Was the pain worth it? Oh yes, but the response at the time to a migrant’s sadness was: ‘‘If you don’t like it, go back from whence you came’’. I hope recent events may have brought back a rethink.
Duncan McIntyre, Mornington

Ensuring that workers only work at the hotels

General practitioners working at some of Victoria’s quarantine hotels to continue treating their usual patients in the community (The Age, 8/12)? Madness. You would think they would know better. Doctors need to be subject to the same quarantine guidelines as all other workers if we are to avoid a third wave of COVID-19.
Ruja Varon, Malvern

If only my country had acted decisively and quickly

Recently I posted part of an Age article, which outlined Victoria’s success in eliminating coronavirus, on my Facebook page. About 5million people live in metropolitan Melbourne and 2.5million live in Greater Manchester, England. If they can do it, why can’t we? I have children living in Victoria and I am so grateful to Premier Daniel Andrews for keeping them and their families safe.
Patricia Blakeley, Rochdale, England

Has Daniel Andrews been vindicated at long last?

There have been many coronavirus ironies this year, and having a private security guard in Melbourne pick up a quarantine mistake of a NSW police officer is one of them. Another was finding out that ‘‘the Australian Defence Force advised that they were not able to undertake any security-type work or perform floor-monitoring roles in the health hotels’’ (The Age, 5/12). So, when the Premier said back in August (at Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee) that, ‘‘I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer’’, he has now been validated and vindicated.
Paul Kennelly, Caulfield North

Please join me for breakfast, Premier Berejiklian

I am into my second week of quarantine in a Sydney hotel. I understand that catering in bulk is not easy, and l do not expect food from a Michelin-starred restaurant. However, I expect it to be edible.

Tuesday’s breakfast was a smaller version of the one received several days earlier – one rubber bullet that was supposed to be a poached egg, a small, almost cold sausage, ditto hash brown, half a tomato and a handful of slimy, unappetising mushrooms. Thank goodness there was an orange and a wholemeal roll. (Although the butter that has previously been supplied was replaced by margarine.) I doubt that the Premier or any of the responsible government ministers or officials would want to eat it.
Julie Moffat, Preston

Giving our cleaners the reward they deserve

How about a great, big ‘‘thank you’’ to the hundreds of cleaners who have risked their health, even their lives, to keep our public places, hospitals, trains, hotels, etc free from COVID-19. An Australia Day award, better working conditions and a massive pay rise come to mind. Thank you, one and all.
Robyn Burfurd, Neerim East

Focus on the positive aspects of Australia’s recovery

It is looking good for a COVID-19 recovery. We are moving out of recession, some people are starting to spend, the demand for labour in building is going up, and lending for housing is close to its pre-coronavirus numbers. It feels like we are moving towards an economic recovery. Confidence and positive reporting fosters that same attitude. Keep up a barrage of positivity.
Ruth Bell, Malvern

THE FORUM

Our failure to touch on

Timna Jacks reports on Melbourne’s transport needs (TheAge, 9/12), including upgrades to our tram services required by 2051 to alleviate crowding and a new link to Fisherman’s Bend. I wonder how Infrastructure Victoria came up with the maps of congested routes in the article. With fewer than half of tram passengers touching on, at least on the 96 route, the number of actual commuters must only be a guess.
Peter Kay, Carlton North

The overlooked transport

The coastline of Port Phillip Bay is ringed with train and bus stations yet we have limited passenger ferry services cross-linking these. We could have a flexible, expandable, solar-powered, network of passenger (and bicycle) ferries for a tiny fraction of the cost of the proposed rail tunnels. Just look to Sydney and the Geelong-Portarlington-Docklands and Queenscliff-Sorrento services.
Tom Danby, Coburg North

Don’t name the killer

The royal commission’s report into the atrocity committed by the Christchurch terrorist named him once in its 792-page report. Instead, it referred to him as the individual, reflecting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s vow never to say his name. Your article (The Age, 9/12) names him multiple times. Why?
Julie Burgess, Whittlesea

