Fixing the quarantine mess our main priority

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THE PANDEMIC

Fixing the quarantine mess our main priority
We now have a new phase of the pandemic dawning with multiple outbreaks occurring simultaneously across the country. Inept management of, hotel quarantine is the common theme in the overwhelming number of these cases. Both theses aspects of quarantine have been amateurish at best with gaping flaws emerging on a frighteningly regular basis.

While the vaccine rollout swerves at the smallest hint of million-to-one chances, significant risks in quarantine, namely transmission mechanisms, ventilation and unvaccinated staff, are routinely dismissed.

It is time health bureaucrats were ushered to the sidelines and professionals given the reins culminating in an effective, near zero risk model in the form of a national standard. The standard, which would most probably dumping the big-city hotel model, could then be implemented nationwide.

The idea should have permeated by now that this health crisis is not going away any time soon and it’s time that the biggest problem got taken seriously.
Don Relf, Mentone

How could they get it so wrong?
It has taken less than a fortnight for us to realise how poorly thought out was the recommendation by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and government that those within the age bracket 50 to 59 should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In the time since this decision, we have seen multiple lockdowns and restrictions be imposed across Australia, people admitted to intensive care and illnesses due to the coronavirus, and thousands and thousands of people cancel their vaccination appointments, let alone all of the other costs of these further measures.

While vaccination rates remain so low, we are sitting ducks for this virus to take hold in the community and cause illness, deaths and economic costs far beyond any risks that were posed by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

What a missed opportunity it will prove to have been. How can those assessing the balance of risks have got it so wrong?
Jon Morley, Caulfield North

NSW is not the only state to follow ‘health advice’
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has long been critical of other states imposing lockdowns following COVID-19 outbreaks citing, gold standard tracing, tracking and quarantine in her state.

She has now decided to impose a lockdown in NSW to get on top of the latest outbreak, saying that this decision is based solely on public health advice.

However, the lockdowns in Victorian were also not something the Victorian government came up with on a whim, but were brought in following a recommendation(s) to the government by Victorian public health officials.

Why does Gladys Berejiklian consider that it is only her state that should follow public health advice when it comes to the imposition of lockdowns?
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

It’s time for Canberra to step up to the plate
The success of our tackling the pandemic from day one was down to the state premiers, all of them, while the federal government played politics. The vaccine rollout was the federal government’s responsibility and they have failed miserably.

Now COVID has raised its ugly head again and things look grim, but very little is coming out of Canberra.

Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt were very vocal in their criticism of Victoria during the big lockdown while at the same time praising New South Wales’ gold standard. But now that New South Wales is in the hot seat, their silence is deafening.

We deserve better than this. Canberra shouldn’t be playing politics with human lives.
John Cummings, Anglesea

THE FORUM

Hit ’em where it hurts
Neil Brown, QC, a former federal minister for communications, has spoken out about the ABC’s viewer registration for the iview service for access to older and series programs (“Loss of our private details”, Letters, 25/6). He notes that viewers’ personal data will not be sold to overseas data factories, but will be “disclosed” to such data farmers who may want it.

Mr Brown is outraged at this invasion of privacy, as we all should be. What right does the ABC have to play fast and loose with our personal data?

I recommend that everyone go to the iview site, hit the sign-up button, and then type in whatever outraged message you want. Ditto for SBS’s On Demand page with its sign-up button and screen. This is the only way to make these privacy invaders back off.

And let’s boycott both non-broadcast services and hit ’em where it hurts: ratings, both real time and streaming.
Baden Eunson, Brighton East

It’s time he left the party
Following Barnaby Joyce’s vengeful treatment of a capable minister, it is time for the member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, to leave the Nationals and stand as an independent.

Mr Chester is well regarded in Gippsland, especially since his laudable conduct during the recent natural disasters. With the Nationals becoming increasingly on the nose with many rural and regional Australians, Mr Chester is exactly the sort of person they are looking for to represent them.
Mike Puleston, Brunswick

Out with the old
According to Chris Bowen, the opposition spokesman for climate change and energy, “an economy-wide carbon price isn’t part of our policy development”.

