So easy for some to say, ‘value what you have’

I have always voted Greens. However, owing to its support of the government’s extension of the Chief Health Officer’s powers by six months, I find myself sadly homeless in terms of a party faithful. Yet who to turn to when climate change is a no-brainer?

Reading letters to The Age ‘‘banging on’’ about how we must value what we have during this pandemic (often from wealthy, green suburbs like Bayside where I live) makes me more depressed than the spectre of catching COVID-19. How do people not understand there are some who have so little to begin with and whose prospects, even before lockdowns, are so grim there is nothing left to appreciate?
Avril Moore, Beaumaris

The risk is too great if we open up too quickly

If Dan Andrews bows to political pressure to prematurely open up the state, what will be the consequences? A rapid escalation in infections? Other states choosing to keep Victoria isolated? Extended economic hardship? Will Liberal politicians and the Murdoch press take any responsibility if this occurs? No, I do not think so either.
Trevor King, St Kilda East

Many of us are celebrating the low case numbers
The Liberal Party keeps saying Melburnians are ‘‘disappointed’’ and ‘‘frustrated’’ by restrictions. May I remind them we had more than 7000 active cases and we now have fewer than 200. Who could be disappointed by those numbers?
Angela Mortyn-Sloan, Healesville

Please let us prepare holiday homes for fire season

We own a holiday house on the Surf Coast, in one of the state’s most fire-prone regions. Owing to the Melbourne lockdown, we have been unable to carry out any bushfire season preparation work. In spite of promises to address this issue, there has been no action from Daniel Andrews to date. The window of opportunity is closing very rapidly and we are losing hope that sufficient time will be left for us, and many other property owners, to carry out this work.

No doubt when the summer holidays arrive, large numbers of Victorians will be holidaying in these areas. We are extremely concerned that many lives will be placed in danger due to the heightened bushfire risk posed by ill-prepared properties. We hope the government takes urgent action before it is too late.
Guy Ward, Nunawading

Open up a little but under strict supervision

Keep the five-kilometre rule or scrap it? One solution might be to open the greater metropolitan area but give local government a more active role in supervising social distancing and related measures. Councils could appoint staff who have been stood down from recreation centres, libraries, etc as ‘‘COVID-19 monitors’’.

These ‘‘monitors’’ should have the power to insist on the wearing of masks correctly, report concerns and politely order people to move on where the crowds are too dense. Providing suitably selected and briefed monitors, with priority access to police back-up, could also defuse the sorts of tensions and incidents that occurred, at the end of the first wave, between anxious locals and exuberant day trippers at beaches and other popular spots on the fringes of the greater metropolitan area.
John Carmichael, Hawthorn

The agony of Victoria’s very long lockdown

I have long thought that Victoria wore the hair shirt for the nation; now more than ever as Australia parades its coronavirus virtue to the world. It is just disappointing to see other states avoid us as if we have fleas instead of recognising our pain and suffering.
Suzanne Miles, Frankston South


A request for evidence

Brett Sutton said at yesterday’s press conference that telephone, truck or work logs could be requested from the start of contact tracing. It is an appalling admission that someone who may have behaved unlawfully has been believed, rather than having their records checked and confirmed, especially when the cost of lying is potentially so very high. After so much mismanagement by the health services, when does serious learning actually kick in? Victoria deserves better than this by now.
Pam Garton, Alfredton

Please give us a break

Like many Melburnians, my fuel tank of emotional resilience is running on fumes. My request of Brett Sutton and Dan Andrews this weekend is to recognise that the measure of community wellbeing is significantly broader than simple caseload numbers.
David Van Ryn, Canterbury

Try a little positivity

Is there one journalist who attends the Premier’s press conferences who is able to ask incisive questions respectfully? It would appear not. Day after day, repetitive, derogatory tones accompany judgmental questions to Daniel Andrews and his team. It makes me sick to observe this attack dog behaviour that is politically driven. Compare Victoria to Europe and the United Kingdom. Surely some positivity and effective contributions can drive the questioning.
Lee-Anne Sargeant, Alfredton

Lives before the economy

Here we go again. Chris Uhlmann says that ‘‘through history, most societies have preferenced their young as a simple matter of survival. In this pandemic, we reversed that. It was a bad decision’’. I do not agree.

