Those unable to get jab a ‘minuscule’ number

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VACCINATION STATUS

Those unable to get jab a ‘minuscule’ number

The Age’s editorial (“How do we handle the unvaccinated?”, 26/10) describes the number of people that cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons as “small”.

“Digital vaccine exemption certificates available soon” (The Sunday Age, 26/9), provided the information that the only people who cannot get any of the three coronavirus vaccines available are those who are allergic to both Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), which is in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and Polysorbate 80, which is in the AstraZeneca vaccine. Professor Kristine McCartney, Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, indicates that the number of people affected by both these allergies translates to “almost no one”.

My grandson’s kindergarten president also noted that, in practice, the only reason for a government exemption being granted was hospitalisation after an unusually severe reaction to the first vaccine. It does not help reduce the number of adults choosing to remain unvaccinated but it needs to be clear that the actual number of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons is “minuscule”.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

Self-interest leaves the world vulnerable
As Peter Hartcher rightly points out (“Jab divide leaves us all unsafe”, The Age, 26/10), until every nation has been given adequate doses of the vaccine the world will never be safe. It is dishonourable that wealthy western countries have put their own interests first. By behaving this way and not looking to the needs of poorer nations it has left the world more vulnerable. The virus will as a result mutate quicker and with it the decline in immunity and so the vaccine will be useless in giving adequate protection.

We see once again that self-interest has prevailed and through this selfish behaviour bought lasting uncertainty to world safety.

This kind of behaviour is shameful and action must be taken to immediately provide adequate vaccine doses to the poorest countries of the world.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency

Stars come and go but the AO will go on
Greg Baum (“At Open, no vax is a double fault”, The Age, 26/10) is spot on calling for vaccinated tennis players at the 2022 Australian Open. I’ve been attending the AO for decades. I went before Novak Djokovic was even playing tennis and I’ll be going when he’s retired. Great tennis and a well run tournament makes a successful AO. While the star players come and go they’re not the reason the AO is a great tournament.
Geoffrey Conaghan, St Kilda

We need to respect our vaccination efforts
By the time the Australian Open rolls around in January, more than 90 per cent of Victorians will be double vaxxed. This effort has enabled the state to be open to hold events such as the Australian Open, while further protecting highly paid competitors. We have held up our part of the contract, however, non-vaxxed players do not hold the same intentions. Even if that small coterie of unvaxxed players ignore the moral and health obligations Victorians have already accepted, how can anyone, elite or otherwise, even be allowed into the country without being double vaxxed?
Kevin O’Neill, Essendon West

Unvaccinated shouldn’t be second-class citizens
Premier Daniel Andrews has stated unvaccinated people will not be given the same rights as vaccinated people until the end of 2022.

Is he serious? What this means is that a percentage of Victorians won’t be able to get a haircut for the next 14 months, or go to the movies or museums, art galleries or places of worship or entertainment and sporting venues.

It’s time the Premier was challenged on the use of unfair and discriminatory vaccination passports. Given the high vaccination rates surely it’s unnecessary and redundant? Why should unvaccinated people be treated unfairly for another 14 months as second-class citizens? This is wrong.
Alan Barron, Grovedale

THE FORUM

Tackle tomorrow’s threats
Living through a pandemic has sharpened everyone’s awareness of what immediate risk looks like: risk to livelihood; health; the vulnerable; society at large. Reading Miki Perkins’ article (“Health fears on silica dust at quarry”, The Age, 25/10) hits home how deficient we are in evaluating future risk. Paediatric allergist Dr David Bannister tells us the Ross Trust is “potentially playing Russian roulette with [children’s] health”.

As well as spewing silica dust and harmful PM2.5 particles into the air, this proposed open-cut mine, with a possible 70-year operational lifespan, envisages destroying up to 38 hectares of bushland – and all this just 800 metres from the local primary school.

