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LIFE IN LOCKDOWN
The QR codes won’t work unless we all use them
On a recent trip to a local supermarket that is one of the two large chains, they were enforcing the use of QR codes at the entrance. Not so at my local branch of a smaller supermarket chain.
QR scanner codes are prominently displayed at the entrance to the shopping centre and at the two entrances to the small supermarket. While there on Sunday morning, no one was scanning in at the entrance to the centre, and when I was keying in my details after scanning in at the supermarket entrance, several customers walked straight in without scanning the QR code. There were no staff near the entrances and no one enforcing the use of QR codes.
Now that the QR code system finally seems to be operating efficiently and constantly in Victoria, it is still rather useless if its use is not enforced.
Rosenna Hossack, Edithvale
Come, join us
Angry and frustrated at having to wear a mask? Fret no more – come to Elwood, where mask wearing is purely optional.
It’s the air. We are impregnable to COVID-19 and are never, never infectious, as a Sunday walk along the foreshore revealed. About 50 per cent of us had chosen the no-mask option, thus proving either that we are, indeed, invincible, or perhaps that our average IQ level is still in single figures.
Joy Neumann, Elwood
We are lucky to be cautiously governed
If anyone doubts the COVID risk to Melburnians, just have a look at the data for a similar city like Toronto, where the vaccine rollout is more advanced, but the pandemic continues. Sunday’s data there shows total cases now exceed 167,000 with 3400 deaths. There are 215 ICU patients there, of whom 138 are being ventilated. How lucky and cautiously governed are Victorians?
The public health response here in Victoria is, in my view, completely justified, especially given the federal government’s failure to get on with the vaccination race over the past few months. Scott Morrison’s main interest is the race to save face.
Greg Malcher, Hepburn Springs
The uncertainty stokes our stress
The excellent Talking Point by Michelle Griffin (“Finding our way out of lockdown loop”, Comment, The Age, 5/6) illustrates what the enlightened government of Singapore has achieved in engaging with its community around benchmarks for success in reopening from COVID lockdown.
Using these benchmarks, Singaporeans have been provided with a very clear road map to reopening, including dates when restrictions would be relaxed. Meanwhile, Victorians are being advised that their situation is a “day-to-day proposition” and it has been like this during each of the four lockdowns we have had to endure.
This uncertainty stokes the anxiety of an already stressed community and needs to be addressed. Acting Premier James Merlino, let’s follow the Singapore example, show some decisive leadership and a way out of our COVID lockdown.
Bill Chalkley, Rosebud
We’re doing a great job
As a bus driver, I have found in my experience that fewer people are travelling on buses and trains in the eastern suburbs than ever before. Public transport users appear to be abiding by the rules by staying away and residing at home.
Instead of young people hanging around train stations and shopping centres, they are instead walking in their local communities, calmly, happily and respectfully.
It’s great to see young teenagers kicking a ball around and others throwing hoops, young couples walking prams and the older people walking and holding hands.
Keep up the good work, Melbourne, we are all doing a great job.
Dallas Chartres, Patterson Lakes
Not so long ago, our life expectancy was “three score years and ten”, give or take good genes or good luck. Now, thanks to the miracles of modern science, technology, drugs and medical intervention, we can expect another 10 to 20 years.
All of this comes with possible side effects or adverse outcomes, and drug companies and medical practitioners are obliged to disclose these to avoid litigation. Most of us either don’t bother to read, or ignore, the fine print, choosing the hope of getting better over the possible adverse outcome.
Sensibly, these adverse outcomes are not widely publicised or the thought of paraplegia, mental impairment, blood clots, nerve damage or another chronic illness might put people off.
Now we have a miracle of modern science in a vaccine, and these same risk takers, many of whom swallow a handful of pills (with unknown side effects) each day, are hesitant to take a vaccine with a minuscule chance of side effects. It seems a bit selfish to not take a small risk to benefit the whole community and see our borders open again.
