DJOKOVIC, COVID AND US: On balance, this needs a little perspective

The Age is trialling new cartoonists for our Monday editorial cartoon. Today’s cartoon is by Megan Herbert, cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book writer based on the Mornington Peninsula.Credit:Megan Herbert

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The controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic really needs to be put in perspective. Unlike many others, Djokovic doesn’t place himself at risk by donning full personal protective gear every day to treat COVID patients in intensive care, nor did he accrue a large debt over many years studying the science necessary to develop the vaccines that keep us safe, nor does he use engineering skills to create sustainable sources of energy or to improve the energy efficiency of technology to help combat climate change. However, he can hit a ball over a net, a skill that he excels at and for which, unlike the aforementioned people, he gets paid enormous amounts of money, travels the world and receives accolades from many people including statesmen who demand special treatment for him. Sums up what’s wrong with the world.
Tim Davis, Heidelberg

Please Novak, raise your voice
Now that Novak Djokovic has spent time at The Park Hotel at the behest of Australian Border Force, can he put himself into the shoes of the asylum seekers. If he did he would see how cruelly we treat those who came to Australia by boat, seeking asylum.
Could he speak on the world stage on behalf of these men? He will have greater impact than all the good people in Australia who are ashamed of our treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
Marie Martin, Malvern East

Letting it rip is not a good thing
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said we need to “let it rip” and “learn to live with this virus”. Is this what he means?
Shortages of food because delivery people are isolating. Some in hospitality cannot operate or operate fully due to staff shortages. Aged care homes once again in lockdown due to cases and also dealing with staffing issues as carers are isolating. Hospitals having major staff shortages. Hospitals again unable to provide health care to people needing elective surgery. Worn-out healthcare staff who have had to deal with stress and pressure for two years already. Lack of rapid antigen tests and long queues to get a PCR test.
Fanny Hoffman, Ormond

Where is the equity in this process?
My son and family (five people) are primary contacts of COVID-19. As well as isolating, they have to get tested initially and on day six of isolation. At $25 a test, that’s $250 for one exposure. They live in a working class area, which means that they have very average incomes and that they are likely to have multiple exposures. It’s a big chunk of their income.
Name and address withheld

Free the RATs Prime Minister
COVID case numbers appear to be evenly split between those detected by PCR tests and RATs. This means millions of dollars are being saved, since each RAT done means one less PCR test. Reason enough to make RATs free I would think Prime Minister.
Geoff Phillips, Wonga Park, NSW

Health before economics, surely
It is shocking that now chaos is raining down on Australia courtesy of the government’s ″⁣living with COVID″⁣ deregulations, ministers are now blaming the global nature of this pandemic rather than their own actions – or lack of them, for the death and turmoil. These ministers were proclaiming our gold standard on COVID compared to the world. There was a clear choice for the Prime Minister. Rather than maintain the strict measures that kept us all safe and beyond the trouble bedevilling Europe, America and the UK he stopped them all, boasting of the government’s brilliant economic success.
One can only wonder that economics was his priority rather than our general well-being. Why? Doubtless for the potential economic kudos he expected for his own re-election.
Laurelle Atkinson, St Helens, Tas


Society’s decent side
Noel Towell’s story about David Wendon’s successful transition from state care to productive employment (The Age, 8/1) is moving and instructive. Among other things, it highlights the ignorance and callousness of Scott Morrison’s attitude to the Coalition’s so-called ″⁣leaners″⁣. Plainly, it is easier to ″⁣have a go″⁣ if you have the educational and family support systems that many ″⁣lifters″⁣ take for granted. Not only is adequate support in areas like education, housing and employment morally and ethically mandatory in a civilised society – it is economically rational. As Towell points out, such support reduces pressure on the costliest ″⁣acute″⁣ government services – and no doubt leads to a safer, more decent society.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne

