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The price for eating out could be way too high
Like Ian Gason, I’ve been appalled at the behaviour of many (not all) restaurants in Essendon North, where I live (‘‘Stepping out slowly – the long way back’’, 15/11). Huge numbers jammed inside, tables crammed together outside.
So much for all the bleating from the “hospitality” industry about how keen they were to reopen in a safe manner and how unreasonable the government was. So much for all the confected outrage over the Black Lives Matter protests.
Any number of people who went to one of those restaurants could have picked up the virus from an asymptomatic patron, and then the rest of us would face the prospect of picking it up from them, or someone they gave it to in an entirely different setting: at work, home, going to a supermarket, on a tram, etc.
Research from the United States concluded that restaurants, coffee shops and gyms were high-risk locations for spreading the virus there. Unless they radically change their behaviour, the price for eating out could be way too high for me.
Phil Griffiths, Essendon North
Maskless multitudes with ridiculous excuses
If this past weekend in a holiday area is a reasonable sample, the virus control measures need to stay in place.
I saw many examples of people without masks and entering shops to be politely challenged by staff. Ridiculous excuses stretching from not having one to ‘‘human rights’’. Young supermarket staff deal with self-centred fools far more politely than I would.
Remember, on July 31, Victoria notified 721 cases and the UK notified 880 cases. The UK now has almost 52,000 dead.
Trevor Martin, St Leonards
Outbreak is disappointing, but not surprising
It is disappointing, but not unsurprising, to see COVID-19 outbreaks arising out of hotel quarantine in South Australia.
For all the finger-pointing around the hotel quarantine system in Victoria, the longer we live with this virus, the more apparent it becomes that it is very difficult to contain, particularly in a hotel-style environment.
Victoria faced uncharted territory on a daily basis in managing Australia’s first second-wave, and hopefully South Australia, and potentially other Australian states, can benefit from what Victoria has learnt about how to best manage the inevitable until there is a vaccine.
Claire Merry, Wantirna
This has not been eliminated
Please, people, I know it was a hot day and lockdown has been difficult, but just hang in there.
We have come so far. COVID-19 has not been eliminated. It’s lurking underneath and can break out at any time with dire consequences. It’s your jobs, your lives, and those of others that are at risk. Tempting though it is to break out, please take a deep breath (while you can), and think.
It is events like Sunday’s gathering at Black Rock that triggered the second wave that is tragically engulfing Europe and the UK. Look at what is happening in the US with its fractured response.
We don’t want another lockdown. Too many people have suffered under the necessary constraints.
Janet Thomas, Windsor
Masks and social distancing must stay
With the sudden emergence of 17 COVID-19 cases in South Australia, when Victorian procedures are further relaxed next week, it is essential that certain protocols are maintained: mandatory wearing of masks and also continuation of a 1.5-metre social distancing.
Rod Watson, Brighton East
It gets complicated
Parnell Palme McGuinness adds some useful nuance to the issues raised by last week’s Four Corners program (‘‘Saga merely robs women of agency’’, Comment, The Age, 16/11).
The power imbalance between a boss and a member of their staff can be toxic but cannot be used to explain every situation in which an employment situation goes bad. Things are often more complex than that.
There are numerous reasons a member of staff may decide to enter a sexual relationship with their boss. To imply that the decision is based on lack of power to resist is to ignore the reality that two people might actually fancy each other regardless of their relative positions on the employment ladder.
And, as McGuinness suggests, it also demeans women by questioning their basic right to say no.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
A chance for change
There is little doubt that Australians and particularly Victorians can be rightly proud of efforts to contain COVID-19. The economic impact is real as is the impact on mental health, particularly for the young .
The pandemic has certainly taken its toll, but it must not be forgotten that the climate crisis and the federal government’s failure to seize the opportunities, particularly ‘‘ post COVID’’, are causing great anxiety.
If the federal government and the opposition grasped reality and acknowledged the situation and the many opportunities staring them in the face, old and young could have reason for optimism.
