Lackadaisical behaviour is a recipe for disaster

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LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

Lackadaisical behaviour is a recipe for disaster
In view of the frightening infectivity of the Delta COVID-19 variant, even involving those fully vaccinated, it is disappointing how lackadaisical we have become about mask-wearing.

In recent days, less than 40 per cent of those strolling in groups around Albert Park Lake or along Beaconsfield Parade were wearing masks covering nose and mouth. It is not surprising that apparently unconnected cases are popping up around Melbourne.

It would also help if unmasked joggers ran in a circuit a few metres outside of the bulk of the walkers rather than pounding through them while them potentially puffing out a virus.
Peter Barry, Melbourne

It’s a wider problem
Writing, as I am, from a leafy eastern suburb, I am astonished how often the implied communication of COVID-19 public health measures is it’s predominantly a significant problem among people who have recently arrived in Australia and don’t have English as their first language.

I observe activity at two building sites in the course of my daily allowable exercise. During the course of the pandemic, and as the infectivity of the virus has increased, the workers’ grasp of 1.5 metres of separation has remained poor and mask-wearing has become less common. Some individuals who wore masks early in the pandemic do not wear them now. The majority of these workers look and sound much the same as I do.

I complained. The well-written (in terms of proper English expression) response from the builder’s representative was that he had not seen any evidence that SARS-CoV2 had become more infectious and that anyway, there was nothing he could do about worker behaviour on site. As authority for this statement, he provided a document from a COVID-scam, anti-vaccination activist.
Mary Lush, Surrey Hills

This sort of selfishness only extends the lockdown
On Saturday, I was disgusted to see crowds milling about and drinking outside pubs up and down Brunswick Street. These revellers weren’t exercising, weren’t social distancing, and clearly weren’t there for any essential purpose.

Lockdown sucks, but this sort of selfishness only makes it last longer. The police were nowhere in sight. And we wonder why lockdowns persist.
Josh Abbey, Fitzroy

NSW is still too open
You have to admit, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian really doesn’t seem to have a clue as to what the word “lockdown” actually means. A week or so ago, she was firmly stating to the bewildered people of NSW that the Sydney lockdown had “harsher restrictions in place than any other state has ever had”, all the while Sydneysiders freely roamed the streets, not wearing masks and ducking into Harvey Norman for a bit of shopping as “lockdown therapy”.

Now she has supposedly “toughened” the restrictions, but when you look at the list of essential retail permitted to be open, one can only sigh. Clearly, it is essential to be able to go to your local plant nursery to buy a punnet of white petunias; Bunnings and similar stores are open to all, not just tradies.

Lockdown? Don’t make a long-suffering, but resolute, resident of Melbourne laugh, or perhaps that should be scream.
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights

We are not ‘free’ to harm others
Nailed it again, Tony Wright (“The true fight for freedom”, Insight,14/8). Individual freedoms do not include the freedom to harm others.

A member of society cannot reject society’s rules and still accept the benefits of that society. Free healthcare care, free education, financial support all come with responsibilities.

Well done, Tony. More power to your pen.
Rick Hendy, Box Hill

THE FORUM

Misled by the messaging
There is nothing inherently different about the people of NSW to any other state.

An obvious explanation for the perceived non-compliance with COVID restrictions in NSW is the messaging from both the NSW and federal governments.

For 18 months, the people of NSW have been told their state was the “gold standard” and would never eed to impose a hard lockdown in order to manage the virus. They bore witness to the belittling and disparaging commentary by both NSW state and federal political leaders towards those states that managed outbreaks by locking down.

The political games that have been played may well cost NSW and indeed all states dearly.
Julie Perry, Highton

We need a new plan
My wife and I were on our bike ride on Saturday through Carlton and Fitzroy North.

The parks were full of large groups of people socialising without masks on. Bars were open selling takeaway alcohol to large queues of people once again maskless.

Time to come up with another plan, because it looks like the people are voting with their feet.
Brendan Douglas, Alphington

It’s a bit of a laugh
Dame Edna used to start her shows with a big “Hello, Possums” but now it will have to be “Hello, hologram Possum”, at least in Carlton (“Council drives possums out, installs possum”, 14/8).