Of little faith
The following words and phrases do not inspire faith in the federal government’s ability to lead, manage, organise and plan in the short, medium and long term – It is not a race, signing agreements with vaccination producers, JobKeeper and profitable companies, vaccine distribution and wastage, slow vaccination of people at risk, aged care, quarantine facilities, repatriating Australians and not in our jurisdiction.
You would think it would learn from the past two years, but no, this attitude has continued with the booster vaccine process, the issues of distribution and profiteering of the rapid testing kits and visas.
Despite this, I expect the government to base its election strategies around its ″⁣superior money management″⁣, ″⁣governance″⁣ and ″⁣forward thinking″⁣.
Phil Mackenzie, Eaglemont

Can-do gouging
The Prime Minister’s can-do capitalism and small government obsession has led to untrammelled rapid antigen testing price-gouging without intelligent regulation or oversight.
Greg Curtin,
Blackburn South

Reef madness
The reality of our wonderful Great Barrier Reef’s future is deeply saddening (“Great bleaching reef battle brewing”, The Age, 8/1). The Australian public should be made aware that 1.5 degrees of warming will see us lose 70-90 per cent of existing reefs and 2 degrees will cause the reef to almost entirely disappear.
To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees and give the reef a fighting chance, we need to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030. Despite our politicians’ assertions, no amount of funding for ″⁣foundations″⁣ can save the reef unless we curb climate change.
If we want to keep the dream of our children experiencing the sheer joy of snorkelling in the majestic Great Barrier Reef alive, we voters must hold our federal government accountable for drastic emissions reductions this decade.
Amy Hiller, Kew

Not so clever
John Howes is right about the dangers posed by unvaccinated people (Letters, 9/1). In bending the rules to allow privileges to the unvaccinated, there’s a wider risk of demonstrating the limits of Australia’s real values and priorities: money, entitlement and personal choice matter more than public health, scientific evidence and legal obligation. Not a good image for a clever country.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Kudos to Ashes
How wonderful that this year’s Ashes series has been played in great spirit and sportsmanship, seemingly without sledging, and with players from both sides treating each other with respect. Both Joe Root and Pat Cummins have presented themselves and their teams in a professional manner that is to be commended. Coupled with the amazing on-field performances of the humble pair Scott Boland and Usman Khawaja, it appears that cricket is once again the gentleman’s sport, providing great viewing for all the family.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

The friendly spirit
Am I alone in thinking that this Test series seems to be being played in a remarkably friendly spirit without removing the competition. I have even seen players smile at, and talk to the opposition. If I am right, it makes a pleasant change from the constant stream of invective that used to pour out in the ″⁣win at any cost″⁣ days. No doubt there is still sledging, but one hopes it is more banter than antagonism.
Peter Valder, Toorak

And justice for all
It seems the US legal system is finally embracing the concept of justice for its non-white citizens and that will be significant for more harmonious race relations in that country.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool

It’s all Victoria’s fault
Victoria is still being blamed for just about everything by the Morrison government. Apparently, Novak Djokovic was given an Australian visa by Victoria. The Treasurer caught the virus from a Victorian. The let-it-rip policy enacted by the NSW government only came about because NSW was determined to be seen to be different and not to follow the strict lockdowns done by Victoria. The Australian economy will take longer to recover because of Victoria. Vaccine booster rollout is being slowed by Victoria. Hospitals around Australia are being overwhelmed because of high case numbers in Victoria.
Next, we will hear that a Victorian was on the grassy knoll in Dallas in 1963. There are even rumours that Adam and Eve only got the apple because a Victorian slipped over the border to Eden and didn’t use the fruit fly bin!
Greg Tuck, Warragul

Power psychology
Nicholas Reece’s article (″⁣Commonwealth’s power failure″⁣, 9/1) is a revelation in the psychology of leadership. We have a complement of state premiers who would be classified as ″⁣P for Power″⁣ personalities operating under a ″⁣H for Hustler″⁣ Prime Minister, by nature incapable of leading. I doubt the Commonwealth would have descended to this chaos under Malcolm Fraser, John Howard, Paul Keating or Bob Hawke. We can only hope that, by the next election, the parties vying for power are all led by powerful leaders capable of bending our Commonwealth back into shape.
David Marshall, West Brunswick