I applaud Dr Bannister and his fellow health professionals in standing up for the future of our communities. And I pray that a government that can be incisive in the moment with lifesaving COVID-19 mandates will show the same urgency with safeguarding children, wildlife and bushland. It’s time to kill off threats to tomorrow with the same clear-sightedness we bring to the challenges of today.
Fiona Clancy, East Kew

A thorough investigation
The Ross Trust was established in Victoria in 1970 by the will of Roy Ross to support charities, to protect vulnerable Victorians and create positive social and environmental change. Hillview Quarries (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ross Trust) has safely operated its quarry on the Mornington Peninsula since 1968.We undertake regular health and safety checks for our staff and carefully monitor external environments consistent with industry and site-specific standards. These are independently assessed and meet EPA regulations.

The Ross Trust and Hillview Quarries are proceeding with an open and transparent Environment Effects Statement, which is the established evidence-based Victorian government process in the best interests of the community. This will ensure all current and future conditions and operations of the site are thoroughly investigated and considered.
Jeremy Kirkwood, The Ross Trust, Geoff Nicholson, Hillview Quarries

Actions over words
A classic Howard-school distraction by the Prime Minister. The government is happy to claim it will not break a promise about the 2030 emissions target. But at the same time is proud to boast when the efforts of state governments and industry break the targets the government refused to set. Is this what is meant by emphasising actions over words?
Miriam Bruning, Kingston, ACT

Gold-plated treasure
A huge thank you to cartoonist Matt Golding who has been a constant source of down-to-earth humour and a lifeline assisting us getting through these long days of lockdown. You are a treasure. Thanks so much.
Marilyn Hewitt, Ivanhoe East

A failure of truth
The Nationals climate deal is a failure of truth, a failure of courage and a failure of leadership. When are we going to get political leadership which tells the climate truth, which plays to our climate strengths and advances the climate opportunities we collectively have as a nation, and this includes our regions, to not only keep us with the times but also contribute meaningfully to the development of our economy and safeguarding our future.
Marie Hodgens, Burwood

No real punishment
In the conference on the royal commission relating to Crown Casino the most common phrase was “We accept all of the commission’s recommendations” but never “We will enact all of the commission’s recommendations”. Crown has been slapped with a wet $5 note and no real punishment it seems.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

Democracy at risk
In Kyoto at the very last minute, what has become known as “The Australia clause” was announced to an exhausted audience. The clause allowed Australia to include land clearing emissions in its accounting. Later when the implications were realised, the world was furious. It seems history is repeating itself with last-minute deals and land use again being used as a bargaining tool. The most cynical part of the deal is the proposed changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to ease what the Nationals see as “green tape on farmers and miners” (“Coalition deal to fund new ‘clean’ projects”, The Age, 26/10). If, after Professor Graeme Samuel’s exhaustive review of the act, the government proceeds with this latest back-door attempt to undermine it, Australian democracy will be in shreds.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Australians come last
Why would you vote for the Coalition when, over the past eight years, it has achieved nothing, had no policies or foresight, pilloried the opposition’s initiatives to address climate change and the economy, and now facing electoral defeat, adopts all those Labor Party policies. These hypocrites do not deserve another term in government. They have betrayed Australia in putting their party and their industry supporters first and Australians last.
Rob Rogers, Warrandyte

Window for change is now
It is almost unthinkable that given the litany of errors in policy and management, the Coalition has made over recent years, that it should be given another term. Yet sadly this could happen, because although polls show the Coalition trailing Labor, the Labor Party is not showing the leadership required to win the election.

For Labor to win, it needs to either sharpen its message or change the leadership team (Albanese/Marles). The window to do so is closing for either to take place.
Bruce F. MacKenzie, South Kingsville

What is it I don’t get?
The Bergin inquiry into Crown in Sydney found “that Crown is unfit to hold the licence for its new $2.2 billion casino on Sydney Harbour”, using evidence from its Melbourne and Perth casinos. So it beggars belief that the very casino from where the evidence came, is allowed to keep its licence, subject to various conditions. What is it I don’t get?
George Djoneff, Mitcham

No more Chance cards
Sounds like the royal commission is having an each-way bet on the new board of Crown, finding the gambling venue as being unfit, yet letting it retain its licence. Surely some enforceable undertaking would have been appropriate. There can’t be any more Chance cards left.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

Elderly remain vulnerable
The echo call of Freedom Friday is appropriate to most Victorians except for those who have a family member or loved one in aged care. According to an Aged Care National snapshot of that same day (October 22) there are 513 active COVID-19 cases in 63 residential aged care facilities with 91 deaths. Even Western Australia, Queensland, and the ACT, have recorded COVID-19 infections whereas in 2020 their aged care facilities were COVID-19 free. Despite financial assistance and stricter employment rules the virus is still seeping into the aged care sector especially in the two largest cities.