Credits that don’t count

Of course, the federal government must ditch the possibility of using the carry-over Kyoto credits to meet Australia’s Paris targets before the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow (The Age, 9/12). Thank you, COVID-19, for reducing our carbon emissions, both locally and globally, and for possibly saving us from further embarrassment and shame on the world stage.
Gillian Upton, Balaclava

The trouble with Albo

Shaun Carney (Comment, 9/12) says ‘‘that Anthony Albanese attracts a benign response from Labor supporters should not be a worry for his colleagues’’. In fact, it should be. Agreeable bloke, hard to dislike and, as Carney says, ‘‘a beer-loving, straight talker with no airs or graces’’. But isn’t that the problem with Albo? He comes across as dull and unimaginative.

This explains the ‘‘ambivalence’’ of the Liberals towards him. They do not consider him a serious threat, more a political asset worth preserving. This despite, as Carney says, ‘‘one of the least inspiring and most scandal-plagued governments in recent times’’. Labor is drifting to certain defeat. It is time for a change.
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne

Sexuality isn’t the problem

Whether prayer is included in laws against conversion practices would be irrelevant if churches took a leadership role in educating people about the incorrect notion that someone’s sexuality is a problem that needs to be fixed.

It is sad that there is a need to have such laws at all.
When I came out at university, a good friend said: ‘‘I will pray for you.’’ I found it a breathtaking display of arrogance and infliction of hurt through ignorance. A real disconnect between the person standing in front of her and the teachings of her church.
Ange Mackie, Coburg

Love, in Jesus’s words

Peter Waterhouse (Letters, 9/12) failed to mention that the Christian Bible is not the sole (or soul) way for a witness to swear to tell the truth and be believed in court.

Furthermore, that gentle and compassionate radical, Jesus, never once mentioned homosexuality in the New Testament – not even in those modern, paraphrased versions of scripture. He is reported to have cured all manner of diseases, and apparently was really good at knocking out leprosy. But not a word about praying away the gay. I believe his words were simply, ‘‘love one another’’. That is good enough for me.
David Allen, Bayswater North

A desire to control

The opposition to the Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill by religious institutions highlights their incessant hang-ups, ignorance and futile obsession with controlling sexual will.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Time to end the secrecy

We are greatly concerned that Australian Border Force is using Best Western Fawkner Suites and Serviced Apartments on Sydney Road for asylum seekers and refugees. Its agreement with the Mantra Bell Hotel in Preston is about to end and the men held there will be relocated.

Moreland councillor Sue Bolton queries whether the Best Western hotel has breached its planning permit. More concerning to us, as she says, is that secret detention centres ‘‘make it hard for the refugee movement and other social justice and human rights groups to know what’s going on’’.
Today is World Human Rights Day. Australians want to know what is taking place in our name and what is the benefit to us of this elaborate and expensive relocation of a few sick people.
Janet Gaden and Ellen O’Gallagher, Central Victorian Refugee Support Network

Release the refugees

It is Human Rights Day: time for a home for refugees, an end to the cruelty of indefinite detention, and the acceptance and fulfilment of our international obligations to asylum seekers.
Anne Sgro, Coburg North

The cartoon says it all

Cathy Wilcox (Letters, 9/1), bless you for caring about the family being destroyed in detention on Christmas Island. This government’s abuse of children, individuals and families knows no bounds.
Carole Meade, Kyneton

What is says about us

Thank you, Cathy Wilcox, for your insightful but sad cartoon regarding the plight of the family on Christmas Island. What does it say about the state of our nation? It puts the spotlight on the callousness and disregard for human rights of our government and perhaps also the indifference of our people. Yet the fact that you and The Age published it gives us some cause for hope, some reason to believe that change is possible.
Lindsay Roberts, Doncaster East

What about ‘other’ deal?

