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Effects

Vaccination responses paint worrying picture

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The virus may be “seeping” and “marching”, but the NSW government needs to set aside its tunnel-vision approach and realise that the virus is also “leaping” and “bounding”.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

These concerns are not to be dismissed lightly
I completely agree with Peter Singer’s contention (“Why jabs should be compulsory”, Comment, 9/8) that it is good for seat belts to be compulsory and COVID vaccination should also be compulsory, or at least other freedoms be contingent on vaccination. Statistics and morality – you should not put others at risk – support this position. However, I also acknowledge two important issues some people may have.

Firstly, for better or worse, some people believe the illusion of control they have when they get behind the wheel of a car, but many people are concerned that they have no control over whether they will be hit by a vaccination side effect, and this is a legitimate fear.

Second, many people feel deeply about their right to control anything that enters their body, from simple decisions around food to many of the other chemicals that we are subjected to, not always for the best reasons.

While ignorance provides no argument, these considerations cannot be dismissed lightly.
Howard Tankey, Box Hill North

Commercial landlords must be held to account
Much has been spoken about, and quite rightly so, of the hardship COVID lockdowns have had upon residential tenants and the requests/push for landlords to display leniency in regards to rental payments.

But for some reason the plight of thousands of small businesses facing immense financial distress has not sparked any such call for commercial landlords to demonstrate the same level of compassion for their tenants.

A number of businesses with no opportunity to ply their trade online are facing ruination, outlaying exorbitant rental costs when they have no income. It is time for political parties and the media to highlight this issue and put pressure upon those landlords to be held to account and to show some clemency.

This behaviour of commercial landlords is destroying small businesses, strip shopping and, with it, the whole fabric of community living.
Janiene Hart, Northcote

THE FORUM

The path to paralysis
As a rusted on Labor voter I get it and accept that the Coalition parties have different priorities from Labor. It is a fact of political life that you pursue policies that look after your own constituents first and foremost.

It follows that policies intended to control COVID-19 will inevitably betray a pro-business bias with the Coalition, less so with Labor.

Nevertheless there is too much at stake for our nation to descend into the bitter polarisation that is looming, if not already here. We need look no further than America to see the consequences of mindless opposition to any contrary policies irrespective of logic or science.

If we want a paralysed nation this is surely the way to get it.
Dave Rabl, Ocean Grove

Time for a circuit-breaker
Gladys Berejiklian’s strategy of progressively closing infected local government areas in a desperate attempt to keep businesses open and reduce the spread of COVID is fundamentally flawed.

Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted is useless and until all the stables are locked down at once, as per the Victorian model, the COVID horses will continue to bolt.

Doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result is a fool’s folly – and NSW’s climbing infection numbers show that. The circuit-breaker should be to put someone else in charge, both in NSW and federally.
Rob Rogers, Warrandyte

Why even bother?
A count of all pedestrians (100 people) on the beach path between Parkdale and Sandringham included 51 per cent not using masks correctly or at all. Abundant police in their comfortable vehicles doing nothing.

Why bother with restrictions if they are meaningless? Are we all so keen to be infected?
Stephen George, Beaumaris

Find a permanent home
As an avid viewer of the Olympics, the coverage of Tokyo 2021 was amazing. I could watch what I wanted when I wanted and according to media reports I am not the only one to have appreciated this.

I think these Games have shown moving the Games from country to country is no longer the way to go. They are mostly consumed by people through the media (the main sponsors). The cost and the waste that is required for moving them around could be curtailed.

Time I think to build an Olympic City somewhere in the world where the weather is suitable for all sports, where athletes could train and other events could be run and viewed throughout the world.
How about Athens?
Ann Ritchie, Bellfield

More than the medal haul …
I couldn’t agree more with Greg Baum’s sentiments regarding the remarkable effort by Japan to host the almost un-hostable Games (“Enough spirit and sportsmanship to get Tokyo over finish line”, The Age, 9/8).

It would be an understatement to affirm the Olympics themselves and particularly the Australian sporting prowess on display has genuinely lifted the spirits of a weary nation. Yet, it has been more than what has turned out to be a most successful medal haul; it has also been the exemplary attitude of the athletes that has cheered many a heart.

What was utterly refreshing was witnessing these young athletes do their best, embrace their rivals, speak graciously afterwards and display genuine pride in representing their country, especially when singing the national anthem. Dare I say that there has been a renewed patriotism, totally free of awkwardness or embarrassment.

Where identity politics has also infused so many civil arenas, including sport, our green and gold representatives instead let the pool, the pitches, the playing surfaces and the podiums do all the talking, which is how it should be.

Granted, we desperately missed the crowds at Tokyo, but that has been more than made up for by our Australian athletes’ gold-winning attitude.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn

Viewers have brains
David Speers’ interview with federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Insiders on Sunday was marginally more informative than had Speers interviewed the test pattern.

Mr Hunt, viewers have brains that will not accept the load of tosh you are churning out.
Ian Hetherington, Moama, NSW

A quality sadly lacking
As pointed out by Peter Hatcher (“Australia at its best and worst”, Comment, 7/8) bipartisanship can bring about outstanding results, yet, as we have seen with the handling of this pandemic, this has been sadly lacking.

One of the first mistakes made by the Morrison government was the exclusion of the Opposition Leader from the national cabinet. This demonstrated a divide, which didn’t encourage bipartisanship. In all areas of good governance there is need for representation from all relevant bodies and then there will be acceptance of the decisions that are made.