If health predictions of rising active COVID-19 cases for sometime are correct, proportionately this will impact aged care facilities. The lifesaving formula devised by governments to protect aged care facilities from the virus in 2021 hasn’t worked.
Peter Whelan, Gladstone Park

Share the rewards
What is it with executives and their need for bonuses? The majority of workers manage to do what’s required for the wage/salary on offer; many go above and beyond for the inherent rewards that doing a good job brings. I’d like to see all bonuses to executives scrapped and instead shared equally among all employees: this would better reflect that success results from many people doing small things that cumulatively make a huge difference.
Maxine Hardinge, Clunes

Bonuses on the nose
During this pandemic, we have read and heard of people losing their jobs, struggling to place food on the table for themselves and their families, to pay rent/mortgages, pay utility bills. Yet Australia Post and NBN, both taxpayer-owned businesses have paid out almost $300 million in personal bonuses to executives and employees.

Unbelievable comes to mind. Just imagine how many could be employed with this amount of money.
Jane Taylor, Newport

Time to ban NDAs
That the Australian Law Alliance wants non-disclosure agreements (NDA) prohibited in harassment and discrimination cases, unless the victims say otherwise, is great news (“Lawyers in push to end secrecy over harass cases”, The Age, 25/10).

For too long survivors of sexual assault and harassment have had to sign away their right to speak, suffering further damage by not being able to talk about those events.

Under the veil of secrecy, perpetrators continue their bad behaviour, even climbing the career ladder, as victims struggle to live with the damage done to their health, careers and lives. Senior managers don’t hear about what happened and so don’t address the problem.

Given this, we may ask if the Morrison government’s recent decision to develop NDA guidelines (in response to recommendations in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect @work report) is a backwards step. Those guidelines will be helpful for implementing NDAs and may prevent more egregious practices, but send the wrong message that NDAs are legitimate because they have the imprimatur of the government and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

It’s time to ban non-disclosure agreements.
Judith Bessant, School of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Net zero deal
Think 2030. So “net zero commitment” is really zero commitment.
Bob Stensholt, Glen Iris

The deal? The biggest taxpayer-funded, pre-election pork barrel to date.
Julia Thornton, Surrey Hills

Vote Nat Zero.
James Glenn, Croydon

The government’s latest policy to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 is nothing more than hot air.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch

In further good news for our children and grandchildren, Keith Pitt, an advocate of the coal industry’s future, has been elevated to cabinet.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie

Barnaby Joyce, what about the other 95 per cent of Australians?
Helen Hallett, Gisborne

Blarn(ab)y.
Bill Burns, Bendigo

The Coalition climate change response is a Nationals disaster!
Brian Rock, Beechworth

I have “blind trust” in ScoMo’s commitments in Glasgow.
George Reed, Wheelers Hill

Will Bazza McKenzie be going with Scottie to the conference?
Rod Moore, Kyneton

Nats seek sweeteners to agree to the zero emissions target. Why do politicians and their parties need to be rewarded for doing the right thing? Isn’t that their job?
Peter Burton, South Melbourne

From brandishing coal in Parliament to championing climate change. There is a PM who wants to stay PM.
Peter Johns, Sorrento

Crown casino
What does one have to do to lose a casino licence?
Tony O’Brien, South Melbourne

Crown casino … can keep its “licence” to print money!
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

Finally
Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, Ms Foster. “Just an eye closing”, pull the other one.
Ian Baker, Castlemaine


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