It is hard to make such decisions but I would always think that the saving of lives was a priority over the economy. Spoiling of an economy can be devastating for those who are particularly involved, but it also affects all citizens. The sacrifice is widely spread although not always evenly. An economy can always recover, difficult though that might be, but dead people will never walk on this earth again.
Mary Lane, Mornington

The disaster in aged care

Chris Uhlmann’s assessment of the Andrews government’s performance during the pandemic is hard to argue with. But his suggestion that ‘‘the Morrison government has had a, mostly good, pandemic’’ beggars belief when you consider its responsibility for the catastrophe that has occurred in aged care.

Despite three months’ notice from the northern hemisphere of the impending disaster, aged care warranted barely a mention in Australia’s multi-page COVID Preparedness document. And I am not sure anyone will forget that a hapless Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck, appearing before the royal commission, was unaware of how many deaths had occurred on his watch.
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

Standing strong and tall

Standing strong in the face of vocal vested interests, political opportunism, short-sightedness and plain selfishness is not arrogance. It is the leadership we need in a time of pandemic.
Peter Gannon, Viewbank

Dangerous messages

I am so incensed at the state Opposition’s efforts to undermine our government by sending an ‘‘Open up, she’ll be right’’ message to the public. My fear is that as a result, more people will flout the restrictions and those of us who are staying at home will be forced to do so for even longer.
Not a word of encouragement from the Prime Minister either on how far we have come as a state. So much for ‘‘We’re all in this together’’. I am over the political opportunism and media circus that has ensued. Pull your heads in.
Katrina Morley, Frankston

Take a united approach

Pulling the ‘‘no confidence’’ card just shows how selfish some of these politicians are. Clearly mistakes have been made and, sadly, dishonesty is alive and well. But surely this is a time where politics and politicians should all be pulling together to get us through this nightmare. Put yourselves second and put the Australian people first. The next election will be your time.
Joan Johnson, Camberwell

No sympathy for flouters

So only 845 of the more than 19,000 fines issued for breaking the COVID-19 lockdown conditions have been paid (The Age, 13/10). Those who blatantly and deliberately disobey the laws intended to protect the population must be pursued. Otherwise, why waste police time by introducing these laws?
Dave Tasker, Lilydale

Do the crime, do the time

How we pivot. Only weeks ago, people who were fined for breaking the regulations were ‘‘COVID idiots’’. Now I see a lot of sympathetic press coverage criticising police for heavy-handedness or lack of discretion, and these people who have not paid their fines are oppressed. I have only one question for those who have been fined. Did you breach the regulations? If so, stop whining and cop it sweet.
Andrew Gibson, Point Leo

Somyurek’s revenge?

What sort of person is former Victorian minister Adem Somyurek (The Age, 14/10)? Expelled from the ALP over the branch-stacking scandal, he now seeks to join the ranks of the inciters by blocking the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response (The Age, 14/10). The principle escapes me.
John Taylor, Cobram

Well done and thank you

On Monday around 1pm I accompanied my wife to a COVID-19 testing centre as she had been feeling unwell over the past week and sleeping poorly. Wisely, she agreed to get tested.

The test centre was located in a multi-storey car park linked to a shopping precinct. Although some 50 cars were ahead of us, from the moment we arrived the car park attendants, nurses and doctors showed courtesy, friendliness and professionalism in the way they went about their various tasks. The best part was that 18 hours later, my wife received a text advising that she was clear of the virus. Well done, Department of Health and Human Services.
Robert Ward, Armadale

Stones and glass houses

I knew I should not have built that glass house. It will be interesting to see if the same standards of judgment are applied to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as those that applied to the private lives of Bob Hawke, Billy Snedden, Barnaby Joyce, Malcolm Fraser and many other political leaders over the decades.
Catherine Healy, Brighton