Why is there so much focus from the Coalition government on Victoria’s Belt and Road deal with China and not on the Northern Territory government’s lease of the Port of Darwin to Chinese interests for 99 years?
John Weston, Melton South

Importance of subtlety …

Australia’s relationship with China is at an all-time low. The Prime Minister responds with loud, righteous indignation and anger when China accuses Australia of demonstrating double standards in humanitarian affairs.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong regrets that she is no longer able to consult with the Foreign Affairs Minister as she did when Julie Bishop held that position (Insiders, ABC, 6/12).
The relationship between Victoria and the federal government regarding the state’s response to the coronavirus and the Belt and Road initiative appears far from easy. Scott Morrison needs to be more subtle and show a greater understanding of other people’s position.
Sandra Peeters, Ventnor

… and greater empathy

With shock, disbelief and sadness, I read of the treatment of the Tigrayan people, the northern federated state of Ethiopia – ‘‘Letter to the PM’’ (The Age, 7/12). If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. We must stand up for the rights of all.
Betty Alexander, Caulfield

Accessing forms of help

The National Women’s Health Survey 2020 shows disturbing statistics which present a challenge to healthcare services.

There are online resources and crisis helplines. General practice and maternal and child health services have key roles in managing family violence: screening, recognition and providing support, safety and referral for women. Men may present as perpetrators, or perpetrators may be identified by screening. They can be helped to manage their behaviour, including referral to appropriate services.
Telehealth may improve access to general practice for women, including those who are disabled or disadvantaged and do not have the time or means to attend an in-person consultation, and are suffering pandemic-related psychological distress and loss of wellbeing. General practice can provide help for mental and physical health, and it is a portal to other services. Telehealth can also improve access to allied, mental, and specialist health services.
Dr Andrew Baird, GP, Elwood

Are these really sports?

With the introduction of breakdancing as an Olympic sport (The Age online, 8/12), the Olympics are in danger of descending further into irrelevance. With sport climbing, synchronised swimming, equestrianism (horse riding, with bonus points for grooming), racewalking (walking quickly without running) and many others, it seems the Olympics are now focusing on fringe sports with limited appeal.

This is nothing more than the ‘‘tabloid sports carnival fun day’’ of our primary school days.
I await the three-legged race, egg-and-spoon relay and tunnel ball. I wonder who can stand on one leg the longest? Everyone gets a ribbon, two or three ribbons if there are a too many left over because the cool kids simply went home early. Spectators will be the parents of participants only. Although, if it isn’t your eldest child, it’s quite OK to be ‘‘busy’’ doing something else.
Geoffrey McNaughton, Glen Huntly

All praise to Cornish

My personal pick for Australian of the Year 2020 is Epicure’s Richard Cornish. He has kept our morale up with his writings on all food-related matters.
Bill Wilson, Frankston South

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Coronavirus

Trump’s supporters follow him the way children followed the Pied Piper. Now if he’d worn a mask …
Jon Smith, Leongatha

Hair dye streaming down your face may be a symptom of COVID-19.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda

I’m wary about taking Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. It will probably leave you spaced out.
David O’Reilly, Park Orchards

NSW’s ‘‘gold standard’’ system is a little tarnished. Where’s the criticism of it and Berejiklian?
Kerry Lewis, Williamstown

Politics

Trump on a killing spree with a last minute spate of executions. What a monster.
Graham Fetherstonhaugh, Carlton North

Thanks, Wilcox, for the reminder about the forgotten family on a far away island. What can be done to get through to this system’s bullies?
Anne Flanagan, Box Hill North

When the Libs get involved in casual affairs, industrial or others, workers will get hurt.
Cindy O’Connor, Brunswick

Re Morrison’s false claim about Rudd. Shouldn’t an MP who misleads the house resign, PM?
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Chinese-style diplomacy: so many faces to save.
Margarete Lee, Blackburn

So O’Brien could face a spill motion against his leadership. It’s time he realised too much negativity is a no-no.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod

Furthermore

Could Dustyesky, the ‘‘fake genuine Russian choir’’ (ABC, 7/12), do a Chinese version? Healing balm through music.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield

If I pray hard enough, can I be ‘‘converted’’ to being taller and better looking?
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

As an Age reader for many years, I must admit I’m beginning to ‘‘enjoy’’ the Harvey Norman section.
Fouad Goubran, Wheelers Hill

Note from the Editor

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

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