Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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Locking down, opening up: when will the cycle end?
Another lockdown due to a few selfish and inconsiderate people who think the rules do not apply to them. I am aware of people who headed off to red zones because “they needed a holiday” with the assumption that they had the right to return whenever they wanted. People who wish to come into Victoria from red zones should be required to get tested within 48 hours prior to travel and show evidence of a negative outcome at the border.
Additionally, as currently applies, they should then be required to isolate and get tested within 24 hours of return and severe penalties should apply (and be enforced) on those who do not isolate until proven negative and put us all at risk. Dan Andrews, we are over this constant cycle. Come up with some better options.
Richard Stewart, Gisborne
Victoria is taking much needed leadership
If Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian stopped patting themselves on their backs for five minutes, they might notice that the ship is sinking with their inept steerage and we are all being dragged under with it. As a Victorian though, I am relieved that Dan Andrews is coming to the rescue.
Jennifer Joseph, South Yarra
Are the sacrifices that we’ve made worth it?
What more can they do to us? I have just read a list of the Victorian AFL teams which were speedily relocated to the Gold Coast. Annastacia Palaszczuk plans to jet off to Tokyo. Yet I am surrounded by friends who have not seen their grandchildren in two years and they live in Perth or Auckland, not London.
The weddings, births, funerals, the normal markers of life: I cannot keep count of the numbers that have been lost. This current lockdown is filling us with despair. Is it possible that there can be a reckoning, a proper assessment of what has been won and lost and what is possible? Maybe the sacrifices that have been made are too many for an unachievable target.
Sally O’Brien, Benalla
We cannot risk the virus getting out of control
So Michael O’Brien can look straight at the camera and argue that we should wait and see what happens before locking down. Is that all he can come up with? Perhaps he is waiting until COVID-19 gets out of control before arguing we should have locked down earlier.
Peter Hayne, The Patch
Accepting that we may never defeat COVID-19
Daniel Andrews says we beat the virus last time and we will beat it this time. Well, obviously we did not beat it or it would not have arisen again. I think he means suppressed. Can we please remove this obsession with elimination from public policy on COVID-19? We cannot play “whack a mole” forever. I look forward to the Prime Minister filling in the blanks in his strategy. Even when we are all vaccinated, the virus will probably still be circulating, some people will get ill and a few will die, just like with other diseases. What is the end game?
Peter Leslie, South Melbourne
Government going the whole hog on lockdown
A Victoria-wide lockdown? It would appear the government knows it is on a hiding to nothing in the bush so, regardless of the lack of rural cases, its approach is: “Let’s just lock ’em up’ for the hell of it. It’s not like they’re going to vote for us anyway.″
Josephine Bant, Collingwood
Let’s party and spread the virus even further
One had to wonder at Thursday night’s revels at the city’s hotspots, the main driver being the looming lockdown. Understandable, I guess, if one ignores that the reason for the advance notice was to give people time to prepare for the shutdown. Not really, I would imagine, providing a rationale to head out and party on. What better way to set up a “super spreader”, other than the AFL at the MCG? It brings to mind the saying, “let us eat drink and be merry because tomorrow we may/shall die”. In our current circumstances, this may be prescient indeed.
Henry Askin, Hawthorn
Take a united approach
Since the arrival of COVID-19, my family has been diligent in following the rules. To a large extent we have not mingled until last weekend. My husband was in level 2 at the MCG on Saturday, we had an afternoon tea with friends and a dinner at a restaurant on Sunday, and played squash and went to choir (with masks and social distancing) on Tuesday.
So the news of the MCG exposure where my husband sat was worrying. He was tested at 1.30pm and received the result (negative) at 8.30pm. But we did not realise how anxious we were. Listening to the politicisation of COVID-19 makes me sad. Can we do better than to take every opportunity to slam our political opposites?
Sue McBeth, Hampton
The soft generations
Hard lockdowns can be challenging but hunkering down with a good book depicting the incredible adversity that people from all walks of life have had to endure but came out the other side better and stronger can be very inspiring and put our current situation in some perspective. Perhaps the reason our generation struggles with lockdowns is because we have had it so good for so long.
Neil McDonald, Berwick
Tough justice? Really?
About 6.7million Victorians are locked down because a handful of red zone-permit holders from Sydney broke the law. Jeroen Weimar vows that “the wheels of justice will get them” (The Age, 15/7). But given that a month ago about 25,000 COVID-related infringement notices had not been paid (The Age, 17/6), I am far from convinced.
Jessica Toop, Kensington
A weekend of work
This year’s “State of our schools survey” of public school staff in Victoria revealed teachers work on average 15 hours of unpaid overtime every week. With the announcement of a fifth lockdown and fifth bout of remote learning, it is frustrating to hear Mr Andrews suggest that teachers will have “the benefit of the weekend” to prepare once again a program of quality online learning.
If you want us to nurture and support the children during the pandemic, teachers need dedicated time in our working week. Some of us would like to spend the weekend with our families rather than stare at a laptop planning lessons, not getting paid. Again.
Tim Webster, Brunswick East
Why not some notice?
When Dan Andrews and Scott Morrison were chatting about the possibility of Victoria’s lockdown, I am sure they were not looking at their watches. To announce it at 5.30pm, after schools had closed and students and teachers were at home, was ludicrous. I would like to see either of them and their constituents working for five days without their books and work-related equipment.
Mike Jackson, Ringwood
A lack of leadership
Before the onset of COVID-19, I was strongly in favour of getting rid of state governments and only having a federal government. But that requires a central government which is capable of making timely and appropriate decisions, something we have sadly lacked these last two years. I am now just confused.
