Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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Where are the ads to encourage us to act?
Russel Howcroft correctly identifies the unexplainable gap in our vaccine public health message (Opinion, 23/6). Over my lifetime, my behaviour has been modified and shaped by many successful campaigns. In summer I assiduously “slip, slop and slap”, I feel naked in the car without my seat belt, I witness no greater disrespect than littering and I have embraced activity to be in life.
Sure these advertising campaigns may be expensive but what about the millions that have already been spent on government advertising to entreat us to vote (for them) or proudly identify something they have achieved.
It is therefore confounding, not to mention ironic, that with more than 12 months to brain storm it, under the prime ministership of a former marketing man, we have had so little. We are not short of advertising talent but a national competition for an ad might have been fun at home during lockdown, and got everyone talking. Vaccinate Australia. Where the bloody hell are you?
Shelley Rowlands, Hawthorn
For the good of the community, get the jab
The discussions about vaccination remind me that I would have had another aunt and uncle if the diphtheria vaccine had been available in 1920. My mother’s brother, Leonard, died of it, aged seven, and his sister, Dorothy (Dorrie), died two days later. She was five.
As a child, I witnessed a heated argument between my mother and her in-laws, who were against vaccination. She suggested that they might think differently if they had lost two children to what had since become a preventable disease. I do not remember if she changed their views, but I am forever grateful that my mother and father protected me and my brother.
It seems fairly simple: the more people vaccinated, the fewer getting sick. And the fewer people getting sick, the fewer who are passing it on to others. The result: less likelihood of lockdowns. Did I miss something?
Mary Whitham, Doncaster East
Ensure that all returning travellers are protected
There is a lot of effort and expense in quarantining returned Australian travellers and the virus keeps escaping into the local population, causing even more stress, inconvenience and expense. Is it possible to start vaccinating Australians who are waiting overseas to come home? Surely that would expedite the process and make it safer for everyone.
Terry Ziegler, Heidelberg Heights
Not all who want the vaccine can get it
Carole Nicholls (Letters 24/6), it is fair enough to ask that fully vaccinated residents be able to “travel interstate without the restrictions of quarantine”. Lucky for you if you can get vaccinated. Those who are not in the right age group currently cannot.
Teresa McIntosh, Keysborough
Roll up, roll up, get your Vacclotto ticket
Up to $40 million will be spent on a major advertising campaign, to be launched in July, to encourage eligible Australians to get the jab. How about offering “Vacclotto” with a $1million per month prize, for six months, for people who become fully vaccinated? It would be much cheaper and a big incentive. Watch them flock to get it.
David Isom, Williamstown
As per usual, Australia is as the back of the queue
Well said, Helen Edwards (Letters, 24/6), on the Prime Minister’s double standards. It is very easy to insist on border closures when none of the heartaches apply to him. Even more upsetting is his defence of the abysmal vaccine rollout. Quoting rising COVID-19 cases in the UK, despite large numbers of vaccinations, as an excuse is irresponsible and dangerous. No country has yet reached herd immunity through vaccinations. But what is glaringly clear is that the UK, the US and Europe will get there long before us. Here we are again: as with climate action, at the back of the queue.
Uschi Felix, South Melbourne
Tough luck, cricketers
So the England cricket team is outraged at suggestions they may have to tour Australia without their families and could be without them for up to four months – “Call for calm after Ashes cancel talk (Sport, 24/6).
Do they have any idea that Australians have not been allowed to leave Australia to visit their overseas relatives, not even the frail and the sick, for what will, by this summer, be nearly two years. Have they heard about the thousands of expatriate Aussies queuing for limited quarantine places, who have been waiting nearly as long to get back to Australia? If the government prioritises foreign cricketing families over its own citizens, it will be an utter disgrace.
Kairen Harris, Brunswick
A very poor example
There are very few industries where drinking at work is allowed – wine making for instance, and evidently being an MP (The Age, 24/6). In most workplaces, being inebriated results in suspension or dismissal, or the imposition of conditions involving breath testing before, during and after a work session. If our leaders and law makers are drunk on the job, how good are the decisions they are making and what message does this send to young people and the community at large?
