Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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Andrews easing rules for an election victory
As a triple-vaccinated teacher, I have had reasonable confidence to be at work without wearing a mask since I was confident the other staff were similarly protected, and our classrooms were well ventilated. But I keep my mask on in the shops because there we have to mingle with the unvaccinated and inevitably some with COVID-19.
Now suddenly we are told it is safe to have unvaccinated staff back at work – “Unvaccinated teachers will return to classroom” (The Age, 23/6). Daily, around 20 people in Victoria die of COVID-19. That is 140 per week and an annual rate of more than 7000.
If that number were dying on our roads, there would be an outcry, with draconian safety measures implemented promptly. Yet the state government continues to relax even the most reasonable measures to protect us, in the name of being re-elected in November.
I would have thought that among educated teachers, there were more votes to be had by keeping the vaccine rules in place, not removing them.
Alex Judd, Blackburn North
Unvaccinated teachers will not be ‘welcomed’ back
According to an information sheet for principals, “Principals do not hold information about the vaccination status of staff or students”. First, principals may not know the status of new teachers but they will know the status of unvaccinated staff who are returning to their schools.
Second, unvaccinated teachers may be allowed back into schools, but it is very unlikely that they will be “welcomed” back by anyone but the principals who have not been able to fill vacancies for months.
Suspicion will hang about any candidate with a work “gap” in their CVs over the past few years. As it stands, their re-entry into schools means an increased risk to teachers in the workplace and to their families beyond that – not to mention the students.
Anthony Hitchman, St Andrews
Why don’t we care about our spiralling death toll?
The World Health Organisation’s data lists Australia on the list of deaths in the last seven days as fifth in the world. This is higher than other geographically smaller and more population-dense countries.
The number of people losing their lives to COVID-19 is higher now than in 2020 or 2021, with hundreds of deaths each week. So why don’t more people care? I agree with Dr Lorraine Baker (Letters, 17/6) who supports the reintroduction of a mask mandate in retail, theatres, cinemas and galleries.
But we also need to see more reporters who are in the field, politicians and other officials leading by example and wearing well-fitted masks when they are around others. Wearing a mask could mean Australia has some sense of responsibility and wants to get out of this mess. No wonder our health system is struggling.
Dr Wendi Kruger, Croydon South
We need more information on mortality statistics
Well said, Greg Tuck (Letters, 20/6). If an A330 Airbus went down each week, we would be horrified, asking questions and demanding action. On current figures (trusting we are not subject to a more lethal variant), Australia will have around 15,000 COVID-related deaths this year.
When Australia opened up, we were told to expect “more cases and deaths”. However, I doubt if most people anticipated the numbers we are now seeing. About 32per cent of the eligible population have not had a booster. It seems more likely now to be through choice than lack of information.
Epidemiologists are calling for more information on mortality statistics – e.g., had they had booster shots? Were they elderly and/or frail? Did they have other health conditions?
If we want to fight the next pandemic more effectively, we need more analysis of this one. Those left who have been told to take “personal responsibility” to avoid serious and possibly long-lasting illness would like some too.
Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale
Tell that to homeless
Surely this is a contradiction in terms. In the latest Global Liveability Index, Melbourne is rated the world’s 10th most liveable city (The Age, 23/6) while business struggle to get workers who can afford to live within an acceptable commute from their job.
Homelessness, visible and invisible, is rising throughout the city and suburbs. Liveability? I doubt those who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads – or even find one – would agree.
Jennie Irving, Camberwell
De Goey? Present, sir.
The AFL says that its respect and responsibility training changed from face-to-face to online four years ago to “ensure all players completed it” (The Age, 23/6).
With the recent issues of Bailey Smith and Jordan De Goey making headlines, how difficult would it be to revert to the previous system and “mark the roll” when players turn up and do the tasks.
I did for 31 years as a school teacher. Maybe these embarrassing issues would occur less frequently if the face-face system were reintroduced.
George Djoneff, Mitcham
Media’s double standards
I cannot help but compare the media pile-on dished out to Jordan De Goey, a foolish young man whose actions in Bali were offensive but did not amount to either a criminal or civil offence, with the muted commentary around Lisa Wilkinson’s actions (The Age, 22/6).
