Let’s keep calling out those who flout rules
26th August 2021

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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Let’s keep calling out those who flout rules

I could not disagree more with Bridget McArthur – “Blow the whistle on citizen policing” (Opinion, 26/8). While I have a great deal of sympathy for those who cannot wear masks, I have none for those who wear them around their chins as they sit, without social distancing, while their children play in the park. Similarly those who are “training” (not running or raising a sweat), those who are walking and lower their masks in order to talk on their phones, or the large groups of maskless guys kicking soccer or footy balls to and fro.

Perhaps my patience has been tested by the almost 10 months my business has had to close, or not having been able to see my adult children, as well as missing two birthdays. Or the fact that apart from walking the dog with a friend, I have not seen anyone during lockdown. All because I, unlike others, follow the rules and believe that by doing so, we will get out of this mess more quickly. Blow that whistle harder and louder.
Jan Grutzner, Richmond

Anger and aggression will not defeat the virus

Thank you, Bridget McArthur for calling out the vigilante citizens of Melbourne who take it upon themselves to tell others off, sometimes aggressively, regarding COVID-19 rules when they know nothing of that person, their circumstances or their mental health. This behaviour creates division, anger and resentment. People need to look after their own behaviour and follow the advice, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Melbourne has become a city full of angry people whose patience and goodwill has all but run out. To those out there reading this who admonish or abuse people you do not know, know this: Your actions are not helping us defeat this virus, they are contributing to the demise of a civil society.
Kate Cowlishaw, Glen Iris

The satisfaction of witnessing someone’s shame

If you have found it difficult, as I have, not to verbally challenge our irresponsible, coffee cup-carrying, chin-covering, non mask-wearing freedom fighters, try this approach. On your walk, acknowledge those who are acting responsibly with a friendly wave and attempt just eye contact with those who are not. I find the look of shame on the guilty faces so rewarding, and so much easier on my blood pressure.

Bridget McArthur, I have plenty of time for those who need care, but none for those who put our health at risk.
Robert Phillips, Templestowe

We need a more compassionate approach to funerals

The COVID-19 regulations are very hard on people who have had a death in their family and need to have a funeral. I have conducted two funerals this week. We were limited to 10 people attending. It is not allowable to have any gathering afterwards and when the mourners go home, they can have no visitors.

The mental health issues around this are very concerning. There must be a way of supporting the grief stricken and keeping COVID-safe. The current restrictions are a very blunt instrument. I would urge Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, to take a new and compassionate look at this.
Father Graham Reynolds, Soldiers Hill

Why some people think twice about ’checking in’

Many people disregard the QR code check-in requirement for various reasons, including wanting to avoid having to isolate if someone who was there at the same time as them tests positive to COVID-19. The fully vaccinated who are isolating should receive some incentive, such as being allowed to leave home for exercise as a single person.

Yes, I was recently isolating and the persons who did not check in at the same time as me roam the community freely. The next time I am due to check in, I will think about the implications of my decision whereas before there was no delay.
Morris Trytell, Glen Iris


Wear masks correctly

As a (fully vaccinated) doctor now spending time in quarantine after being exposed to an unsuspecting COVID-19-positive patient, I despair at the way people use face masks. A mask is not a fashion accessory and needs to be worn correctly, left in place and not touched by “at-risk” fingers.

I was wearing a proper surgical mask and spectacles for the 10 minutes I was with my patient, but the Delta variant is so contagious that experts have decreed this was not enough. I languish alone, missing my patients and feeling guilty that colleagues take on extra duties to care for them. Many hospitals are grossly understaffed due to furloughed doctors and nurses in similar situations, and those who are left are tired and overworked.