Possums are part of nature, and, yes, they can be annoying pests, but we should learn to live with them. Driving them out and replacing them with a hologram projection seems silly.

Perhaps the City of Melbourne council should reflect on another of her sayings “never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century”, as I think a lot of people will be laughing at them and the hologram.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

A must-read piece
Greg Baum’s article on racism, as ever, is a must read (“Racism and a lesson that is never learnt”, Sport, 14/8). It was heartbreaking to watch Eddie Betts discuss the latest AFL racist incident.

It always strikes me powerfully that people like Betts have a far greater right to live in this country than the ugly white “Australians” who engage in racist abuse.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie

Wedged by the law
VCAT may be making decisions on the basis of the planning laws, but not in the interests of Victorians (“Golf range battle in war over green wedges”, The Age, 14/8).

Nillumbik Shire recently consulted more than 2000 residents to see what is important to them. The answer was overwhelmingly the green wedge, above everything else. Respondents wanted it protected and enhanced, commenting that it gives them a sense of place, unites them as a community and provides a natural environment.

The COVID lockdowns have demonstrated how important the green wedge is to all of Melbourne, in providing green space for recreation and enjoyment. As growth in Melbourne continues, the necessity for such places will increase.

Councils are rejecting inappropriate planning applications that would result in the decimation of green wedges, only to have these decisions overturned at VCAT. The state government needs to strengthen the planning laws to protect this land.

VCAT members should reflect on why they are making decisions that go against the wishes of the majority of people who actually live in these areas. Ultimately they must take responsibility for the loss of these jewels, which once destroyed can never be recovered.
Janice Davies, North Warrandyte

Action is the best antidote
Thank you to Sarah Brennan (“Need to act immediately”, 14/8) for a heartfelt and honest letter about climate distress. Many of my friends and family, myself included, also deal with outrage and anxiety about the damage we humans are doing to our natural environment.

I agree that the best antidote for despair is action. Encouraging elected representatives to make meaningful emissions reductions, learning and evolving to consume less, and spending time gardening or in nature work best for me.

Imagine if we all heeded David Attenborough’s message “Don’t waste electricity, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food. Live the way you want to live but just don’t waste”. We can all make a difference and feel better in the process.
Amy Hiller, Kew

Playing with the facts
Thanks to Ross Gittins for “PM can’t see the truth for the trees” (Business, 14/8). I wondered how the Prime Minister could claim Australia’s emissions have fallen 20 per cent since 2005, considering Australians are some of the world’s highest per capita emitters.

Now I know. Scott Morrison fiddled the statistics to paint a bright of Australia, a world leader in every aspect. Other governments understand climate change isn’t coming, it’s arrived, and they’re actively doing something about it. Yet the Morrison government continues to obfuscate scientific fact to the detriment of every Australian as it focuses on a win-at-all-costs next election.

Thanks, too, to Niki Savva for “A cranky man in need of a plan” (Comment, 12/8), which reveals Mr Morrison’s dark side. This country deserves a leader, not one who throws money, blames someone else or walks away from a problem.

The election looms. Will Australians choose more of the same from a self-serving incumbent or take a chance on Labor’s sleeping Anthony Albanese? Either way, there is no win for Australia.
Sue Bennett, Agnes Water, Qld

Shouldering the blame
What bothers me, more than anything else, in regard to a person like Barnaby Joyce actually being a member of parliament, is how he was ever elected in the first place.

He, like so many other elected parliamentarians (from all political spectrums), does not, to me, exhibit an ethical and moral perspective on almost every issue imaginable.

People like Mr Joyce are elected into their positions of power. While Australians vote for such awful people, we cannot blame anyone except ourselves for the outcome of our voting patterns.
Jill Loorham, Seaford

On this, Joyce was right
Barnaby Joyce has been getting some fairly negative press lately, but one good thing during his time in the wilderness was his support for the Biloela family.

Unlike many of his Coalition colleagues, he recognised the racism aspect of the decision to reject and incarcerate the family.

Many foreigners have been given permission to reside in Australia during the pandemic, despite the borders being closed, and it is probable that many people from Afghanistan will soon arrive here and be given shelter.

Now that he has been restored to the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Joyce would receive a lot of support from the Australian people if he could exercise his influence to resolve the dilemma of the Murugappan family.

