Credit:Illustration: Michael Leunig
To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number.
Fix quarantine system, then resume the flights
Plans are afoot to accept international arrivals into Melbourne again (The Age, 6/3). But what has changed? Despite the Coate inquiry, we are still hearing about breaches in quarantine hotels, quarantine staff working across several venues, inadequate training and personal protective equipment, and communication lapses (The Age, 6/3). The contact tracing system is still not working consistently. And has ventilation in the quarantine hotels been audited?
After months of compliance and hardship, Victorians are sick of lockdowns and restrictions. We deserve an accounting of what has changed that makes it safe to resume international flights. Better yet, the quarantine system should to be fixed properly before we expose our community to imported viruses again.
Linda Stern, Alphington
We need to focus on vaccinating Australians first
Why do we need to “ramp up” international flights while an extremely infectious virus is being introduced into Australia from people returning here? It is important to get them home, but is it so urgent that we can’t get our front-line workers vaccinated first?
Incoming international flights have been organised federally, and quarantine in CBD hotels has been contracted out to state governments, which has proven to be not the most effective way to manage a pandemic. Workers in these hotels should have remained there, for the 14 days, and been provided with free accommodation and meals, and a reasonable wage. Had the federal government taken responsibility for this from day one, defence forces could have been immediately contracted to the hotels for the short term, while much safer and family-manageable quarantine options were prepared for the longer term.
There were also opportunities to repatriate Australians during 2020, perhaps contracting with Qantas to bring them home at a reduced cost. Stop the political blame game and suspend international flights until front-line workers are fully protected and the majority of Australians have been vaccinated.
Jenny Knox, Templestowe
Howard Springs: a model for the country to emulate
When will we see some action following the national review of hotel quarantine? I have just completed my two weeks at the Howard Springs quarantine facility following my return from Britain. The facilities, food and staff were excellent.
If we are able to construct something similar at Avalon airport, then let us move ahead quickly. But move forward with all aspects of the Northern Territory model: motel cabins with verandahs and windows that open; under the care of the Australian Medical Assistance Team, supported by the National Critical Care and Trauma Centre; security enforced by the army and federal police; a professional mental health team; a reputable caterer; and the training and employment of local people. Everyone worked exceptionally, so much so that we felt like “guests” in this safe, secure and well-run facility.
Michelle Pugsley, Port Melbourne
Let us show a generosity of spirit to Europe
In view of the desperate need in European countries, the European Commission has blocked the export of vaccines. Let Australia graciously accept this decision. The picture of a safe and healthy Australia jostling in a queue of desperately ill nations and waving “a deal’ is an ugly one. The Australian government has done a wonderful job to put us in this happy position and we are getting, and will get, our jab. I hope that the repeated reason for short-sighted and selfish decisions – “for the good of the Australian people” – does not resonate with most of us.
Tom Sutherland, Port Fairy
How else can we take it except as a “hostile act”?
A message to the Italian government: When Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio says the export ban “is not a hostile act towards Australia” (SBS, 6/3), all that means is that it was not hostile to Italy. But it is hostile to us.
Bronwen Bryant, St Kilda West
Women: hear us roar
Today is International Women’s Day. It is time for every local, state and federal politician, school principal, chief executive officer, business, religious organisation, institution and man to say enough.
Enough arrogance, entitlement, innuendo and personal remarks towards women. Enough locker room humour, intimidation, belittlement, invasion of boundaries and enabling the power imbalances. Sexual assault and rape? I want to know that every man will say “not on my watch”, and do something concrete to ensure equality and respect for all individuals.
Gillian Roberts, Barwon Heads
A political trail blazer
Sam Mostyn asks us to remember the four women leaders “who made history as our 2021 Australians of the Year” (Opinion, 4/3). I trust she has not forgotten one woman who made Australian history almost a century earlier.
On March 12, 1921, Edith Cowan became Australia’s first elected female politician. She represented the Legislative Assembly seat of West Perth, but was defeated after only one term in office. During her time in Parliament, she was maligned and treated with the utmost disrespect because she was a woman.