Climate change and even the pandemic provide potentially
very positive economic and cultural change.
Jeremy Sallmann, Crib Point
It’s not a luxury
We need to view childcare expenses as work-related and consequently enable them to be deducted as a business expense.
For too long, the approach has been to consider tax-related expenses in an outdated male model and childcare as a luxury.
Lack of affordable childcare is a barrier to women’s full participation in the workforce and it is encouraging to see a more flexible approach being considered.
Denise Stevens, Healesville
Stop the political games …
The Electrical Trades Union has it right (‘‘Get over climate division, union tells Labor, The Age, 16/11). Labor should stop its self-indulgent political games, which a desperate Joel Fitzgibbon, who fears for his seat, seems to have brought to a head, and put the welfare of the country first.
By focusing on improving jobs and training in the renewables sector, by proactively supporting fossil-fuel workers to transition with dignity, Labor would be both reading the market instead of trying to read their navels, and laying a foundation of climate action and reduced emissions that would benefit these workers in the short term, and the rest of us in the medium to longer term. Labor could look to the work of the Latrobe Valley Authority for a few ideas as to where to start.
Meanwhile, the rest of us have been waiting a long decade for Labor to pick up where Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard left off, that is, to articulate and implement a vision of a liveable Australia with an imaginative, purposeful, world-leading, dignified, fast movement to renewables and a safer climate.
And all this before it is too late, given that Australia has already shown the catastrophic fiery consequences of 1.5 degrees of heating.
Jill Dumsday, Ashburton
… and show leadership
Joel Fitzgibbon claims to accept the science of climate change. If this is the case, he demonstrates no leadership by vainly supporting coal and gas industries that are undeniably in serious decline.
Real leadership would involve facing the reality of change, educating his supporters about the inevitability of the decline of these industries and working hard on transitional employment paths for those involved.
Michael Beahan, Brunswick
Settling on a stereotype
Is ‘‘The new cleaning lady at Parliament House’’ cartoon (The Age, 16/11) Michael Leunig’s contribution to the discussion of harassment and power disparity in Australian politics?
Has it escaped his thinking that in choosing a ‘‘cleaning lady’’, he settled on a gender stereotype that manages to be both dismissive of women at the same time as providing a potentially ultimate example of power imbalance?
Once again, the image of the stunned, frightened, overwhelmed male. What’s the message? Accusation has given women a powerful weapon against which you are helpless? The threat is lurking in every corner no matter how unlikely the source and regardless of your blame or innocence?
Liz Levy, Suffolk Park, NSW
She deserves our gratitude
Dr Samantha Crompvoets, as the author of the report that led to the Brereton war crimes inquiry, (“Killings of Afghans ‘happened all the time’’’, The Age, 16/11 ), deserves the nation’s gratitude.
By allowing Australian Afghanistan war veterans to bear witness to alleged repeated atrocities committed by some members of our armed forces, she has acted in the noble tradition of the Nuremberg principles articulated in the wake of the Nazi defeat more than 70 years ago: namely, that ‘‘crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law
It is to be hoped her record of damning testimonies is not undermined by those prone to defending battlefield behaviour in the context of spurious ‘‘fog of war’’ rationalisations.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
Not a pleasant experience
Our little coastal town was excited to welcome Melbourne visitors last weekend, but unfortunately the experience was highly disappointing and also quite maddening.
We have walked our beaten paths for many hours this year with a newborn baby, and most locals and visitors from country Victoria abided by the rules of mask wearing and social distancing.
But alas, as soon as the ring of steel was lifted, we had an influx of visitors with their masks pulled down or not wearing masks at all. On the streets and beaches and in shops, clearly neither dining nor exercising, they made us feel unsafe and we resorted to staying home on a sunny weekend, worrying about the repercussions such recklessness could have for all Victorians.
Melbourne, please remember we have all done it tough and you have no more right to breathing in fresh, unobstructed air than we do.