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh
A firm ‘no’ to AFL games
Victorian football people are so slow to understand even simple principles about avoiding epidemics spreading. The primary principle is to keep people apart and slow the spread. Not for the AFL, though.
Its cunning plan is to get together as many spectators as it can, play more games, play the fine print in the lockdown rules and harvest as many dollars as it can. Is it not crystal clear that the logical and safe health approach for footballers is to cancel coming games as soon as virus starts to spread
Geoffrey Sherrington, scientist, Donvale
A double standard
Maybe we can now reassess how it is appropriate to tell tens of thousands of people that it is OK to scream at each other without masks in a stadium while being so cautious about kids singing and playing musical instruments in schools.
Carl Williams, Briar Hill
The need to plan
A fair, sensible, federal leader would have planned for the reality that this pandemic would be with us for many months or years, periodically requiring restrictions on people’s movements.
With JobKeeper having proven to be a successful scheme. and the mechanisms to implement it already in place, the government could have planned for a version of it to be available each time an outbreak occurred. Rather than fearing it would be an incentive for state leaders to declare a lockdown, it could be seen as a support if a lockdown were deemed necessary to slow circulation of the virus and thus minimise the disruption to lives and businesses.
Christine Pinniger, Fairfield
Taking tough action
Well done, Daniel Andrews. He took swift and decisive action on Thursday and ordered a five-day lockdown. A stitch in time saves nine. The “nine stitch” lockdown last year was painful and something I never wish to repeat.
Ian Cameron, Chelsea
Explain the 5 km rule
Given the federal government’s bungling of the vaccine rollout, I have been generally in favour of the state-imposed lockdowns. But not allowing people to travel more than five kilometres from their homes again? Seriously?
Neale Woods, Wattle Glen
Loss of our real pubs
It was interesting to read Simon Johanson’s article about hotels changing hands and now being hot property (Business, 14/7). Unfortunately, when they are sold, refurbished and renovated, they are no longer pubs. They become restaurants and bars. I find this very sad.
Melbourne is fast running out of hotels that have the real “pub feel” of warmth and casualness. We go to the pub for a bit of a relax and down time, a few drinks and chit chat. We have plenty of restaurants with “fast and progressive menus” and corporate or high-profile chefs.
Meredith James, Glen Huntly
Revealing the truth
Will the 2021 census capture those people who want a job but are not registered for unemployment benefits? When Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spouts the latest figures, I do not believe that they are accurate. I know many people who would work if they could, but are ineligible for JobSeeker or retraining. The census is an invaluable opportunity to count those who do not figure in the unemployment statistics.
Frances Vearing, Bentleigh
Ducking a policy on Palestine is probably wise for Anthony Albanese – “Albanese slams ALP call to boycott Israel” (The Age, 16/7). That is if it did not join his other non-policy areas on China, high income tax rates, Reserve Bank interest rates decimating retirees’ savings and causing a housing boom, climate change contracted out to Joel Fitzgibbon, and the pandemic. Surely the Liberals can claim copyright.
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell
A lack of compassion
Why do the Afghan interpreters, translators and other supporters of the Australian military in Afghanistan have to prove their contribution in order to qualify for a visa into Australia, thus escaping retribution from the Taliban? Surely we know who they are and what their role was.
But no, we retreat into the ponderous, red-tape process so typical of this government. Consider the refugees on Manus and in hotels, the Biloela family and the Aussies who are stranded overseas. No sense of urgency there, and not an ounce of compassion. Shameful.
Jenny Williams, Parkdale
The financial incentive
Ian Whitehead (Letters, 16/7), a possible solution to your concluding comment that “unfortunately, with poor teachers, nothing works” could be improved rates of pay.
Graham Cadd, Dromana
The great rivalry
Collingwood and Carlton contesting the COVID Cup in an empty colosseum? Calamitous.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Best to go early, go fast and go hard. Better five days than five weeks. Pay attention, Gladys.
Mayda Semec, Brighton East
Beware wooden horses disguised as removalist vans.
Stephen Collins, Brunswick
Dry July just got that little bit harder.
Ian Baker, Castlemaine
Red states and blue states. Thanks, Scott.
John Puls, Eltham
When Weimar throws that book at the removalists, could he include one from me.
Robert Niall, Fitzroy North
Mary-Louise McLaws for PM. Oh yes, please.
Irene Morley, Seaford
Surely there’s a way to blame Dan for this latest outbreak.
Ross Beamsley, Moe
Andrews went quick and hard on another lockdown. A pity he didn’t go quick and hard on a border closure.
Roger Makin, Olinda
David Watson, West Footscray
Here we go again: virus in Melbourne, but lock down the state.
Peter Knight, St Arnaud
For once I am glad that I am not an MCG member.
Teresa McIntosh, Keysborough
“Windscreens” O’Brien – transparent hypocrisy.
Peter Campbell, Newport
Definition of an essential worker: anybody who can only survive from pay cheque to pay cheque.
Linda Mackie, Collingwood
Oh Dan, the removalists have read your scripts.
Les Silverman, Brighton East
I’m sick of Josh Frydenberg’s ″whingeing″.
Pamela Pilgrim, Highett
No one who says COVID deaths are a necessary trade-off for the economy wants to be the one who dies.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
Weimar is upset the removalists “aren’t forthcoming with information”. What was their answer? “I don’t recall.“
Alistair Nicoll, Balwyn North
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