Shooting is not sport
It’s about time duck shooting was banned, it is not a sport; give a gun to the ducks and then it would be a sport.
Bird numbers are down, so many native birds are killed or injured by hunters who don’t care. Shooters do not bring any economic benefit to the regions and cause more harm than good. Spent cartridges left around, lame birds left to die and the locals have to put up with all the mess. Not safe for local children and with our updated knowledge on our wildlife it really is time to stop this archaic practice.
Susan Kerr, Rye

Leave the ducks be
If there was an excess of ducks then it would be appropriate for the duck season to go ahead. This year duck numbers are down almost 60 per cent. If the shooters want future seasons then this one should not go ahead.
Andrew Cowell, Castlemaine

Shine a light
Vaccines for children are not received at many GP clinics. I am confused with so many previous instructions for moving forwards – do we open up, take wickets, shake and bake, live with it, get on with it, declare war on China, France and Serbia? Leadership please.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn

Leadership vacuum
As I tuned into the ABC midday news I heard a great deal about the COVID crisis in NSW and, if I so decided, to hear about the Queensland situation. There was a clear direction in these presentations to explain the current situation and to bring what positive aspects that could be found to the public.
But Victoria’s situation was ignored. This from a national broadcaster, whose income is limited and obviously found a relatively cheap way to present the news. While this was disturbing, I asked myself, where is the federal government’s response? Providing facilities and equipment is certainly most important, but so too is the national morale. We do not need a Minister for Morale, but leadership should surely take initiative in these needs. I believe in all situations, leadership carries enormous humane responsibilities. In the nest midday news I would like to know what is happening in Australia, and that a federal response could offer us national morale and leadership.
Keith Hallett, Gisborne

Some things don’t change
About this time last year a privileged female tennis player complained about her detention in Park Hotel and the lack of fresh air. A year later a privileged male tennis player is complaining not only about the lack of fresh air but of unhygienic conditions and poor food. How things have changed and not changed in a year.
Why do these conditions only make headlines when a sports star brings it to attention? What conditions will be brought to light this time next year? And will it be met with the same indifference to the long-term prisoners held in unacceptable conditions?
Peta Price, Ballarat

Djokovic side effects
No one needs Novak Djokovic here although he’s provided Scott Morrison with his own children overboard moment. Last Wednesday it was a Victorian government decision, Thursday it became “rules are rules” and a federal matter. Seems rules only apply to borders, not for blind trusts and sitting male Liberal members.
Michael Thomas,
Box Hill


Novak Djokovic
In light of the leaked letter from Tennis Australia: Djokovic 40, Tiley 30.
Ian Cameron, Chelsea

What’s the point of being ″⁣leader of the free world″⁣ if you can’t bluff your way through border security?
Tom Fanning, Forest Hill

I have always had admiration and respect for Rafael Nadal. Now I have more.
Dan Drummond, Leongatha

Bear in mind that Novak Djokovic comes from Serbia, a country where only about 47 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.
Terry Kelly, Fitzroy North

Imagine if Novak Djokovic is legally permitted to stay by the courts, but contracts COVID-19 at a hotel with a history of transmission events, and can’t play.
Anita White, Kew

Craig Tiley has forfeited the match. He should now offer his resignation.
Matthew Doyle, Point Cook

The joke’s on Djokovic – we’re serious about our health rules.
David Gentle, East Ivanhoe

Looks like the safest activity now is hibernation.
Meg McPherson, Brighton

As an educator, I join the call for a return to normal in our schools. As a grandparent, I urge caution. Better safe than sorry.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

Why the rapid testing isn’t free and positive test results not reported online is beyond me.
Lesley Taskis, Kingsbury

Scott Morrison shows his strength: ″⁣We will decide.″⁣ No, sorry: ″⁣Rules are rules.″⁣ Yes, it’s an election year.
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh

I suspect the Pope’s comments warning people away from having dogs and cats arise primarily out of his concern that his flock of sheep is diminishing.
Peter Fajdiga, Doubleview, WA

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