With the current chaos around women’s issues, here is an opportunity for people of all opinions to pause and reflect on the woman who opened the political door for women. Edith Cowan is more than a face on the $50banknote. She deserves to be remembered on her special anniversary.
Peter Whelan, Gladstone Park
The compassionate and insightful speech delivered by Grace Tame at the National Press Club was moving, educative and thought provoking. Her response to a question about entering politics, and the look of horror on her face, followed by a series of emphatic “No, definitely not”, said it all. Better to be a strong, independent voice and remain effective, rather than consumed by the “swamp” that is politics, where you inevitably become part of the problem, not the solution.
Philip Seymour, St Kilda
Our national music shame
Disgracefully, many of our much-treasured musicians are living on or below the poverty line, even some who have had big careers for 40 to 50 years. I also know musicians are never in a position to cry poor. The average night’s pay for a band member playing in most pubs has been almost the same for nearly 40 years. But as performance artists, they are not in the position to stir the possum.
Let us use the untimely death of Michael Gudinski (The Age, 3/3) as an opportunity to always treat our cherished music industry fairly. It has been, and still is, an Australian cultural disgrace. The huge number of music fans who donated to the charity, Support Act, during the COVID-driven music industry crisis illustrates I am not the only one with these opinions.
Jennifer Grimwade, Richmond
In the footsteps of Jeff
Jeff Kennett must be rolling with laughter, or at least he should be. After years of people criticising his government for selling off the states’ assets, they find their beloved Daniel Andrews has started doing the same – first the Port of Melbourne, then the Land Titles and Registry office, and now VicRoads’ registry. (The Age, 6/3).
There is, of course, a difference: what the Kennett government sold was mostly tired, rundown and/or surplus to requirement. The Andrews government has started flogging off all the good stuff.
Lance Wilson, Brighton East
More pedestrian crossings
Across Melbourne we are seeing apartment blocks being built on main roads. Often a small grocery store will open at ground level. But no one thinks to put in a pedestrian crossing across these busy roads. So people dash across the road, risking their lives.
A few years ago near where I live, a person tragically died doing this. Locals campaigned and eventually a signalised pedestrian crossing was installed. But just two kilometres away, another grocery store has opened on a main road. There is another accident waiting to happen. I appeal to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety: please make these places safe.
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick
Widen the inquiry
The investigation into the workplaces of Commonwealth parliamentary offices, including the responses to sexual harassment and assault is necessary, by why stop there?
The current culture invites inquiry into ministerial responsibility for whatever is done, or not done, in their departments. For example, when a minister departs from departmental advice, why is there not a written statement explaining why the decision was in the best interests of the community?
When a minister meets a member of the community – business leader, union official, developer or anyone else – why is an officer from his or her department not present to take minutes of the discussion? When egregious errors are made within departments, why is it not obligatory for ministers to resign? The issues with the culture of Parliament are much wider than the serious problems of sexual assault, harassment and bullying.
Ian Pitt, Brighton
Towards true maturity
Duncan Fine (Opinion, 5/3) says the decision to no longer publish several Dr Seuss books is a “sign of a mature society; a modern liberal democracy that values civility as well as freedom of speech; empathy and understanding”. But a truly mature democracy is not a revisionist clean-up of history. Instead, it teaches its children (and its adults) to think critically about racist stereotypes by thinking historically and encouraging debate.
It is a society that celebrates and supports – in meaningful and material ways – writers of difference to speak on mainstream platforms. A society that values freedom of speech and empathy creates spaces for voices that have long been repressed rather than a tokenistic suppression of powerful voices. Sure, it takes more work, but that would be a society committed to actual change.
Lara Stevens, Coburg North
Australians in the dark
It is great that Alan Finkel, who was appointed special adviser on low-emissions technology when his term as chief scientist expired in December, is telling leaders of other countries what our emission reduction strategies and targets are (The Age, 5/3). I just wish somebody would spell it out to us Australians.
