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A disturbing list
Jon Faine’s “point” about multifarious crises across housing, aged and disability care, the environment, healthcare and sexual assault is aptly made (“Crisis? What crisis?”, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 9/5).
Namely, that “turning the basic and essential work of government into elaborate policy acrobatics to protect your mates” (i.e. “cronyism”: “Mates getting plum government jobs? There must be an election coming up”, The Age, online, 4/5) at the expense of serving the public interest has got us here: to the compartmentalisation of social services in private hands. The services that matter to most people at different junctures in our lives.
Indeed, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” without oversight and accountability by an adequately funded National Audit Office, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ombudsman and a federal independent broad-based anti-corruption commission.
So, it would seem that the “convergence of these syndromes” makes out for a weakened democracy that we’re all poorer for accepting, because we’re not joining the crises dots together to form a big picture revealing an underlying lack of “principles and ethics”.
Jelena Rosic, Mornington
They’re letting us down
Having travelled by train and tram recently, I am incredibly disappointed by the large number of patrons not wearing a mask.
Despite frequent announcements and posters displaying the mandated requirement to wear a mask over nose and mouth while on board, there is no policing of this directive.
Complaining to PTV has proved fruitless. They say this is a police issue, but is this really how we should be using our police force? Come on, everyone, just wear a mask and keep everyone safe. And come on, PTV, start encouraging people to do the right thing.
I, for one, have no appetite for another long lockdown.
Chris Burley, Balwyn North
Kids are missing out
I agree with Pam Saunders – someone from that rare breed, teacher-librarians, virtually extinct in government primary schools (“Immersed in reading”, Letters, 14/5).
Kids are missing out on listening to beautiful stories as well as the chance to lose themselves in just the right book, both critical motivators in developing lifelong reading habits.
Many classroom teachers are too busy following prescriptive programs where beautiful illustrations and predictable text are non-existent. And some schools are insisting kids read only simplistic “decodable” texts at home as well as in the classroom. And all kids are being subjected to NAPLAN preparation and testing.
Unfortunately finding time to read beautiful stories aloud has become a low priority – “time wasting”, some would say.
Susan Mahar, Fitzroy North
I have just returned from a trip along the Great Ocean Road and through the Otways and I am amazed at the huge piles of timber debris from land clearing and from logged forestry plantations, which, at the right time, will be burnt, creating smoke haze and carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, over in India, what remains of their forests is being rapidly chopped down for the hundreds of thousands of ritual cremations that will increase over the years because of COVID-19.
Maybe the state government and some entrepreneurs could get together and help not only our environment but the environment of India by exporting this waste timber.
John Quinn, Avoca
The buck stops where?
Having declared that owners of businesses in Victoria are responsible, under threat of a $1652 fine, for their patrons to check in on QR codes or other means, does this mean that VicRoads should be similarly treated for every unregistered vehicle and unlicensed driver found on Victorian roads?
Surely, the same logic should apply, or is it possible that the offender is actually the patron?
John McCallum, Mont Albert North
One person’s class war …
Why is that when a Labor government attempts to get the wealthy to pay their fair share of tax, critics describe it as class war but when a Coalition government cuts welfare to the needy the pundits describe it as sound economic management (“Rich face $2.4b tax whack on property”, The Age, 15/5)?
Phil Alexander, Eltham
It’s not a silver bullet
Singapore now has stricter measures and a lockdown to thwart the spread of COVID-19 after a sudden cluster of infected employees at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, including some who were fully vaccinated. The government has responded quickly.
Australia needs to be aware that vaccination is not a silver bullet for all mutations.
Meg McPherson, Brighton
He’s on the money
As the government spends with its plan to boost the economy through multiplier effects, Ross Gittins (“Our new economic normal is here”, Business, 15/5) is correct to point to the risk of leakages that will reduce the effectiveness of the government’s spending. Leakages can occur not only through imports of physical goods but also through the importation of skills and the associated remittances to the home countries by the temporary skilled migrants.
Sadly, the government is neglecting the university sector, where funding is almost totally spent within Australia and builds up our long-term capabilities.
Even better, unlike the mining sector with its customers overseas, many of our university student customers come to Australia adding to the multiplier effect.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell
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