Do not sacrifice health workers for our freedom

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Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

OPENING UP

Do not sacrifice health workers for our freedom

Re “Hospitals ’buckling under pressure‴⁣⁣ (The Age, 30/9), the Victorian health system was overwhelmed before the pandemic. Ambulance ramping, workforce shortages, stressed-out workers – none of this is new. COVID-19 comes on top of the existing problems and the healthcare workforce has continued to pivot and adapt over the past 18 months. Uncomfortable personal protective equipment, long hours, extra shifts, high-risk workplaces and no tea rooms.

Like most people, I have had enough of restrictions and want lockdown to end. Vaccination rates are an important measure in the plan to reopen Australia, but not the only one. The wellbeing and safety of the healthcare workforce should be another significant consideration. If the number of exhausted and stressed out ambos, nurses and doctors is high, if they are at breaking point, then the value of high vaccination rates will not be enough. I do not want my freedom to come at the expense of the health workers upon whom we all depend.
Catherine Healion, Seaford

The people and economy are spent, Premier

Re “Road out of lockdown might drag on” (The Age, 1/10), for 18months I have watched and listened, followed guidelines, walked within my five kilometres (and now 15 kilometres), stayed home, left my recently widowed mother visitor-less, missed celebrating important family events, had COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, clicked and collected, and tried to stay positive. Many others have had additional stresses of working and schooling from home.

No more. I can no longer look or listen to Dan Andrews or the health officials trundled out to spread bad news. I am done. The Victorian government needs to get over trying to prove something by doing things “its way”. It is not working. The people and the economy are spent.
Felicity Browne, Toorak

The selfishness of footy fans who partied

At the end of last term, two weeks ago, I wished my Zoom-weary students a happy holiday and a very well-earned break. I also hoped that “if everyone does the right thing”, we might even share a classroom together early in term four.

Unfortunately I reckoned without thousands of selfish footy fans who could not possibly have watched a grand final on their own, and who have put thousands of students’ capacity to enjoy a reprieve at risk. (Not to mention the poor nurses and ICU workers). The worst of poor sports – and for what?
David Baxter, Mornington

Will sport get priority over the arts, again?

If Dan Andrews is giving even the smallest consideration to the Victoria Racing Club’s request to host crowds of up to 11,500 people each day during the Melbourne Cup carnival, then surely the latest spike should put paid to that. It would be a slap in the face to arts organisations that have suffered through this long lockdown with minimal support and faint hope of opening venues any time soon for even the smallest crowd. Still, sports rule, so let us see who gets priority during that time.
Sally Holdsworth, Malvern East

Boost vaccination rates for everyone’s sake

While lockdown restrictions have been hard on everyone, some more than others, I find that the most depressing aspect is created by those who just do not care. The huge jump in cases, apparently due to widespread partying over the long weekend and, almost certainly, the protests in the city, saddens me more than any other news could have.

For everyone’s sake, just get vaccinated. To those who say the vaccines have not been tested well enough, the results of catching COVID-19 certainly have been. Read the evidence provided by those who have experienced it and, even further, those who have nursed COVID patients. They provide the best ever argument for vaccination.
Lynn Heath, Doncaster

THE FORUM

A grandfather’s plea

There is a sad lack of support for people with disabilities who need sedation to be vaccinated. My grandson is 15 and lives in Melbourne. His parents, and others who are special in his life, have taken him to be vaccinated four times but he cannot cope with the idea of the needle. The doctors and nurses cannot be faulted but the challenges of disability are too great.

Every day my grandson’s parents see more and more COVID-19 cases in their area. If he catches it, the outcome will not be good. There is a high risk he may die.

The waiting list for vaccination under sedation for my grandson at the Royal Children’s Hospital is April 2022, which may well be too late for him. There is an urgent need to reduce the waiting list and for people to follow the rules so they stop spreading the virus.
Stephen Fox, Fullarton, SA

Show a little respect

When I am out on a run I wear my mask under my chin, ready to pull it up when I see people approaching. I also veer off the pavement onto the road, when it safe to do so, to avoid them. In these strange times, where the judging of others is more prevalent than ever, it is a simple and respectful gesture. Every day I see people running who make no attempt to move or distance themselves. Being able to run, fellow runners, is a privilege, not an entitlement.
Pamela Young, Balwyn North

Seeking positive ideas

Good one, Matthew Guy. Case numbers have gone up and you say the Premier needs to stop blaming other people and ordinary Victorians. In this case some of the “ordinary Victorians” you refer to are the rule breakers. So when the road toll goes up it has got nothing to do with driver behaviour. This is the most serious health crisis the world has faced for over a century. How about you do some hard work and contribute some ideas on how we handle it?
Chris Curnow, Mordialloc

Famous last words

Re “Anger rising over airport veto proposal” (The Age, 1/10). My parents bought a house under the flight path in Pascoe Vale in 1965 – because Essendon Aerodrome was about to be replaced by Melbourne Airport. Completion of the new airport at Tullamarine was delayed (surprise!) and we had four more years of aircraft noise and bad television television reception. We were told in the 1960s that the new airport would be surrounded by industrial estates and aircraft noise would never bother anyone again.
Andrew Liston, Pascoe Vale

We need a federal ICAC

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has resigned after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced she was being investigated (The Age, 1/10).