Janice Davies, North Warrandyte
Is there a health issue?
Now that Nationals senator Samantha McMahon has found herself on the front page for appearing to be drunk on the floor of the Senate (“I’ve never seen anything like it”, said one of her supportive Coalition colleagues), could someone from the press gallery please confirm that no other senator, male or female, has ever appeared to be drunk in their workplace? It might also have been a good idea to make sure that Senator McMahon was not having issues with her health.
Caroline Williamson, Brunswick
A person before an MP
While being intoxicated at work is unacceptable, I feel that Senator Samantha McMahon has been exposed to exaggerated shaming. The front-page picture, the level of details of her incident and some of the comments reported are, in my opinion, a step too far, and the article does not try to explore the reasons of the status. She needs support for her condition and your public shaming will not help her health. Opponent or not, she is a person first.
Diego Ghirardi, Altona
Loss of our private details
The ABC is misleading in its claim that “we’re not going to sell anyone’s personal data” collected when accounts to watch iview are opened (Green Guide, 24/6).
“Third parties” that will be allowed to collect and receive your personal information, including internet “security services”, may be “in Australia or outside Australia”, and specifically in “Israel, India, Canada and the USA”. The ABC may “disclose” this information to them. But “the ABC does not have any control over the privacy practices of those third parties”.
So, all of this personal information will not be sold, it will just be “disclosed”. Why are we allowing our personal information to be given to foreign governments and companies so that it can be leaked, hacked or used for their own benefit?
Neil Brown, QC, Owen Dixon Chambers
The wrong lessons
How on earth can we expect adolescent boys to have reasonable attitudes towards young women when year 10 boys at an Anglican school in Sydney are asked to rate girls, with some of the highest ratings given to attractiveness, popularity and even ownership of a car (The Age, 23/6)? Being generous, adventurous or caring for the world sadly rated the lowest number of points. What do these ratings indicate to young men? And this coming from educators of a so-called Christian school. Words fail me.
Claire Hogan, Northcote
A very fine first step
Congratulations to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke for going half way with the Murugappan family – “Tamil asylum seeker family given bridging visas” (The Age, 24/6). Now why not go the whole hog and let them return to the community that wants them and where the father has gainful employment?
Geof Carne, Moonee Ponds
The best side of Barnaby
Welcome back, Barnaby Joyce. I have read of your sympathies for the Murugappan family and for Julian Assange. You must be a good bloke, even if you think carbon belongs in Parliament House and our atmosphere.
I am looking forward to hearing you lobby for granting full resident status (not just the three month bridging visas) for our Biloela family, Julian’s safe return to Australia, Witness K’s pardon and ending the harassment of Bernard Collaery. That would make you a great bloke and I will forgive the other (black) stuff.
Michael Aylott, Reservoir
Look at per capita figures
Thomas Hogg (Letters, 24/6) accepts that the devastation of the Great Barrier Reef is caused by the effects of global warming, but argues that Australia’s part in these emissions is not the issue. He says it is the fault of the six big-emitting nations and that Australia accounts for only 1.3per cent of global emissions.
Surely he should be quoting per capita emissions. Of course nations such as China and the US have higher greenhouse gas emissions – look at the size of their populations. We are a very small population indeed but have some of the highest per capita emissions in the world. Shame on our federal government for failing to set smart goals for achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Christine Burley, Balwyn North
Shirking our responsibility
Thomas Hogg suggests a political motive for UNESCO’s decision to recommend the Barrier Reef be placed on endangered status. They do not blame Australia for climate change at all. They blame us (and our governments) for not doing what lies within our control: setting national emission reduction targets; implementing legislation and regulations that encourage proven low emission technologies (rather than hypothetical approaches like carbon capture); and advocating globally for greater effort. (Our federal government boasts about our disproportionate influence in shaping a response to China but bleats about being impotent when it comes to climate change).