We are all suffering through lockdowns, and agree that vaccination is the way free, but in the meantime please stop the spread by using this simple piece of safety equipment correctly.
Dr Jenny Dowd, Ivanhoe East

Not our responsibility

The federal government is clearly keen for the states to open up. Does this have something to do with the fact that they will be held responsible for their resulting overloaded health services, especially the lack of hospital beds for children? This government is doing what it does best: shift the blame and responsibility to someone else. How many sick and dying children will be too many?
Haydn Moyle, Flemington

Our gain and their loss

In many news bulletins we are told of exhausted hospital staff and health systems in several countries struggling to keep up with the influx of COVID-19 patients. The Victorian government hopes to recruit 350 doctors and specialist nurses from overseas. Which countries have surplus staff? Is it ethical to contemplate importing staff from countries which are struggling to treat their own citizens?
Dr Juliet Flesch, Kew

Let’s not give up on gold

We are stumbling towards a “go light” approach to COVID, despite evidence from other countries that this creates economic and psychological disaster.

Some leaders now have much lower expectations about the public’s fortitude. That seems to have also been influenced by a fringe group of violent protesters who have been condemned widely. That lot must be delighted to learn that their methods attract attention and are working.

Will we next say we cannot aim for gold, it will be bronze? Or might we say we cannot stand the war any longer, so let us give up and learn to live with the foreign invader?
Ross Gillespie, Mitcham

More than a coincidence?

Last weekend’s “freedom” protests in Melbourne took place five days before Victoria’s COVID-19 case numbers roughly doubled. Might these two events be connected?
Peter Greig, Colac

United for common good

Liberal MP Katie Allen and Labor MP Mike Freelander, both paediatricians, are united on speeding up vaccinations for the sake of all children (Opinion, 26/8). What an inspiring bipartisan example for solving other major issues instead of political point-scoring and dividing us.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

We almost had a plan

Your correspondent – “How will our hospitals cope with the influx of cases?” (Letters, 26/8) – says that our current situation is “yet another example of no long-term government planning”.

In 2007, former health minister Tony Abbott put into train a pandemic preparedness plan to prepare businesses, social institutions and hospitals to cope in the event of a pandemic. A projected budget of $600million was allocated. I remember this well as I had a minor involvement.

Unfortunately the plan was smothered by bureaucrats – state and federal – which led to this forward thinking initiative being mothballed. Had the plan been implemented, Australia would have been better prepared.
George Greenberg, Malvern

Learning from the master

Gladys Berejiklian has certainly mastered Scott Morrison’s “look over there” strategy. Look at the freedom of the vaccinated (the lucky people in the right age groups). Ignore infection numbers, deaths and those who are only just eligible to be vaccinated.
Kay Moulton, Surrey Hills

The greats reunited

What makes a great drummer? For the Stones, it was Charlie Watts. For the Who, it was Keith Moon. Likewise, Ginger Baker for Cream or Elvin Jones for John Coltrane. All drummers without peer. All now gone. Rest in peace.
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne

Always a true Stone

You would think that Sir Paul McCartney (on Twitter) would have known better than to describe the late, great Charlie Watts as “steady as a rock”.
Kerry Reid, Hampton

Exposing the empire

I hope Rupert Murdoch’s US cable TV network Fox News does try to take legal action against the ABC over its Four Corners episode that examined the broadcaster’s coverage of Donald Trump and its role in the aftermath of the US election. (The Age, 26/8). It will further expose how Murdoch’s media is a cancer on democracy and increase the pressure here for a royal commission into it.
Grant Nichol, Ringwood

Please, enough already

OK, Richard Pusey is out of jail and the journalistic analyses have been carried out (The Age, 26/8), so can we please now never hear about him again? Stop giving him all this unwarranted attention, and more importantly think about the effect his constant appearances have on the police officers’ families and friends.
Heather Glassford, Williamstown

There’s no comparison

How disappointing to see the player ranked number 85 in the world getting equal billing in the headline announcing Ash Barty’s latest title victory – “Barty wins, Kyrgios nicks off” (Sport, 24/8). She is world number one, the winner of two grand slam singles and one grand slam doubles and an Olympic medal winner. He has decided to pull out of a tournament due to his left knee injury. There is no equivalency between the two.
Robert Gibson, Kensington

Labor’s lack of policies

I agree with Gillian Upton that federal “Labor remains indistinguishable in action on climate change from the government, and the millions of voters for whom this is a most pressing issue will look elsewhere with their vote” (Letters, 26/8).