The saying “united we stand divided we fall” has much merit and would do well to be adopted by the leaders of all governments in regard to this pandemic.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency

This is a rare opportunity
Mateship and caring for the other have been a hallmark of both the Olympics and the pandemic. There have been admirable examples of selflessness, personal sacrifice and caring for others in both spheres.

COVID-19 has moved us to understand the need for more “we” and less “I” and how dependent we are on each other. The Olympics have inspired us as competitors embrace both their teammates and their opponents.

Ignore the politicians who want us to “snap back” to normal and to recreate the business model that has created such overwhelming inequity. Winston Churchill is widely attributed with the saying “never waste a good crisis”. Is it too much to hope that as we rediscover these values we can eventually take this rare opportunity to rebuild a better, fairer and more caring world?
Bryan Long, Balwyn

We don’t need this
I used to be a fan of Michael Leunig’s pithy, clever cartoons.

My fandom was somewhat diminished by a few misogynist cartoons seemingly blaming women for many of the ills of the world. However I think I may have to revoke my allegiance all together after his supercilious, sneering attack on those of us who believe that being vaccinated is the right and proper thing to do (The Age, 9/8).

Many of us care about our own health and by extension that of the rest of the nation. That doesn’t mean we are sneering at anti-vaxxers, but it does mean we recognise that they are a danger to themselves and the rest of us. Casting us as snobbish, cashed up or well-heeled bogans at heart is not helpful at all.

I am tired of attempts by politicians, some commentators and now, apparently, cartoonists to further divide society. We need cohesion, tolerance and co-operation during this time of crisis.

I for one would hope that a high-profile social commentator such as Leunig should be a voice for reason in this debate and not yet another voice promoting antipathy between social groups.
Cheryl Day, Beaumaris

Refusal raises questions
The Prime Minster’s refusal to say if he saw the car park seat list (The Age, 6/8) raises at least two questions. First, how can the leader of our country get away with not answering a valid question on an important issue that could go to his credibility.

Second, what sort of country have we become when the population apparently, by lack of any outcry, seems to have accepted his refusal as satisfactory.
Bill Pimm, Mentone

Obsolete stereotypes
The $5.3 billion Big Housing Build is a partnership between community housing organisations and Homes Victoria that will deliver more than 12,000 social housing properties.

Yet, an outdated and obsolete stereotype of tenants who live in social housing is creating anxiety in some communities where these new developments are planned (“Residents push back on social housing blitz”, The Age, 9/8). Community housing tenants are simply renters who are unable to afford a home in the private rental market.

They are just like you and me, and include low-income families, single women and people with disability.

They grew up in our areas, go to our schools, and contribute to the vibrancy and character of our neighbourhoods.

You may not realise it, but chances are there is already social housing in your neighbourhood. There are tens of thousands of social homes across Victoria, and they come in many forms; free-standing homes and townhouses, duplexes, apartments and villas in existing developments, rooming house accommodation and more.

Importantly, the Big Housing Build is going a long way to realising the right of every Victorian family: a safe, secure and affordable home.
Lesley Dredge, CEO Community Housing Industry Association of Victoria, Melbourne

Bring back the carbon tax
Wildfires in Greece, floods in Germany, tragic loss of life, people losing homes and businesses, heartbreaking despair.

Time to reintroduce a carbon tax. It lowered emissions and generated much needed income for the nation.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie

It’s the new normal
Corruption in politics no longer matters. It is the new normal.

It doesn’t matter if politicians engage in pork-barrelling, sports rorts, or car park rorts. It doesn’t matter if they make a personal profit from government programs or that the donations to parties are nothing less than bribes. It doesn’t matter if they fail to follow the best scientific advice on climate change. It no longer matters if they go to an election without revealing a single policy or give multimillion-dollar gifts to the wealthiest individuals and corporations through tax cuts and other government programs.

It all doesn’t matter because the swinging voters who decide election outcomes are simply not paying attention and will make their decision on a whim on election day.
Tim Hartnett, Annandale, NSW

AND ANOTHER THING

Accountability
So Centrelink had robo-debt, but there is no accountability for JobKeeper overpayments? Disgraceful.
Carole Ruta, Brighton East

Credit:

Not hard to imagine the rantings and outrage from the Coalition and shock jocks about economic mis-management if a Labor government had introduced JobKeeper.
Giuseppe Corda, Aspendale

Vaccinations
Are the anti-vaxxers going to maintain their strong resistance to medical intervention when they present to hospital with severe COVID symptoms?
Mark Hulls, Sandringham

If I was 25, Brett Sutton, and the only car available was a Datsun 120Y I’d get it. But I’m not and it isn’t.
John Laurie, Riddells Creek

Politics
It would appear that many pundits are more intent on finding fault with the ALP in opposition than in scrutinising the many and varied failures of the Coalition government over the past eight years.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

It very much appears that ABC critic, who admits he doesn’t watch it, probably has his TV agenda full watching Sky News.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

A lack of interest
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s cruel indifference to the disaster low interest rates are inflicting on retiree savings should certainly be reviewed (“RBA chief rejects push for a review”, The Age, 9/8)
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood

Furthermore
Are the chin masks as effective as the face masks? They appear to be more popular.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

Finally
Could Clive Palmer’s ads and Michael Leunig’s cartoons please be placed together? That way I can avoid both at the same time.
Vivienne Bond, Warburton

Methinks Michael Leunig needs a healthy, countervailing dose of Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North

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