Richard Jamonts, Williamstown
Warnings, 100 years on
Re “Police flag legal gap in ‘grab and drag’ offences” (The Age, 24/6). In 1921 my mother – a bright, young country girl – came to Melbourne to take up a clerical position with a Flinders Lane importing firm. She was advised that, when walking along city streets at night, to step out and walk on the edge of the road when approaching any laneway, skirting it and thus avoiding being dragged into the laneway and assaulted. Sadly, 100 years later, not a lot seems to have changed.
Lynda Kaye, Brighton
What our taxes provide
The expats (The Age, 21/6) who are whinging about living abroad and not receiving a pension, including one saying “I paid taxes for 30 years” (Letters, 24/6) need to get over themselves. The taxes you pay are not a savings account to be returned to you when you retire (unless you meet the criteria).
For your 30 years of taxes you received access to medical care, education, roads and all other infrastructure and services that give we Australians a pretty good life. If you choose to leave our shores, that is your choice and you need to be aware of the consequences of that choice.
Maree Harrison, Nerrina
Act on triple-zero issues
With the daily cornucopia of bad news in the paper, it takes something really special to stand out and get one’s full attention. Your article, “Outages in triple-zero system pose deadly risk” (The Age, 24/6) did just that. How on earth could a system deteriorate without anybody swiftly fixing the problem? How about a stitch in time saves nine – and lives? Are we in “outsourcing, keeping costs down” territory here? The problem needs to be rectified now.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully
Our shared attitudes
Australia’s outgoing top diplomat Frances Adamson says China “has a deeply defensive mindset – perceiving external threats even as it pushes its interests over those of others” (The Age, 24/6). She continues, “this siege mentality – this unwillingness to countenance scrutiny and genuine discussion of differences – serves nobody’s interests”. From a macro to a micro-level, she could have been speaking of Scott Morrison and the Coalition government. The similarities are breathtaking.
Vaughan Greenberg, Chewton
Our damaged trade
Frances Adamson’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt. Badmouthing another country in public is not part of the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s role. As secretary, she carries a level of responsibility for the parlous state of our relationship with China. We have already lost it as our biggest trading partner thanks to failed diplomacy, and primary producers, mineral companies and their workers continue to be badly affected by this.
Bill Mathew, Parkville
Greens just can’t win
The Greens are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they confine themselves to environmental issues, they are accused of being “a single-issue party”. If they address other social issues, they are seen as “carrying too much baggage” (Letters, 24/6).
Mike Puleston, Brunswick
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
It’s not difficult to see which way the Coalition is heading. Both Scott and Barnaby carry coal.
Robin Parkinson, Geelong
The PM’s biggest challenge will be reaching net zero emissions from Barnaby’s mouth before the election.
Matt Mackay, Melbourne
Which part of the word ″renewable″ does Taylor not understand?
Lou Novak, Rosanna
The Nats want farmers to be compensated for helping to meet climate targets. Yes, but let it be part of a plan for all industries.
John Hughes, Mentone
The UN has called time on the government’s procrastination and obfuscation. It’s not politics, it’s survival.
Jean Andrews, Cheltenham
It seems Barnaby is a dual citizen again. His “get farmers rich” proposals are from La La land.
Rex Niven, Eltham
How long before Labor votes with the Liberals in order to defeat the Nats?
Peter Williams, Alphington
Come on Alex Hawke, do the decent thing and let the Biloela family go home.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick
Regarding recycled leaders. Trump in an Akubra.
Anne Ramsay, Essendon
C’mon, independents – it’s time to Abbotomise Barnaby.
Derek Wilson, Cheltenham
Having to deal with the men in the National Party would be enough to drive anyone to drink.
Kerryn Taylor, Wangaratta
Makes a change to have other states closing their borders to NSW instead of Victoria.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
Sydney might have to swallow its pride and lock down, just as other capital cities have done.
Meg McPherson, Brighton
Gladys has played Russian roulette twice and the gun went click, so should be OK again, eh?
Don Newgreen, Brunswick West
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