Let’s be independent

Australia is pushing Chinese authorities to explain why our exporters are facing delays getting coal into the country (The Age, 14/4). If China refuses to buy our coal and iron ore, we should refuse to buy its steel. There are other countries that could supply us in the meanwhile. We should re-establish our own steel industry to meet our own needs and purchase elsewhere in the interim.
Michael Nolan, Capel Sound

Quality TV content

Prime Minister, vote one for Australian children and to support jobs – ‘‘Screening blue: TV producers fear worst’’ (The Age, 14/10). Reconsider the announced reforms to our screen regulations. Blue heeler Bluey’s friends want more quality Australian children’s free-to-air television productions, not less. Bluey’s friends want more creative and skilled people to keep their jobs in a hungry domestic market and a proven and successful international market. They do not want less.
Deanna McKeown, Mount Martha

Heroes, one and all

On the 50th anniversary of the West Gate Bridge disaster – ‘‘Dark day for city a turning point’’ (The Age, 13/10) – I would like to say what a great generation of construction workers those fellows were. From the terrible sadness of the time, they spent much of their lives fighting for better safety and working conditions for all of us who came after them. A truly incredible mob of men, women and their families. We must never forget them.
Bob Mancor, Newstead

The loss of a community

Every day I walk past the wreckage of what was, until a few months ago, public housing in Ascot Vale and know people once lived there. They were moved on by our Victorian government, with no real plans for replacement of the buildings, when refurbishment would have been easier.

A house is about connection to community, friends living nearby, knowing where the shops and public transport are, the memories built within the fabric of the buildings and even a relationship with the bird that used to live on this estate. Their trees are gone too, entangled in the mountains of debris of bricks and mortar. This little community have been forced to create new stories elsewhere, knowing these can be heartlessly ripped from them again.
Rhonda Pryor, Ascot Vale

Let’s all go solar

The three biggest solar farms in the world are in Morocco (the Sahara), India and China. Surely there is enough vast, sun-filled desert in Australia to supply every city in this country, and to provide plenty of jobs in the farm-to-household chain. The head-in-the-sand insistence on gas seems to be more about short-sighted pocket lining than anything else. We should be seriously investing in solar power and storage, as well as hydrogen-based energy for export and for steel production. We need to do it now, not in 20years when it will be too late.
Helen Kamil, Caulfield South

A threat to democracy

On July 23, a sister of mine, who lives in Hawthorn, sent a card to our sister in Werribee. The card arrived on October 13. What hope have we got that our mailed votes for this month’s council elections will arrive on time?
Breta Cohen, Blackburn North



Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

We now know the virus can live on a bank note for 28 days. That’s longer than we can.
David Mandara, Hepburn Springs

Where have all the hydroxychloroquine champions gone?
Graham Cadd, Dromana

And how is Mrs Trump?
Andrew Moloney, Frankston

Andrews should listen to that great philosopher, Kenny Rogers: ‘‘You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em’’.
Chris McCartin, Murrumbeena

Dan, success in Victoria always comes at a cost: condemnation.
Tom Pagonis, Richmond

I’m not as worried about a haircut as I am about my unwaxed legs.
Vivienne Martin, Coburg

In the original Goon Show, a loud explosion. Then, from Eccles: ‘‘You rotten swine, Bluebottle. You deaded me.’’
Ian Gribble, Point Lonsdale

First Eccles, next Neddie Seagoon, Major Bloodnok, Bluebottle and Grytpype-Thynne?
Daniel Hurley, Drysdale

Why is the children’s playground at the Royal Botanic Gardens closed while others are open?
Rita Reid, Port Melbourne

The greatest farce: mask around neck if you’re carrying your skinny latte.
Susie Holt, South Yarra

Blaming people’s behaviour for the spread ignores the obvious. How did the rest of Australia contain it?
Murray Horne, Cressy

Is it permissible to move a no confidence motion on the state opposition?
Lionel Parrott, Croydon


Trump make America hate again.
John Ramsay, Prahran

In a crisis, the first response from the Liberals and the US Republicans is tax cuts for the rich.
Ian Muir, Mount Eliza

The AFL lost a real gem when Andrew Demetriou stepped down.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

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