Despite being warned beforehand, Wilkinson chose to comment on a criminal matter, and this has resulted in the deferral of a court case. The media’s hypocrisy needs to be called out.
Barry Tomkins, Ballarat
Kids, behave yourselves
If Jordan De Goey and the woman with whom he was fraternising in Bali were my kids, I would advise both of them that their behaviour was low-brow and equally disrespectful to themselves and their genders. Trash behaviour, out.
Joan Johnson, Camberwell
We’ve all made mistakes
The tidal wave of pompous and sanctimonious comment and judgment passed on the undeniably stupid behaviour of four young men – Jordan De Goey, Bailey Smith, Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Quaynor – does, however, evoke reference to John 8:7: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Enough, already.
Mark Morrison, Kew
Clarify what’s respectful
In relation to the Jordan De Goey incident, a spokesperson for Emirates Airlines, a long-time Collingwood Football Club sponsor, says it “condemns disrespectful behaviour towards women” (Sport, 23/6). Bearing in mind that Emirates Airlines is owned by the government of Dubai, the words pot, kettle, black immediately spring to mind.
Ken Finley, Mount Martha
When times were tougher
Well said, Jeremy Browne – “Life ban solution” (Letters, 21/6) – and it is good to see the Western Bulldogs’ Bailey Smith is getting appropriate help to grow up. Now Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey needs even more help, again. Luckily for past players such as Carl Ditterich and others, they only had to cope with being conscripted.
John Whelen, Box Hill South
Follow the party line
The Greens started out as a party that valued democratic processes in decision making and the election of officers, but this has been forgotten in the pursuit of wokeness.
Linda Gale, who was democratically elected as a convener, has been ousted from that voluntary position and Anna Kerr, a Greens member in NSW, has been purged from the party.
These stalwart supporters of the Greens were singled out not because they disagreed with the party’s aims on the environment, refugees and Indigenous issues, but because they dared to write about transgender in a way that differed from what has become the “party line”. It seems more like Putin’s Russia than Australia.
Sue Leigh, Moonee Ponds
A divisive action…
As a son of a naval officer who lost his life in World War II fighting under the Australian flag, I feel deeply hurt by Greens leader Adam Bandt’s removal of the flag from his recent press conference.
I believe many veterans and their survivors, and the wider community, would feel the same. His behaviour was un-Australian and he should apologise. As the Prime Minister said, we should be on the road to reconciliation by bringing communities together whereas Bandt’s action only divides us.
Robert Gray, Glen Iris
…or highlighting truth?
It is understood that when we finally transition to a republic, the “union jack imitation” we call our flag will be replaced.
Adam Bandt, in highlighting the historical oppression of Indigenous Australians, has referenced our brutal past under this flag. A harsh reality for some to grasp but for this ageing republican, a necessary reset has been too long in the making. Let us just get on with it.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool
The people who give back
Judy Ryan was one of the people who was instrumental in getting Richmond’s safe injecting room up and running.
Now she has been instrumental in organising the My Community exhibition with the artists being clients of the same facility – “Art helps reframe role of injecting room” (The Age, 21/6).
It is people like her who do not just pay lip service to worthy causes but actually get off their behinds and do something. Thank you, Judy, and also your fellow hard workers.
Margaret Collings, Anglesea
Wall’s irresistible lure
It must be at least 12 months since the redevelopment of the Dandenong Road underpass at Windsor, where painted, cement render was used to replace the existing terraces for plants.
I am fascinated by the apparent lack of foresight in the decision-making process. Nobody seems to have considered that an enormous blank wall might attract graffiti.
It has been a wry entertainment these past months to observe the cycle of vandalism and repainting that has occurred, although now the council appears to have given up the game. I would dearly love to be a fly on the wall in one of their “outcome” meetings.
Oliver Dennis, Armadale
The veterans’ sacrifice
The Coalition government cutting $430 million from the veterans affairs budget (The Age, 22/6) while granting $500 million to the expansion of the National War Memorial is another example of woefully wrong thinking, and a heartless one at that.
