Proud for Albanese to stand with the world’s democracies

Credit:Cathy Wilcox

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PM’S Ukraine visit
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s decision to support the Ukrainian war effort with $100 million aid is a win-win (“Albanese’s new $100m pledge for war effort”, The Age, 5/7). It’s a practical and symbolic win for courageous President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people’s heroic effort. It’s a win for democracy in its epic struggle with brutal autocracies such as Russia and China; while encouraging other democratic countries to stay committed in their support for Ukraine. And it’s clearly a win for Australia in terms of our international creditability and for Australians because we’re reminded we are a people with a heart and soul. I felt proud to be an Australian when I heard our prime minister pledge that “Australia stands ready to continue to support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes”.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham

Putin has changed the world
Security analyst David Livingstone (“NATO’s new bid for relevance”, 5/7) offers a refreshing corrective to the narrative that the tide of history is weighted in favour of autocracies like China and Russia. The latter’s spluttering pyrrhic victories in Ukraine’s eastern provinces have arguably validated the view that it is a “Potemkin village”, grandiose in its posturing but moribund militarily and economically. China, though formidable in many respects, now has to unexpectedly confront a re-energised Europe. Putin has changed the world but not in the way he would have hoped.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

Too great a commitment
It is disappointing to see Albanese succumbing to pressure to join the conga line of celebrities and political leaders lining up for the photo op with Zelensky in the tragedy that is Ukraine. Australia has already committed $285 million of weaponry and $65 million in humanitarian support and promised more. Why then the visit?
It’s tempting to pose the question whether Albanese is falling into line of Australia’s designated role as deputy sheriff for the US and whether more will be expected closer to home. Our prime minister must be careful in resisting being drawn into any situation which could draw us into a war between China and America.
Maria Millers, Emerald

Keep extending that compassion
Now that Australia is pledging more money to the war in Ukraine, apparently more than some NATO countries, let us see if Australia can match the support and compassion towards the people of Ukraine who have been displaced by this barbaric war. Let us pledge to welcome them here for as long as it takes.
Ruth Davis, Carrum

Aid will only prolong the killing
You would have thought that after the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan Albanese would have realised that war is always a bad thing. His promise of military aid will not support Ukraine, but only prolong the war, kill more people and discourage a peaceful settlement.
Peter Martina, Warrnambool

What are Albanese’s priorities?
During the disastrous bushfire period, the then prime minister, Scott Morrison, was heavily criticised for holidaying in Hawaii. We are now in the midst of a disastrous flood period, and not a word of criticism towards Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for being on the grand tour.
Noel Day, Carlton

PM is picking fights
David Crowe’s report “Australia is doing more to help Ukraine than some NATO members” (5/7) clearly shows that Albanese is getting more and more involved in the Ukraine war. The prime minister’s move is dangerous to Australia because Russian missiles can reach any city in Australia while we don’t even have a Christmas cracker to retaliate. Instead of picking troubles overseas, Albanese should stay in Australia.
Bill Mathew, Parkville

THE FORUM

Some will never mask up
I cringe seeing pleas for a return to compulsory mask-wearing when we are still smarting from the abuse and ugliness hurled at the Andrews government over COVID mandates (“Make masks mandatory”, Letters, 5/7). Mask-wearing is still mandatory on public transport but there are some passengers who will never wear one. It’s annoying, but probably reflective of general attitudes to mandates.
The good news is we can now get vaccinated and we know the value of mask wearing. We can all choose to wear a good quality mask to protect ourselves as well as others. I noticed our taxi driver pulled a mask out of his pocket yesterday, possibly because his two passengers were masked, so that’s another positive.
Susan Mahar, Fitzroy North