The OECD’s Effective Carbon Rates 2021 report is the most detailed and comprehensive account of how 44 OECD and G20 countries price carbon emissions from energy use. Australia is not represented. The report concludes that “carbon pricing is a very effective decarbonisation policy. Countries with higher carbon pricing scores are more carbon efficient. In addition, by increasing their carbon pricing scores, countries an strongly reduce emissions and move towards a greener growth path.”

It’s not surprising that Australia’s climate change efforts are so poorly rated by the international community. It’s time to sweep our current lot of politicians aside. Bring on the next generation.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

A most galling rising
David Crowe says it all, “Selfish. Venal. Vengeful. Shameless”, in regards to the re-election of Barnaby Joyce (“Country the big loser in reset all about payback”, The Age, 28/6).

In the National Party’s reshuffle, what is most galling is the Lazarus rising of Bridget McKenzie, of sports rort fame.

As Crowe also notes, Australians already have “low expectations of politicians”. We are at such a low point with the lack of integrity and ision within the Coalition, one is in despair with the elevation of Barnaby Joyce to such a powerful position.

It would be laughable if it didn’t have the capacity to be so destructive.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

It has a ring to it
The federal government recently introduced new vaccination allocation “horizons”, in an apparent attempt to avoid referring to actual targets.

With the NSW Premier’s apparent difficulty with implementing and naming a lockdown, maybe Gladys Berejiklian can take a leaf out of the Prime Minister’s playbook.

“Greater Sydney is under narrow horizons” has a certain ring to it and might be more politically palatable. I am sure the PM would approve.
Roan Plotz, Preston

Too much to swallow
Amanda Vanstone, I’m not a “glutton for punishment” Victorian when I support our state’s COVID directives (“Blame game not always fair”, Comment, 28/6). Rather, I’m careful.

Your insatiable capacity to ignore any federal responsibility for mishandling responses to this virus is truly too much to swallow.
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

Too many toys
As a parent of young children, I enjoyed reading Alice Clarke’s opinion piece “Don’t force kids to play away their future” (Comment, The Age, 24/6).

The waste related to toys in our society is appalling. One only needs to walk around the suburbs on any given Sunday to see nature strips lined with broken plastic toys destined for landfill.

It is pleasing to hear that companies like Lego are working towards using recycled plastic to make their toys. The real question, however, is whether children really need all these toys in the first place?

The phrase “less is more” is worthy of consideration with regard to the items our children interact with, and if variety is really needed, one can always join a local toy library.
Amy Hiller, Kew

They are responsible
Thank you to columnist Amanda Vanstone for her summing up of the various governments’ approach to the COVID crisis. Victoria got so much wrong, the federal government got so much right and Gladys Berejiklian deserves nothing but plaudits for her lockdown as it was determined on good advice, not panic.

“The Victorian government seems to want to be in power but doesn’t want to accept the responsibility that goes with it,” she writes.

Since when has acting on public health advice to enforce unpopular lockdowns, despite the political damage incurred, not been taking responsibility?
John Pearson, Frankston

Enough of the bias
Hopefully now we will see an end to the endless criticism of Victoria and the constant lauding of NSW by the Coalition, certain sections of the media and some epidemiologists about the handling of COVID outbreaks.

Statements such as NSW “showing us the new way” to live without lockdowns, Gladys Berejiklian’s statement that they will have no more lockdowns, the Prime Minister stating late last week that “if anyone can control this without lockdown, it’s NSW” and the incessant reminder of the “gold standard” contact tracing in NSW have all been now debunked. Ms Berejiklian didn’t want to burden her citizens and has now ended up burdning other jurisdictions with the leakages from NSW.

End the politically biased opinions on states’ handling of COVID and recognise the random and infectious nature of the virus.
Susan Simpson, Surrey Hills

It’s not perfect, but …
Your correspondent (“A lack of transparency and accountability in planning”, Letters, 26/6) seems to miss the point that one new station is better than replacing two existing ones whose platforms are visible from one station to the next. One new station obviates demolishing a recently built supermarket as well as other buildings and is far cheaper.