Please restore them to Biloela and allow them to stay in Australia.
Chris Pearson, Kyneton

Not my idea of a role model
I wonder what sort of role model your correspondent (“Religion and teachers”, Letters, 14/8) expects teachers to be?

I certainly have issues with teachers at taxpayer-funded schools telling their students it is OK to discriminate against certain people simply because of the way they were born.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully

A study in contrasts
To me the difference in the way Victoria and NSW have responded to the pandemic is simple.
NSW has put business first while Victoria has put people first. The economic imperative versus the human imperative.

In essence, the political difference between Labor and Liberal.
Jack Morris, Kennington

The man has form
There seems to be a running commentary suggesting that Scott Morrison is not setting a net-zero target because he is wedged by noisy denialists in his party. The story is that underneath he would like to do the “right thing” but is caught between conflicting interests in his party, poor man.

Such commentary seems to forget his vigorous “this is coal, don’t be afraid” speech in Parliament when he was treasurer and under no pressures to make such statements except perhaps as a nod to the power brokers that he should replace Malcolm Turnbull.

Don’t be fooled, his own history shows, in terms of fossil fuel and carbon targets, Mr Morrison stands with Matt Canavan, Barnaby Joyce and George Christensen (and certain parts of the media) against the few realists in his party.

The fact that he is able to pretend otherwise is more down to his ability to spin a mistruth and have it repeated, than any history suggesting he understands and cares about the climate crisis and what role Australia might play in modifying it.
Michael Langford, Ivanhoe

A telling photograph
I can’t help noticing that in the photo (“NSW cracks down as cases surge”, 15/8) of the police patrol at Coogee Beach in Sydney the only person wearing a mask is a policeman.

After the terrible months in 2020 here in Melbourne, hopefully we’ve learnt our lesson that mandatory mask-wearing is very effective in keeping infection numbers low.

I wish Sydney and NSW better fortune in the days ahead as their government tries to wrest back control from the Delta strain of coronavirus.
Caroline Heard, Glen Huntly

Chasing the dream
CSIRO’s Pep Canadell urges these three climate steps as keys for global success: speedy carbon emissions reduction “to zero” by 2050; allocation of a limited carbon budget to each country; drawdown of emissions already in our atmosphere.

The climate should then “start to cool by the end of the century” (“Carbon’s dream sequence”, 14/8). We certainly need a dream to replace the latest IPCC nightmarish crisis. In short, the world’s survival depends hugely on successful global agreement at COP26 in Glasgow very soon. It is our last chance for the most effective pathway forward.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

AND ANOTHER THING

Climate change
Scott Morrison, Italy records its highest ever temperature, Greece is on fire, the planet is burning. It’s a no-brainer.
David Seal, Balwyn North

Credit:

Barnaby Joyce, if the choice is between a $100 lamb roast and a planet suffering weather extremes, I’ll opt for the lamb.
Brian Glass, Montrose

Barnaby Joyce, bushfires and extreme weather events tell us the cost of inaction will be higher than if we acted.
John Hughes, Mentone

The most effective action one can take to tackle the climate emergency is at the polling booth. Yet only about 10 per cent of us do so.
Graeme Perry, Skye

If Scott Morrison’s house was on fire, would he pick up a hose or shrug and say ″⁣I didn’t start it″⁣?
Irene Zalstein, Doncaster East

The pandemic
If Gladys Berejiklian’s political career peters out, she’ll make a good race caller.
Meg McPherson, Brighton

I wonder why we haven’t heard much from Josh Frydenberg about how NSW has been handling the coronavirus disaster in that state.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

It’s easy for Scott Morrison to tell the premiers “I told you so” because at some time he’s held every position on COVID.
Tony Lenten, Glen Waverley

Lockdowns
There are worse side effects from long lockdowns, but two concerns are how clothes tend to shrink and scales tend to lie.
Greg Tuck, Warragul

The grand final
Thank you, Gary Pert, for so truly representing our tribe (“Head v heart: AFL’s grand dilemma”, 15/8).
Penny Mackieson, Richmond

Finally
Now this issue has made the papers, perhaps Will Richardson will get some action (“Waiting for a licence to live”, 15/8). Maybe the office will be shamed into actually doing its job.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

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