But what option do people have? Yes, they can vote for the Greens but in most seats their preferences will be directed to Labor. I guess Labor factors this in and is seeking to get votes from the less committed. Hopefully, if it manages to do this, it will unveil some real policies when in power.
Dave Torr, Werribee

Opposition must step up

Your poll shows state Labor making gains and the opposition still languishing at its 2018 support levels (The Age, 26/8). Michael O’Brien and Co, stop your sniping and white anting of the government’s efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreaks. This is a war where both parties should be standing shoulder to shoulder. The time for a creditable opposition will be needed when the majority of our population is vaccinated and we can live with the virus.
Dave Tasker, Lilydale

A desperate situation

Afghanistan is in crisis. Women, men and children, many of whom have offered costly, critical help to our defence forces or have Australian visas, are in danger of death. We cannot leave them to the mercy of the Taliban. Please, Prime Minister, we need mass evacuation flights and guaranteed entry now.
Caroline Miley, Heidelberg

A waste of money or …

I agree with the transport economists who say the planned Suburban Rail Loop could turn out to be a very expensive white elephant (The Age, 24/8). For a number of years a circular bus route has been in operation from the south-eastern suburbs around the city, terminating in the western suburbs, with, I understand, few passengers.
Tony Adami, Caulfield South

… a much needed loop

The Suburban Rail Loop has been badly needed for decades. Major employment and activity centres are no longer confined to the inner-city, and the radial train network is inadequate. We need decent “cross-town” connections.

The business case might only show a moderate gain (dollar wise), but how can a rail link to Monash, Deakin and (possibly) Latrobe universities not be a big hit? The effect on Monash alone will be enormous. At last students will be able to catch the train to uni – from any station in Melbourne.

It will also give shoppers from the eastern suburbs quick access to Southland, Glen Waverley and Doncaster Shoppingtown. Finally, Doncaster will be on the rail network. And eventually everyone on the loop will be able to catch a train direct to the airport. That will be especially popular in the northern suburbs, where it will be a quick trip, instead of the proposed airport rail via the city.
Geoff Dalton, East Malvern


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Australia’s shame: abandoning refugees. We have not progressed in humanity after 20 years.
Jean Andrews, Cheltenham

Our PM announces we won’t accept boats from Afghanistan instead of providing enough planes to prevent more boats.
Trevor Hay, Montmorency

ScoMo versus Albo is a no go. It’s time to be daring, Labor.
Peter Cooke, Warrnambool

Maybe Scott and Josh will understand this: “We’ve overspent our carbon budget.“
Vince Corbett, Essendon

Re endangered species (26/8). Stop logging indigenous forests. Please, Dan, love you but …
Jan Dwyer, Rosebud

Brilliant as usual, Niki Savva (26/8).
Pamela Pilgrim, Highett

An endangered species: a politician who can answer a question without making a speech.
Elisabeth Schiller, Glen Iris


BC: Before COVID. AD: After Delta.
Michael Helman, St Kilda East

Has the first sod been turned at Mickleham yet?
Wendy Batros, Templestowe

I’d prefer people took their coffee cups home rather than drop them on the ground.
Peter Carlin, Frankston South


A Stone rolls no more. Vale the wonderful Charlie Watts.
Gary Oraniuk, Geelong West

To quote from an early Stones’ album cover: “The drums were always Charlie Watts.“
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Vale Charlie, now singing “get off of my cloud”.
Peter Long, Mornington

Maybe the NAPLAN results are up (25/87) “because of‴⁣⁣ rather than “despite” students being at home.
Tom Perfect, Glenlyon

Yes, Phil Lipshot (25/8), a footy team for Tassie is overdue.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield

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