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Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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Holgate, an easy diversion from the important issues
Chief executive Christine Holgate’s attitude to the cost of the watches given to Australia Post executives – that taxpayers’ funds were not used (The Age, 23/10) – was rather arrogant.
However, I would have thought the logic applied by the Prime Minister in his strong criticism of this purchase was just as applicable to the millions paid in bonuses to National Broadband Network executives and the excessive amount paid to Leppington Pastoral Company for land next to Western Sydney Airport. Obviously, when it is millions the Prime Minister does not care, but a few thousand allows his indignation to reign supreme. Or will Christine Holgate be the sacrificial lamb to divert attention from these issues?
Michael Macleod, Prahran
The real problems that are facing Australia Post
Such outrage over $12,000 for watches for Australia Post executives. I am far more outraged by their excessive salaries, the degradation of service, the pittance paid to those who work hard to deliver our mail and parcels, and the notion that it is OK for overpaid executives to ask employees to volunteer their own vehicles to work overtime to help deliver the backlog.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
Residents, beware. Your street no longer exists
Since March, I have posted small parcels about every three weeks from Wodonga to my grandchildren in Pascoe Vale South. One parcel took almost five weeks to arrive, most take two to three weeks. Three weeks ago, my parcel could not be accepted for delivery because, I was informed, the street number did not exist. On Thursday there was a new problem: the street does not exist. I was told it was a problem with a ‘‘new system’’. I am sure residents of this street will be very surprised to learn this.
Irene Dunstan, Wodonga
For 50 years, a very impressive mail service
I have being paying bills by mailing cheques over the past 50 years. Contrary to the fibs that I may have told my creditors, not one ever went astray in the mail. My most recent example: a cheque posted in Dromana last Sunday and banked in Parramatta on Wednesday. Hang in there, Christine Holgate.
Richard McLoughlin, Dromana
Prime Minister, be outraged at the climate rort
While our Prime Minister has dialled up the outrage and is revelling in the ‘‘watches rorts’’ (not the sports rorts), he thinks no one is immune to his government’s climate action rorts. Stopping these rorts – including giving taxpayer support to party donors in the fossil fuel industry – would be of far greater significance to Australia.
Joan Logan, South Melbourne
Forget the executives, focus on the public
What is it with the bosses at Australia Post who are so generous with its money? Why can’t it be run as a service to the Australian public? No wonder it is expensive to post a letter if so much money is spent on expensive watches and hefty bonuses for its executives.
Olivia Cuming, Hawthorn
It is time to reward the front-line workers
The staff at the Swan Hill post office are invariably pleasant and efficient at their jobs. That is, they keep the system functioning. As far as I know, they have not received any watches from Australia Post.
Barrie Bales, Woorinen North
A cheaper way to ensure executives are on time
If Christine Holgate had wanted her executives to know the time, she should have bought them phones. They display accurate satellite time, adjust automatically for daylight saving and can be used for work. Fewer questions would have been asked if she had done this rather than buy Cartier watches.
Rod Watson, East Brighton
Scott Morrison, if only the standard you rightly expect of Australia Post’s chief executive, Christine Holgate, was also applied to the sports rorts saga and other misdemeanours such as Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor’s use of a false document to attack the lord mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.
Anne Fitzpatrick, Abbotsford
Week by week mail
Recently I received a weekly financial newsletter a week late, together with the previous week’s issue, which was two weeks late. Next week I shall ask the publisher to mail it ‘‘parcel post’’ with an Amazon sticker on it. That should get priority.
Christopher Mayor, Kennington
A reward for loyalty
I am one of the dwindling numbers who still post letters and parcels to friends via Australia Post. Am I entitled to a handsome bonus?
Joan McMillan, Ballarat
The value of the arts
Regarding ‘‘The Melbourne art exhibition that opened, and closed, unseen’’ (Arts, 21/10). It is encouraging to read that galleries are still functioning in Melbourne, even if it is only currently online for the public. One of the things I have missed most is wandering past artworks and getting lost inside paintings for who knows how long. As the artist Rick Amor notes in your article, looking at artworks on Instagram is not quite the same, but hopefully we will be able to see works in person again soon.
James Gaunt, Carlton
Encouragement to work
Millions of people on JobSeeker benefits will not know how much income support they will receive next year until December, sparking concerns this will be too late for a Christmas spending recovery (The Age, 23/10). People on JobSeeker are not likely to blow the money on Santa hats and toys. They need it for food, utility bills and rent.
Apparently there are concerns within the government that giving too much financial support becomes a disincentive to accept paid work. I suggest one of the greatest incentives would be provide free childcare. This would mean more people seeking work, paying taxes and being able to keep themselves safe from malnutrition and homelessness.
Juliet Flesch, Kew
The creeping malaise
Waleed Aly – ‘‘Does anyone care about integrity?’’ (Comment, 23/10) – quite rightly challenges us. And yes, we probably do care, but over recent years have we become inured? Virus-like, this malaise seems to have engulfed all levels of government and business across the nation and it seems such poor behaviour is now accepted as normal. Ergo, we ordinary citizens are also to blame and unless our concerns are relayed to decision makers, we face the likelihood of deja vu.
Jim Aylmer, Mount Waverley
A decline in probity
Regular reading of newspapers and listening to the radio or television news would indicate nobody much does care about integrity. Daily there seems to be yet another example of disgraceful behaviour which is shrugged off,without any consequences. The infamous sports rorts, underpayment of already low-paid workers, unauthorised land clearance, corporate malfeasance and lies from those in elected office. Certainly no burden of shame appears to carried by anyone. What an example this is for us all. A future distinguished by a perpetual and universal decline in probity must lie ahead.