Force compliance
Your editorial (“This is no time to raise white flag on COVID”, 4/7) provides a balanced rationale for responsible COVID management in the face of increasing mutations and reinfections. However, as a community we’ve shown we do independence well if it means individual freedom, not so well if it means individual responsibility. The lesson from our long lockdown is surely that controls need to be imposed to ensure adequate compliance. It seems shortsighted to fail to require mask and vaccinate mandates, even though “there is …. little appetite for” these measures. Both would be relatively simple and could provide a big bang for their buck without causing undue hardship or strain on overburdened resources.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Just wear it
Why do people need government direction to wear a mask? Doesn’t common sense tell us that mask wearing is a great idea if we want to avoid catching COVID? Recent history tells us that many people would rather carry a coffee cup than wear a mask. No empty coffee cups now but there is certainly resistance to mask wearing by the majority of people. Seems to me governments are damned if they do and damned if they don’t when they make pandemic rules. How can we forget the violent protests that hit our city streets because many people felt they were losing their freedom when our state government brought in compulsory mask wearing?
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

Open up boosters
Aisha Dow’s article “Fourth dose push: The key questions” (The Age, 5/7) answered some very pertinent questions, but left some unspoken ones unanswered. People under 65 with type 2 diabetes are eligible for a fourth dose of COVID vaccine, as they should be, but those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are not, even though they are severely immuno-compromised.
My daughter has CFS, as do her two housemates. They are all double-vaccinated and have had the first booster shot. But as they are not eligible for the second booster, they have been in self-imposed lockdown for several months. This is no life. Apparently if they are able to get a letter from their doctor, they may be eligible to have the booster. But being able to access the booster should be made easier for those with serious ongoing health issues, not harder.
Name withheld on request

Kyrgios the victim?
Your correspondent congratulates Osman Faruqi “for speaking out against the media treatment of Nick Kyrgios” (Letters, 5/7). Delicious irony: the aggressive, bullying, spitting, abusive, tennis impresario is now a victim? Congratulations Kyrgios on your admission to the sainted ranks of victimhood.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East

We knew all along
I can’t agree with your correspondent (Letters, 5/7) who says that “Jeff Kennett sold off a lot of Victorian infrastructure before it became clear that such privatisations had very detrimental results for the community”. Kenneth Davidson in The Age wrote dozens of articles making it clear in great detail why Kennett’s privatisations would be very detrimental, but it seems the voters and governments were blinded by neo-liberal ideology – and they still are.
Simon Thornton, Alphington

Now we pay
Let’s see if we have this right. The big power producers failed to do their job in providing electricity and we, the taxpayers, have to pay compensation for the producers being forced to do their job. Ah, the joys of privatisation.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Gas talk is hot air
Nick Toscano reports that Viva Energy’s boss has a plan to solve the energy crisis by building a gas import terminal for Geelong (“Geelong gas terminal might hold the key to energy crunch”, 4/7). The Viva chief executive’s statements suggest a grand community service is at the heart of Viva’s business plans. First and foremost, his interests are to make money for shareholders. We do need to address the energy crisis, but as Jono La Nauze tells us (“Clean energy plan leaves too much gas in the tank” 5/7) “the writing is on the wall that gas is on the way out in Victoria”.
Karen Campbell, Geelong

Dirty energy
Environment Victoria’s Jono La Nauze welcomes Victoria’s “gas substitution map” but criticises its lack of “clear goals and timelines”. He emphasises that the government should have banned “new gas connections” and raises the prospect of new drilling in our Port Phillip Bay. Why is new gas planned all over Australia? The federal and state/territory governments must deal very soon with these deeply flawed dirty energy plans. They cannot fit well with our strong emissions reduction targets.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

First steps
Independent senator David Pocock provides a voice of reason on climate policy. Although anyone who follows climate science understands that while 43 per cent emissions reductions by 2030 is not nearly enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Australia does need a legislated baseline 2030 target as a goal to provide clear direction for business and industry. Collaboration is key in addressing this vital issue. We must find a way to shift the debate toward a determined, co-operative, whole-of society effort, resulting in action that sees emissions start to rapidly decline. Pocock deserves applause.
Amy Hiller, Kew

Let us protect ourselves
There are now 6500+ monkeypox cases globally. This is almost exclusively affecting gay men. Australia so far has largely been unaffected but with lots of gay men returning from Pride events and holidays in the European summer it is inevitable that it will increase dramatically here too. I want to know what is being done about vaccinating us, gay men who are most likely to be infected? In Canada, a highly effective vaccine is already being distributed among gay male populations. It is a monkeypox specific, cheap and effective. I am happy to pay for this out of my pocket if necessary but need access and denying us this is negligent. We need to act fast before a wider outbreak occurs. Hugh Crothers, Abbotsford