While no solution is perfect, it is far better than the constant delays at the present crossings.
Neil Biggin, Mont Albert

Gold for Victoria?
The highest number of active cases in Victoria’s recent outbreak was 94 on June 6. In NSW, as of yesterday, there were 166 active cases.

Scott Morrison, you’re adept at shifting positions, care to declare Victoria as the gold standard yet? One thing is for sure, the federal government can no longer point to problems caused by different state systems.

Canberra gets the lead standard for stuffing up quarantine and vaccinations. Those are the common denominators across all states’ COVID problems.
Denny Meadows, Hawthorn

The virus can’t read
Liberal senator for NSW Hollie Hughes said vaccinated returning travellers should absolutely be able to quarantine at home, and fully vaccinated people should also be able to travel around Australia without restriction. Jason Falinski, the Liberal member for Mackellar, said home quarantine would incentivise people to get vaccinated in order to be able to work.

But even if people walked around with signs on their chest saying “I’ve been vaccinated”, the virus has no eyes and it can’t read. Vaccination merely tops you getting seriously ill. It does not stop you being a carrier and passing it on to others.
Lance Ross, Kooyong

Look at it this way
I truly think your correspondent (“It’s [still] in the mail”, Letters, 28/6) is being a trifle hard on Australia Post.

She complains that an item posted on June 12 for delivery to another Melbourne suburb has travelled, so far, to Launceston and Brisbane.

By the time this is all over and the parcel is delivered, her tracking of the item may well show that it has visited even more far-flung and exotic locations. All for no extra cost in postage.

In these times when travel can be difficult she could cut out pictures of the various locations her item has visited, hang them on her walls and imagine that she is travelling along with it. So exciting and so cheap. Why isn’t Australia Post promoting this wonderful opportunity it offers?
Alister McKenzie, Lake Wendouree

I prefer this advice
Gigi Foster (“Stop human cost of lockdowns”, Comment, 28/6) asks “why are we still focusing rabidly on COVID when the cuntry hasn’t lost a person with that disease since last year …?”

Perhaps it’s because we prefer the sage advice of epidemiologists to that of economists.
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North

Publish it yourself
Given the rejection of his interview with Dan Andrews, Jon Faine should publish the work online using YouTube, for example, and allow everyone to make up their own minds.

It would be interesting if it went “viral”, thus putting the ABC and The Age on the back foot over their decisions.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

AND ANOTHER THING

Coronavirus
Vaccination may not be a magic bullet against COVID-19 (Letters, 28/6) but it is our best shot at the moment.
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North

Credit:

Gladys Berejiklian played Russian roulette with the virus and lost.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

At least it’s not Victoria for once. Melbourne, let’s make hay while the sun shines. Our next turn is probably just around the corner.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

Politics
Could someone explain to me how to reconcile political supporters being rewarded with ministerial portfolios with promotion on merit.
Denis Fielding, Geelong

All that was missing from Amanda Vanstone’s hyperpartisan whinge was the statement “written and authorised by Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian for the Liberal Party” (“Blame game not always fair”, Comment, 28/6).
Judy Loney, Drumcondra

Dan Andrews can now change his “North Face″⁣ jacket to the “Trailblazer″⁣ one.
Ruth Davis, Carrum

The obvious leader of the National Party by a country mile should be Darren Chester.
Paul Webster, Burwood East

I see the minister for sports rorts is back. Enough said?
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Everything we read and learn about Barnaby Joyce suggests he is all about payback for past hurts – hardly a plus for the Deputy Prime Minister and our country’s needs.
Hugh McCaig, Blackburn

Furthermore
Which is worse, Parnell Palme McGuinness (“Scare tactics are backfiring on science”, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 27/6), scientists playing politicians or politicians playing scientists?
Jim McLeod, Sale

Finally
It seems that many of those who object to wearing masks have no trouble wearing tin-foil hats.
David Perry, Bombala, NSW

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