The most lasting memorial to those who gave their lives would be to take good care of those traumatised, both physically and psychologically, while serving their country. Surely that is what the fallen would have asked for their comrades.
John Mosig, Kew
Full marks to Sales
What a terrific and insightful interview of Leigh Sales by Leigh Sales (Green Guide, 23/5). She is a smart, funny and fabulous woman. Her interview with Warnie was gold. She will be missed on the ABC’s 7.30 Report.
Wendy Daniels, Hawthorn
What did they say?
This is the third week in a row where Green Guide has not shown if any programs have captions. As a hearing disabled person, I rely on captions to be able to understand what is being said, especially during movies and television series where intensely loud music and mumbling seem to have become the norm. Not happy, Jan.
Evan Carr, Rosanna
Third world politically
With the revelations coming out of the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol attack, it is clear that democracy in the United States is at its most fragile since independence.
What worries me most is not the actions of Donald Trump and his bunch of despotic henchmen. No, my fear for this once home of the brave and land of the free is the actions and inaction of that disgraceful rump of Republicans who continue to support and provide oxygen to the rioters. And for what? Personal power and self interest. There should be enough shame there to start a pandemic. Give me some hope.
Nick Brennan, Rowville
What’s an orienteer?
Re one of the clues in DP’s quick crossword: “Sportsperson walking without maps” (Puzzles, 22/6). The answer would surprise the thousands of orienteers who run with a map.
Margaret King, Rosanna
Avoiding energy crisis
The State Electricity Commission, which from the top down was managed by engineers, devoted a small part of its considerable revenue from primarily coal-fired generation to carry out strategic long-term planning.
My role, as a young engineer in the 1960s, was to participate in identifying and quantifying every significant hydro and pumped hydro site in Victoria
Doubtless all of the other state-owned electricity generating commissions would have been conducting similar work. Privatisation destroyed this valuable resource.
Had a federal government had the foresight, in conjunction with the states, to amalgamate the different state-based knowledge and skills into a federal organisation years ago, there would have already been a detailed plan to transition to renewables. Further, with sufficient government support, much more of the required implementation work would have already occurred.
John Maltzahn, Stratford
Crunching the numbers
Has anyone done a cost benefit study to compare the cost of turning back the boats, housing refugees on Christmas Island etc versus providing a decent level of aid to Sri Lanka?
David Beauchamp, Aireys Inlet
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Victoria’s proposed “grossly offensive conduct” law (23/6) might mean the end of footballers’ mullets. Seriously, who decides what’s grossly offensive?
Pete Sands, Monbulk
Can you imagine the outrage and coverage if Andrew Bolt had done what Lisa Wilkinson did (22/3)?
Paul O’Shannassy, Glen Iris
Martin Newington (22/6), the ABC news is for educated people who understand complex issues, not tabloid sensationalism.
Michael Taylor, Seaford
Can we please ban “iconic” from the lexicon. My Chambers dictionary defines it as “anything uncritically admired”. Says it all.
Martin Shaw, Mirboo North
I’m passionate about people being passionate about everything.
Joan Kerr, Geelong
Re De Goey. How many second chances does anyone need before they are actually punished?
Greg Brown, Tarneit
Re the Bendigo-built Bushmaster (23/6). Should we be proud that we have officially joined the international arms race?
Terry Malone, Warburton
Quiet or megaphone diplomacy or both. Whatever it takes to free Julian Assange.
Jane Desailly, Brunswick
Pay rises for low-paid workers have raised some concerns. Maybe the well-to-do would be happier if they were called bonuses.
Evert de Graauw, Wantirna
The federal government should legislate that WA gas prices be the benchmark for all states.
Peter Cooke, Warrnambool
Chris Uhlmann (23/6), I’m pretty sure that building a dam is a hell of a lot more complex than digging a hole in the dirt.
Louise Johnson, South Yarra
Well done, Chris Uhlmann, for seeing our world as it is regarding our energy problems.
Ivan Gaal, Fitzroy North
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