tax on the shares I do not own.
Kay Heath, Rosebud

A very timely match

Perhaps the Prime Minister can put new electric car charging stations in some of the train station car parks which are being built in Coalition-held seats. They should be completed about the same time that we get our new submarines. Citroens and Renaults will not be permitted.
Paul Kinna, South Caulfield

Benefiting the outsiders

How does increasing the car park capacity at our local train station help our electorate when we can walk to the station? Surely it is for the benefit of commuters who live outside of our electorate.
Robin George, Canterbury

A brave dog with bark

Stephen Charles, QC, lists the essential features of a federal anti-corruption watchdog (Opinion, 9/11). Instead, the Liberals are proposing a small and showy dog, one with no real sense of smell and restrained from any barking or vigorous activity at all times.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ranking in Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index continues to fall. In 1995 it ranked seventh. We are now hovering around 11th to 13th. We need an active and clever watchdog with plenty of bark, one which is able to sniff out corruption and is fearless against even the most powerful and feral dogs.
Ann Birrell, St Kilda West

Close all the loopholes

Your editorial (The Age, 9/11) indicates that we need an integrity body “fit for purpose”. I believe we need one that has the power to stamp out political corruption of all types. Fit for purpose is not a solution. It will allow too many loopholes. So, let us toughen up and aim for an ICAC-type system.
Brian Rodger, Essendon

A lack of human rights

It is lamentable to read the false narrative repeated by Dr Jennifer Hsu that I “insisted” that Australian citizens of Chinese descent condemn the Chinese Communist Party before a parliamentary inquiry – “Chinese Australians need not be targets of suspicion” (Opinion, 9/11).

In the witnesses’ capacity as experts on China and leaders in their field, they were asked – I did not insist – as to why they could not bring themselves to condemn a regime with one million of its citizens in detention camps, that practices forced organ harvesting on prisoners of conscience, threatens the people of Taiwan, denies democracy of Hong Kongers and persecutes people of diverse faiths. In short, its human rights record is a shocker. It is a pity that Dr Hsu cannot condemn such a regime.

I have been heartened by the overwhelming support from the Chinese diaspora for saying the things that they would like to say but are too scared to say for fear of retribution by the dictatorship on relatives back home or by local operatives in Australia.
Senator Eric Abetz, Canberra

ALP’s chance to shine

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash declines to amend the federal law to permit telehealth consultations for regional patients with a terminal illness seeking to use assisted dying laws. Instead desperately ill people must travel to the city to see a specialist in person. Her spokesman says “this is a matter for state governments” (The Age, 6/10).

Come on, federal ALP, this is an easy one. State Labor governments have done the hard work by introducing assisted dying laws. Now differentiate yourself from the Coalition and promise to change the federal law. This is not just the right thing to do but would enjoy massive public support.
Catherine Watson, Wonthaggi

The richest and poorest

The placing of two articles on the same page of your paper (World, 10/11) says it all: “Children suffer as hunger grips millions” and below it, “Rich enjoy pandemic tailwind on superyachts”. We are a divided world indeed.
Katherine Rechtman, North Carlton

Parties are out of touch

Regardless of preselection having more apparent impact than the public vote and minority coalition parties holding the power balance, the real issue seems to be that our party system represents historic party platforms, not those of the future. Victoria is a case in point. Which of today’s mainstream parties reflects an electorate that is socially progressive but economically conservative?
Ric Clarke, Hampton

Women, please speak up

Scott Morrison loves “quiet Australians”. Is this why we rarely hear from the seven female cabinet ministers he nominated as “the Women’s Cabinet”?
Trish Randles, Strathdale

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Environment

Which EV has the tightest turning circle? The all new, improved, green Morrison MK 11.
Pete Sands, Monbulk

Oh, no. It sounds like Morrison has stolen Shorten’s weekend.
Greg Lee, Red Hill

What will be the power source for Scomo’s electric charging stations? Gas or coal?
Lyn Beaumont, Bentleigh

Will some of these promised charging stations be located in some of the promised car parks?
John Rosenbrock, Mount Martha

That’s the great thing about EVs. They can turn on a five cent piece.
Barrie O’Shea, Surrey Hills

Did anyone at Glasgow dare to mention population growth as a contributor to increasing carbon emissions?
Penny Garnett, Castlemaine

COP26 – a cop out.
Anthony Palmer, Southbank

Australia isn’t ranked last on climate policy. We’re leading from the back, aren’t we, Scott?
Irene Zalstein, East Doncaster

What’s the point of achieving zero emissions by 2050 if the planet is terminally ill by 2030?
Campbell Laughlin, Berwick

Politicians

I wholeheartedly agree, Margaret Callinan (10/11). Career politicians appear to lack understanding of the everyday concerns of voters.
Mary Biggs, Kew East

Back to back articles on branch stacking, Liberal and Labor, allegedly with the knowledge of Mr Andrews and Mr Andrews. Dizzying.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

With the current mob in Canberra, give me Jacqui Lambie any day.
Mayda Semec, Brighton East

Victoria

The $25billion towers plan (10/11): neither new nor exciting.
Venise Alstergren, Toorak

Which private investment group wants to spend $25billion in destroying our city? I smell a rat.
Andrew Wilkinson, Ashwood

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