Leave it be
For John Ridley to ask why a “forward-looking progressive person” would want to join the men-only Athenaeum Club (“‘Young fogeys’ to blame for ‘mad’ ban on women”, 5/7) is a bit like asking why a Collingwood supporter would want join the Carlton Football Club. The short answer is they wouldn’t. The traditions and protocols of men-only clubs offer members refuge from the turmoil of rapid social change. Almost by definition, they are not progressive places, but why should they be?
To condemn like-minded people, whether they be conservative or progressive, for forming groups seems both unrealistic and unreasonable.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Builders need help
It is about time that federal and state governments provided assistance to the building industry. Companies are going to the wall, causing great stress and hardship to home owners and to all the trades linked to new builds. Governments encouraged new residential building with the Home Owners Grant and First Home Owners Scheme but now after promoting new builds they have deserted the sector. How much money was donated to the “Harvey Norman” type companies that did not need assistance and who have refused to pay back the money? A collapse of companies in the building sector has major consequences and it is important that this sector is supported until building costs stabilise.
Geoff McDonald, Newtown

Out of pocket
Until recently my GP, at a private medical clinic, saw fit to charge me, as an age pensioner, the Medicare-rebated fee. For which I was grateful. I’ve now received advice that this concession will no longer be provided. It is apparently inconsistent with their “business model”. Or, to put it another way, did not generate the level of income wanted/expected by the clinic and the GP concerned. Fair dinkum. One is tempted to say it is about sheer greed.
Michael J Gamble, Belmont

Fix quality of care first
While Danielle Wood (“Three-in-one fix to economic woes”, 5/7) makes the case for cheaper children’s education and care services, several key points are missed. The state of the sector demonstrates the failure of a market-driven approach. Poor wages and conditions are driving skilled educators to better paying jobs – like stacking supermarket shelves! Meanwhile, companies that invest in childcare properties cream off ever higher profits. There is overwhelming evidence that community owned services deliver higher quality education and care. Victoria has taken a lead in committing to build 50 new centres, but much more could be done to support the not for profit sector. Fee subsidies should be redesigned as payments based on educator numbers, qualifications and experience, not parental income, to ensure money is not siphoned off to corporate profits.
Brian Newman, Brunswick

And another thing

Wimbledon
Why is it that only Australians suffer heartbreaking losses in five-set tennis matches?
David Price, Camberwell

“I have a massive chip on my shoulder,” says Nick Kyrgios. No, not a chip, a whole fish and chip supper.
Simon Clegg, Donvale

Nick KyrgiosCredit:AP

Nick Kyrgios and our parliamentarians both show examples of bad behaviour. We must ask our leaders to first show behaviour for others to follow.
Lou Ferrari, Richmond

It’s 2032 and Nick is teaching his young son to play tennis. Mini K hits the ball off the frame and into the net. He explodes with frustration smashes his racquet swears and storms off. “That’s perfect!” says his proud dad.
Jon O’Neill, Waurn Ponds

A 50-metre penalty for dissent would fix the Nick Kyrgios problem. He’d be out of the stadium quick smart.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura

Guns in the US
The mass shootings in the US will never stop as long as their political system allows the country to be ruled by a minority.
Pete Sands, Monbulk

It is the fourth of July and another gun massacre in the US. There will be no independence for those killed.
David Seal, Balwyn North

Now I get it. Americans need guns to protect themselves from the good guys (“Video shows unarmed black man was shot 60 times by police”, 4/7).
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Furthermore
You have to wonder what goings-on the “young fogeys” want to hide from women.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

The Coalition avoided action by talking of the cost of combating climate change, but never the cost of not. Perhaps they get it now.
Jan Lacey, North Melbourne

We are a lucky and well-off country. Surely we can afford a first rate rise rather than some third-rate stuff.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

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