Meanwhile, at the federal level, public grants are regularly allocated to the government’s electoral advantage, that is, to buy votes. There will be no stop to this outrage because, firstly, the federal Coalition has demonstrated it has little integrity or ethics, and secondly, it refuses to establish an anti-corruption body that can investigate politicians. How can we trust governments with our taxes if there is no demonstrable integrity?
Philomena Horsley, Northcote

The right move from …

Gladys Berejiklian has identified herself as a premier with a deep respect and understanding for the Westminster system. I am sure there will be many who will wish her well as she applies her demonstrated inner strength and gives her full attention to the travails which she now faces.
Peter Alexander, South Yarra

… a woman of integrity

Gladys Berejiklian shows her integrity by resigning while others with less integrity maintain their grip on power. It does not seem the right way around.
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh

The PM and the Premier

Scott Morrison clearly cannot now attend the Glasgow climate conference. He has too much to do here, now that he has the added responsibility of full-time Premier of NSW. Perhaps he encouraged Gladys Berejiklian to resign.
Robert Phillips, Templestowe

Unfair to our teachers

John Silvester, English teachers do not “fail to pass on even the rudimentary rules of punctuation” (The Age, 25/9), and laying the blame for Vlad’s poor grasp of said rules at our feet is ludicrous. Thousands of protesters disregarded all that they were told about distancing, wearing masks, mass gatherings, and as you reported, this was met with dismay and frustration by the police.

So too, teachers instruct, teach, cajole, display the elegant and sensible rules of punctuation every day. Some people struggle to learn – maybe Vlad did – despite the best efforts of their teachers. But, some don’t care, or stare out the window, or don’t have the motivation to focus, or don’t see the point in learning. It is such a tired old trope, to blame teachers when people cannot spell, or punctuate: there is a lot happening in any classroom.
Jackie Corless, Geelong

Voting for Murugappans

I have always considered myself an undecided voter, until it comes time to actually vote. Then I normally vote Liberal, or for a minor party and then put the Liberal candidate as number two, knowing that this will be my real vote. However, until the Murugappan family is allowed to return to Biloela, I will be putting the Liberals last. I invite others to follow my lead.
Cliff Strahan, Greensborough

We must face the future

Regarding the tornado in NSW, can we stop calling these “freak” weather events and start calling them “the new normal”. We might then start to understand the global warming task which is ahead of us.
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh

A way with words

There is nothing boring about Paul Keating (Letters, 29/9). Knowledgeable and insightful, he informs about the bigger picture. He has not lost his caustic wit or humorous turn of phrase. “Prophet from the Shire” and “growling policeman from Queensland” (Opinion, 29/9) come to mind. A delight to read always.
Ingrid Rodger, Williamstown

Danger with crystal balls

Considering the role that France plays now and foreseeably into the future in south-east Asia and the Pacific, and the fact that we had an agreement with the French, we have been, at best, miserable friends. Not contacting President Emmanuel Macron prior to axing the submarine deal was not worthy of our prime minister.

I agree with the change of power to nuclear which was an early hiccup with the French submarines because of our requirements, but surely we could have worked with them for the transition “to their experience”.

Lastly, and although I like Joe Biden, we may face Donald Trump – or a Republican cut from similar cloth – in three years. Then what of AUSUK? What interest in Australia? We are “crystal ball gazing” almost 20 years into the future.
Bill Thomson, Newport

ALP’s shameful silence

I guess the silence of Anthony Albanese in the face of the Morrison government’s deceitful and wasteful dumping of the French submarine deal has to be interpreted as consent.

Are Malcolm Turnbull and Paul Keating the only ones who will champion a nation which honours its agreements? This, along with our treatment of refugees and inaction on climate change, is trashing Australia’s international reputation and it seems to be fine by the alternative government.
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Why not compromise?

Has anyone thought of a mediated solution to the submarine imbroglio? What if we cancel the F-35 contract and agree to negotiate with the French to buy their arguably better but cheaper plane?
Julian Ireland, Malvern

Learning as you go along

To Millennials (1/10) struggling with SuperQuiz. We couldn’t answer those questions at your age either. Lifelong learning.
Steve Melzer, Hughesdale

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Environment

Of course he won’t be able to go to Glasgow. He’ll be home here holding the hose.
John Uren, Blackburn

I’m so excited. Australia should solve its global warming problem by 5050. I just can’t wait.
Paul Drakeford, Kew

Canavan, McKenzie and Pitt have learnt Scotland’s emergency number for a protest call to Glasgow in November: Nein Nein Nein.
David Wilson, Port Fairy

The idea of adding a third and fourth runway to Melbourne Airport (1/10) is at odds with any climate change goals. Doubling the capacity? Really?
Peter Seligman, Brunswick West

COVID-19

Those who undermined suppression can now return to being those who criticise escalation.
Russell Ogden, Inverloch

Britney is free (1/10). Fortunately she doesn’t live in Victoria.
Ed Veber, Malvern East

Re vaccines. I’m more concerned about the additives, colouring and flavour enhancers in packaged food.
Eric Kopp, Flinders

So, WorkSafe may fine the Health Department up to $95 million which will be paid into Victoria’s consolidated revenue. All good.
Adrian Bowden, Brighton East

Extending the lockdown will unfairly penalise the many honest people who obey the rules.
James Young, Mount Eliza

Freedom’s one thing but the greater good is another, particularly when you could be infecting others and not just the like-minded.
Mick Carrig, Black Rock

Politics

Matthew O’Brien or Michael Guy. Spot the difference.
Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North

It seems Morrison wants to be responsible for everything but accountable for nothing.
Kevin Fahey, Red Hill

Think how many station car parks could be built if the government reclaimed money from companies which made bogus JobKeeper applications (1/10).
Tony Danino, Wheelers Hill

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