John Groom, Bentleigh
The problem with people
Ecologists say that halting land clearing is one of the most important measures to prevent further species losses – “Australia’s wildlife loss widens” (The Age, 4/3). The habitat destruction caused by land clearing, they say, exposes native animals to predators such as cats and foxes. So instead of reducing land clearing and habitat destruction for farming, forestry and housing estates, our governments poison and trap cats, foxes and other creatures and ignore the real culprit – over-population.
Jan Kendall, Mount Martha
It’s time to play hardball
When will the Prime Minister grow a backbone and offer permanent residency to all Myanmar citizens who are in Australia? Former prime minister Bob Hawke cried over the Tiananmen Square slaughter, even without any empathy training. We need to stop making protests and play hardball. We need to withdraw our diplomats and no longer recognise Myanmar as a country. We need to join with as many countries as we can to enforce an arms embargo on it and put sanctions on anyone from the police and military.
Peter Ramadge, Newport
Support for all Victorians
Valerie Gerrand – “Aiming for rejuvenation of mental health services” (Letters, 6/3) – raised excellent points about mental health services in Victoria. Too often the focus for services is just Melbourne; there are people outside of the capital city who require these same services. In many cases, the need to travel great distances only makes things worse for them and then they give up. Proper funding of all services by all levels of government must be addressed immediately.
Stuart Symonds, Bendigo
The benefits of taxation
Why are so many people against paying more taxes but, at the same time, want better services and infrastructure? The money has to come from somewhere and considering that everyone at some point will need aged care, a levy is not such a bad idea. At least the cost would be spread over a large proportion of our population. More taxes equals better services.
Catherine Gerardson, Watsonia North
I’ll be switching off my TV
The relentless hype and speculation about Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan has bored me to tears. I will not be watching it.
Jean Andrews, Cheltenham
John Seal asked “Is Christian charity a matter of ‘heaven helps those that help themselves’?” (Letters, 6/3). Christian charity is actually a loaded phrase.
According to Matthew 15, Jesus’s response to a Gentile woman who asked him to heal her daughter was: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”. The implication is that outsiders are not deserving of charity or compassion. Perhaps that explains the federal government’s treatment of “illegal” refugees.
Brian Kilday, Jeeralang Junction
A warning to the Pies
Leon Davis said it all about Collingwood and its racist past – “Davis’ plea to old club: hear our pain” (Sport, 6/3). If the club’s new leadership does not have the will or capacity to do what needs to be done, this long-time Collingwood member will be bailing out.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool
AND ANOTHER THING
Thank you, Grace Tame, for giving us the language and courage to stand up to those who seek to silence, denigrate and control women.
Jodie Brown, Northcote
How many men are racking their brains and wondering: “Was that really consensual?“
Sarah Bone, Wonthaggi
Could Kate Jenkins publish her review of Parliament House’s workplace culture as a podcast? Otherwise the PM may not read it.
Shelley Rowlands, Hawthorn
Australia’s #MeToo moment.
Greg Doueal, Croydon
Innocent until proven guilty? PM, how about those victims of robo-debt?
Royce Bennett, Baxter
The public seems to be dirty washing and the PM a washing machine who washes, rinses, spins and then repeats.
Daniela Goldie, Camperdown
Is that noise from behind the whiteboard Dutton, rubbing his hands together?
John Bye, Elwood
Would Albanese support an inquiry into allegations against Porter if it included Shorten (6/3)?
Jeremy Browne, Ripponlea
I am one of the “mob” who had hoped for some ethical standards in politics.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East
Parliament is meant to represent the common people. Our MPs represent themselves and their interests.
Tom Stafford, Wheelers Hill
There’s a stench building up around Morrison’s government,
Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North
If VicRoads’ registry generates $1.8billion in revenue a year (6/3), why is the state government partly privatising it?
Ross Ogilvie, Woodend
Thank you, Tony Wright (6/3), for championing the cause of the unsupported seamen, both at sea and in port. We rely on them.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield
Note from the Editor
The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article