Georgina Batterham, Richmond
The Victorian debacle
Waleed Aly cites examples of poor government integrity including Gladys Berejiklian, the Badgerys Creek land sale scandal, the Morrison government’s COVID-19 commission, the former federal Liberal minister Helen Coonan’s role at Crown, which is under investigation for money laundering, and the sports rorts saga. Pick the common thread here. A mention of branch stacking on both sides of politics and of NSW Labor paying the price for its ‘‘Obeidian sleaze’’. But not a whiff of the Andrews government’s lies and cover-ups of a debacle that has cost more than 800 lives.
David Southgate, Hampton
Proud to be a Victorian
Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson says there were no health reasons for the curfew in Melbourne and that it may have constituted a serious breach of human rights (The Age, 23/10).
What about the human rights of the people who supported the curfew to reduce their chances of getting COVID-19? Perhaps Senator Henderson could look at the human rights of refugees, recognition of Indigenous Australians and the people in aged care who are experiencing sexual assault at an alarming rate (The Age, 23/10). Another Victorian MP attacking the Premier. I am proud to be a Victorian.
Nola Price, Mornington
Not such a great record
Lindsay Fox (The Age, 21/10) is entitled to his support for Daniel Andrews’ leadership in handling COVID-19, citing our case numbers as justification. May I remind him that there have been 817 deaths in Victoria due to the virus as against 88 in all other states.
Frances Cohen, Sorrento
If we are looking for extra quarantine facilities for returning Australians etc, there must be a lot of idle cruise ships around that could be leased cheaply. These could easily be adapted for the purpose. They already have kitchens, hospitals and balconies for fresh air.
John Killmister, Brighton East
A risky ‘thank you’
I suspect many people who risk COVID-19 to care for others in our health system would not be the least interested in a day at the races as a gesture of gratitude (Letters, 22/10).
It is very difficult to have crowd control or COVID-safety at the races. Health professionals are only too aware of the risks from shared bathrooms and alcohol-fuelled bonhomie. They would also understand the health impacts of gambling and the physiological impacts of whipping a tired horse. Let us find another way to thank our health heroes.
Mary Mack, Box Hill
Oh, the pain of lockdown
Australians in other parts of the country only have the faintest idea of how tough it has been here in Melbourne. I mean, imagine trying to enjoy the world’s best coffee through a face mask.
James Webster, Parkdale
Margaret McKenna, in commenting on the hotel quarantine inquiry (Letters, 23/10), opines that ‘‘no doubt the Australian Defence Force would have done a better job’’ (than private security firms). Would it? In view of alleged behaviour of some members of the ADF in carrying out their core duties, this is not necessarily true.
Peter Price, Southbank
Fight this global threat
COVID-19, while disruptive and lethal worldwide, will be a footnote of history when global warming kicks in, with increases of at least two degrees over the next decade. Already maximum temperature records are consistently being broken, huge bushfires occurring where they never have before, and coastal regions inundated. The pandemic has highlighted humanity’s inability to co-ordinate an adequate response to a global threat, yet it may help galvanise us to ‘‘get on our bikes’’ and elect thoughtful, tough and determined politicians who do something about this environmental threat.
Andrew Smith, Leongatha
The pros and the cons
Yesterday’s public holiday clearly divided our society. Those who whinged about it through a personal economic (loss) lens, and those in the workforce who had not had a public holiday for more than four months and who welcomed the long weekend.
Jae Sconce, Moonee Ponds
The mystery admirers
During the debate, Donald Trump claimed various world leaders had congratulated him on the US’ performance in combating COVID-19. With the possible exception of his mate, Vladimir Putin, I wonder who he could have been referring to.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
ScoMo doth protest too much, methinks.
John Hanstein, Black Rock
Christine, my Seiko watch has seen better days. Can you help?
Max Nankervis, Middle Park
Perhaps Holgate gave the executives watches to help them get the mail out on time.
Catherine Healy, Brighton
It never happened on my watch.
Keith Hallett, Gisborne
You’re being watched, Christine.
Robyn Carey, North Fitzroy
It would have been appropriate if she’d given the executives, and herself, Mickey Mouse watches.
Alister McKenzie, Lake Wendouree
The executives were just doing their jobs. A Cartier watch as a thank you is disgraceful.
Christine Hammett, Richmond
Odds on those watches weren’t delivered by mail.
Jim McLeod, Sale
Snouts in the post box, Christine? Only every second day though.
Deborah Rogers, Seaton
One might as well be hanged for a Rolex as a Cartier.
Les Anderson, Woodend
Brett Sutton, another fall guy.
Anne Flanagan, Box Hill North
Johnny Cash gave us the ring of fire. Andrews gave us the ring of steel. Now we need evidence with a ring of truth.
Richard Opat, Elsternwick
Melbourne: Australia’s most leavable city.
Eric Willson, Brighton
For a trucking magnate, Lindsay Fox makes a great politician.
Ed Veber, Malvern East
We’ve advanced from the state of disaster to the state of absurdity, where we have a public holiday for a non-event.
Doug Petering, Blackburn
I hear the grand final isn’t at the MCG and is being played under lights. So it will be at VFL Park Waverley then?
David Pool, Greensborough
In some councils, ‘‘oversight’’ is used as a synonym for ‘‘cover up’’.
Rich Gard, Glen Iris
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