Liz Harvey, Mount Eliza
No easy solution
Your correspondent (“Getting back to basics”, Letters, 7/6) highlights the effect of the high proportion, about one-quarter, of out-of-field teachers in years 7 to 10 mathematics classrooms. A 2018 report by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute found that while the need is urgent there is no easy short-term solution.
It will take at least 10 years, which amounts to several generations of school students being affected. It will require serious leadership and incentives to attract and retain tertiary mathematics graduates in teaching. It will require giving these teachers the time and funding to expand the pedagogical content knowledge of existing out-of-field teachers who enjoy the subject and understand its real contribution to the future wellbeing of their students.
It is surely an ironic use of the term “the lucky country” when students’ progress in such an important subject is too often a matter of chance.
Jim Spithill, Ashburton
A well-earned title
Sean Kelly writes a comprehensive analysis about Scott Morrison’s continuing performance and outlines the way the PM repeatedly paints a positive picture of things (“PM falling for his own fiction”, Comment, 7/6).
As Kelly comments: “There is a role for leaders in dark times to rally their citizens with hope. But many of Morrison’s hunches turned out to be wrong. Lockdowns were essential, hedidn’t go to the football, ‘economic measures’ had to be extended past their original dates.”
For many Age readers the present PM has never changed from the time he was moved on from Australian tourism. He definitely earned the title “Scotty from Marketing” and he will continue to try and sell his story his way as long as he remains in Canberra.
Barry Donovan, Aireys Inlet
Address this anomaly
As an accountant in public practice, over recent days I have prepared and lodged applications on behalf of clients for the Business Costs Assistance Program.
In so doing I have found that the program is discriminatory against small businesses that have an ABN but are not registered for GST.
I have several clients who have been impacted by the shutdowns and who meet all other criteria but because they gross less than $75,000 per year have chosen not to register for GST and accordingly are not eligible for the program.
At the earliest, the government should address this anomaly.
Richard Sykes, Bell Park
A long black plastic tubestock seedling pot, 12 centimetres long by 5 centimetres square, is a perfect snug fit to cover the top of a star picket and will last, in my experience (so far), 15 years (“(Green) thumbs down for garden closure”, The Age, 5/6). Should be plenty of those around among the gardeners.
As for the snakes, perhaps a vigorous tapping of a small spade on the star picket will send them on their way. They will wriggle off if well warned by heavy boots and a bit of noise.
Elaine Hopper, Blackburn
Deeply upsetting news
The news about the closure of the community garden at the Collingwood Children’s Farm is deeply upsetting.
While there may well be appropriate reasons to upgrade these gardens, we simply must promote and increase community and backyard gardening.
Growing seasonal food locally has so many benefits. Locally grown food is the most sustainable way to grow and eat food, has health and nutritional benefits, promotes understanding about where our food comes from, creates community, costs less, supports those in need and it tastes amazing.
We must not let bureaucratic opposition get in the way of moving forward to sustainable, regenerative food production, and this must start locally.
Amy Hiller, Kew
They made it easy
I have recently returned from NSW, where I travelled extensively on trains. It was pleasing that my credit card was accepted at all station barriers for “tap on – tap off”. The same screen was used for my card as for the state Opal card. Ticket inspectors were able to read my credit card for travel verification.
Why do we not have the same flexibility in Victoria? Given that there is to be a rail connection to the airport it would be convenient for interstate and overseas travellers to be able to use credit cards and not have to purchase a myki card.
Would 10 years to build the railway to the airport be sufficient time to upgrade the myki system, albeit for another $1 billion-plus?
Bruce Hocking, Camberwell
What if it were Labor?
Scott Morrison is being hypersensitive when he says he is offended by the ABC’s Four Corners program investigation of his alleged links to one of Australia’s foremost adherents of the QAnon movement.
I wonder what his reaction would have been if the leader of the Labor Party happened to have a close friendship with a person closely involved with a fringe left-wing ideological group pedalling dangerous conspiracy theories (as QAnon has been shown to have been in the United States and elsewhere).