We missed you, we cheered you on in your battle to come out of lockdown, and we need your business. But please respect our home, health and livelihoods whilst visiting regional Victoria, just as you would like us to do on our next trip to the Big Smoke.
Marta Cwiek, Ocean Grove
A dangerous system
As of writing, the new cluster of coronavirus infections in South Australia, which has arisen from their hotel quarantine system, stands at 17.
It is quite clear that the process of quarantine is fraught with danger and that the critics who have poured condemnation on Victoria for our outbreak should think again.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
Learn from our mistakes
South Australia is now experiencing a hotel quarantine outbreak. Let’s hope that lessons learnt from Melbourne are put to quick and good use. Let’s also hope that the federal Coalition members don’t weigh in heavily on the Premier of South Australia, his Chief Medical Officer and the health system like they did on Dan Andrews, Brett Sutton and the Victorian healthcare system.
It is unlikely that Richard Colbeck has woken up yet and has plans ready to put in place for the private aged care sector in South Australia.
Thoughts from all Victorians are with you, South Australia.
Greg Tuck, Warragul
Our anthem doesn’t cut it
Tinkering with a word here and there cannot save our national anthem. The song is a deeply flawed celebration of colonialism with a racist refrain.
The epithet ‘‘fair’’ in the title and in the refrain reinforces the pernicious equivalence of ‘‘white’’ equals ‘‘good’’ (versus ‘‘black’’ equals ‘‘bad’’), which permeates European culture.
The original lyrics dated Australia’s beginning from ‘‘when gallant Cook … landed on our shore … [and] … raised Old England’s flag’’, and the song was written at a time when the isolationist sentiments that later became institutionalised as the White Australia Policy were more or less universally accepted by the colonial population. So there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that ‘‘fair’’ in the song meant both ‘‘attractive’’ and ‘‘white’’.
No amount of fiddling with the other words can expunge this racist stain from our national anthem. We need to put it to one side and find a song that not only celebrates the accomplishments of Europeans in Australia but also recognises and extols the 60,000-year-old continuous culture that came before.
Advance Australia Fair just doesn’t cut it.
Ian Robinson, Cowes
What about these people?
If a little more than 100 days of lockdown has severely compromised our mental health, what effect has the indeterminate period confined in detention centres had on our asylum seekers?
Betty Alexander, Caulfield
Imagine the savings …
COVID-19 has forced changes in the way we work. Imagine if our federal political system adopted some of these changed practices. Politicians should be permitted to take part in debates and voting from their offices in their electorate.
Surely, a secure closed system linking all the electorates could be set up.
Imagine the amount of money saved on travel and away-from-home allowances as well as the improved family life of our politicians.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North
AND ANOTHER THING
Congratulations, Victorian government, boosting affordable housing for the state’s most vulnerable people is a completely appropriate kick-start for our post-COVID recovery.
Angela Gill, Moonee Ponds
The Victorian Liberals think social housing is feeding your neighbours’ cat while they’re away.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill
The Morrison government apparently wants to take credit for everything but the responsibility for nothing.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
In the crossword (16/11), the clue was ‘‘somebody who obtains money by questionable methods’’. Politician didn’t fit.
John Cain, McCrae
Full marks to Myer for returning those treasured Christmas windows, and for recycling them from the past.
Dawn Evans, Highton
The US Masters
Congratulations, Cameron Smith, your score of 15 under par would have won the Masters most years.
John Walsh, Watsonia
ASIC licensing companies to sell ‘‘binary options’’ and ‘‘contracts for difference’’ is like licensing restaurants to sell arsenic.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
If a deal, property or anything else, seems too good to be true, then it usually is. Sad that there are still so many gullible, or perhaps a kinder word is innocent, people around, and that there will always be not so innocent people there to take advantage.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
In quick time the government devised a plan to keep the invisible coronavirus from spreading through the community, so why is it seemingly impossible, with years of experience, to block drugs and other contraband from the jail system.
Pieter van Wessem, Balwyn
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