And what if the leader of the Labor Party had employed that person’s wife on his staff in a publicly funded position? Nothing to see here, move on?
Garry Meller, Bentleigh
The about-face by Mathias Cormann is really no different to that of so many former MPs who seem to routinely experience epiphanies the minute that they leave office.
To believe that the words that they espouse while in office are their strongly held beliefs is naive – their views are dictated by “talking points” delivered to them daily by their party.
As Groucho Marx said: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them … well I have others.“
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North
Look at it this way
Your correspondent (“For some of us, the health risk is very real”, Letters, 5/6) should consider this. The rate of blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine is about 10 in every one million according to the federal Department of Health – about one in a full MCG, as she says – but the death rate from this clotting is much less, maybe 20 per cent of this. The death rate of people contracting COVID-19 is something like one in 200 according to most estimates – about one in a full airliner.
If the choice is between going to the MCG knowing one person there will get sick (but not necessarily die) or flying to Sydney knowing that one person on board will die, I know which one I’d choose.
Peter Neuhold, Elsternwick
We’ll get back to you …
Our leaders are leaning heavily towards an in-principle disposition towards a possible firm decision to do something that undeniably has a tendency to be required to be done. We, the people, should rejoice in such decisive leadership.
Peter Barry, Marysville
The comments relating to the “high” cost of making specific quarantine facilities given these may not be needed when vaccination reaches community protection level are seriously misguided.
The cost of such facilities is trivial compared to the cost of shutting the economy down. When such facilities are no longer needed then these can be used for homeless people.
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton
It’s later than he thinks
Anthony Albanese has been using AFL game analogies to illustrate his strategy in his approach to the election. In his terms, it’s the last quarter when he will move and be kicking with the wind.
Well, Mr Albanese, I think we are well into the last quarter and nearing time on. It’s time to do something that the electorate will notice. Lay out some clear policies, e.g. a comprehensive climate change suite, university funding, oversight of the dollars to be distributed to aged care providers, negative gearing, research and development grants/tax concessions and more on electric vehicles.
Using another colloquialism, do “something” or get off the pot.
Bill Pimm, Mentone
None of the above, thanks
Always one to promote fairness, I will avoid showing any favouritism and will not watch any of the cooking/renovating/singing “TV showdowns”.
I trust the relevant television executives will appreciate my determination not to make them feel singled out and will sleep easier knowing my disdain for such drivel is distributed equally to all.
Charlotte Fanner, Toorak
AND ANOTHER THING
Just wondering what Richard Colbeck’s day job is?
Dawn Richards, Huntingdale
Prime Minister, must you be driven to do whatever you do?
Bill Cleveland, Kew
At what point will we understand that COVID is apolitical … it travels left and right.
Gary Bryfman, Brighton
If Scott Morrison were to show some strength by replacing the hopelessly inept Richard Colbeck with someone who can do the job properly, he might get a few more brownie points than he will by ignoring the problem.
Geoff Schmidt, Richmond
“Me, me, me” is what I hear when the words spoken are, the lockdown is “unfair” or “stupid”.
John Groom, Bentleigh
With apologies to Milton Friedman, we are all epidemiologists now.
Chris Boon, Balwyn
In dismissing the idea of a quarantine facility at the Richmond RAAF base in NSW, Scott Morrison said “It’s not a medical facility”. Well, Prime Minister, neither is a hotel.
Stephen Williams, Wandin North
The vaccine rollout
It is a race, Michael McCormack, it’s just your government is too slow.
Margaret Sullivan, Caulfield North
Why shouldn’t the grand final be held interstate? After all, it is now a national competition.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington
When I was the director of a conservation organisation my president used to remind me to “not believe your own media releases”. It seems to me someone needs to remind the PM of this adage (“PM falling for his own fiction”, 7/6).
Geoff Wescott, Northcote
I don’t have a mobile phone, so shopping is now a finicky business. Wondering if I could be fitted with a micro-chip … like a penguin?
Meg McPherson, Brighton
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