Instead of the blame game, we all need to pull together

We can look for the negatives and play the blame game to vent our frustrations as this virus spreads, or we can offer support and understanding to our leaders and health professionals who are working tirelessly to contain this virus. The Age should lead by example. We are all in this together and should pull together.
Margaret Bryceland, Truganina

It’s time for even tougher restrictions in Victoria

The Premier’s appeals to people to ‘‘do the right thing’’ is falling on deaf ears in too many instances, but it also a futile approach to where we are at now. Why is his government continuing with this approach when, clearly, it is not working? We are facing the prospect of the problem dragging on, and this is the last thing we need. It is time for strong and decisive action. Melbourne, if not Victoria, needs to be closed down, and only essential services should be allowed to operate for the next few weeks.
Terry O’Brien, Geelong

A leader who is not afraid to take responsibility

As a New South Welshwoman, I see Premier Dan Andrews front up daily to update Victorians and answer questions. He does not shirk from the responsibility and he maintains dignity. Irrespective of one’s political beliefs or location, it must be said he exemplifies Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway’s definition of courage: ‘‘grace under pressure’’. Thank you, Premier, on behalf of all Australians.
Jennifer Fergus, Manly, NSW

‘Rusted-on’ supporters defend the indefensible

It has been hard to stomach the obsessional defence of the Andrews government from rusted-on supporters, considering the state of play in Victoria. Now we have to put up with their desperate attempts to deflect blame onto the federal government. If the situation in New South Wales deteriorates, you can bet they will have no such hesitation in criticising the state government there.
Graham Smillie, St Andrews Beach

So many people are working to protect us

As reported by this paper, Daniel Andrews did look frustrated and exhausted while he chronicled yet another day of bad news. If ever there were a time for compassion, understanding and respect for each other, it is now. Likewise, could we put aside our political biases for just a moment and understand that our Premier and his government are working harder and longer than most of us at this point in time. And, like our amazing healthcare workers, volunteers, the police and numerous other individuals and agencies, they are working to protect us from ourselves.
David Fox, Beaumaris

New regulations send a contradictory message

Daniel Andrews’ announcement that people in regional Victoria must wear masks or face coverings outside their homes but that pubs, clubs and restaurants will remain open (apart from in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire) is ridiculous. How can you eat and drink while you are wearing a mask? Do you have to do strenuous exercise at the same time – for example, running on the spot while you are drinking a beer?
Barry Kearney, Ringwood

Andrews needs a break and a good night’s sleep

Hang in there, Daniel Andrews. You are doing a great job. Do not concern yourself with the dirty tactics of the Liberals who are trying to politicise the situation. It is time you gave yourself a few days off. The strain is telling on your face.
Michael Higgins, Erica

THE FORUM

A deepening inequality

For the past 20 years I have been a volunteer with a charity that works with the disadvantaged on a daily basis. COVID-19 is only highlighting what has been known by charities for many years. Inequalities in education and medical and dental services are compounded by the low disability pension and JobSeeker payments. Added to this is the appalling (at times) treatment by Centrelink, private job providers, labour hire companies and pay day lenders. All governments have known that this situation exists. As a community, can we keep ignoring this inequality?
Marilyn Hoban, Mornington

The right to sick leave

It is constantly reported that COVID-19 is being spread by sick people going to work. Surprise, surprise, the worst offenders are meat processing and aged care workplaces, which happen to have some of the most insecure working conditions in Australia.

How more obvious can it be that every person needs access to paid sick leave for everyone’s safety? The only side effect would be a more decent and secure existence for those workers and their families.

The gig economy and transformation of jobs into sub-contractor positions also needs decisive reform so that no one feels pressured to work, even if they are only slightly unwell. People are dying because of the gaping hole in paid sick leave provisions.
Daniel Diesendorf, Reservoir

More details, please

Can we please see the daily number of coronavirus cases as a percentage of the number of tests carried out, rather than just raw numbers? The more tests we do, the more cases we find. So more tests is a good thing. But not knowing how the number of tests relates to the number of cases is not so helpful. The daily percentage of positive cases to tests carried out would be more meaningful and on a par with the number of people in hospital and in intensive care.
Cheryl Power, Alphington

Prove you should open

When will the Victorian government require workplaces to earn the right to stay open? People are still working in shared office spaces and using communal lunchrooms. Not all employers have provided adequate masks or safe conditions for staff taking lunch and tea breaks. Even essential workplaces should have to pass a rigorous health inspection to remain open.
David Mackay,Macleod

A big stick approach

John Faine – ‘‘Premier, lock up the COVID-19 idiots’’ (Comment, 30/7) – is right. Science has improved over the past 100 years but people have not, so appealing to them to use their ‘‘common sense’’ and ‘‘do the right thing’’ is not only useless but counter-productive.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Hotels, not homes

It is time people in Victoria who are diagnosed with COVID-19 were put into quarantine hotels. Many do not seem to be isolating in their own homes and are therefore contributing to the increasing number of cases.
Rita Reid, Port Melbourne

What’s Kerry up to now?

In referencing Kerry Nash’s mask-free fulminations at Bunnings, Wendy Tuohy highlights the egregious use of the name, ‘‘Karen’’, as a sexist catch-all for an irate, entitled person (Comment, 30/7). But how do we preserve our human right to have a pop at pontificating pests, while observing all-important political correctness? Perhaps it is as simple as using a unisex name. Like, for example, Kerry.
John Skaro, Malvern

A dangerous pursuit

Tom Switzer (Comment, 30/7) asks why people should be aggrieved at Josh Frydenberg’s invocation of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan as policy innovators. Might I suggest it is because a Thatcherite approach to quarantine security management caused Melbourne’s second COVID-19 outbreak, a Thatcherite approach to industrial relations was a critical factor in its spread, and a Thatcherite approach to aged care provision has rendered this into trauma or tragedy for many families.

Our current crisis underlines that dogmatic pursuit of neoliberalism is not just increasingly tiresome but dangerous.
Tony Morton, Coburg

A plea for a partner visa

Border Force and its minister hide behind the phrase ‘‘we don’t comment on individual cases’’, yet both carry on with reprehensible conduct. Their refusal to date to grant a partner visa to an Afghan man, Ghulam Farooq Rahe, is despicable (The Age, 29/7). His family in Melbourne needs him and he has suffered enough, as has his family. What is the point of this inhumanity? How is Australia’s reputation enhanced by this action? How can Peter Dutton and the people in his department sleep at night, with this refusal on their conscience?
Peta Colebatch, Swan Reach

Police’s betrayal of trust

Magistrate Cathy Lamble’s decision to fine, but not impose convictions, on three police officers after they were found guilty over their use of force against John, a disability support pensioner with mental health problems (The Age, 30/7), sends the wrong message to the most vulnerable.
The officers were asked to perform a welfare check on someone experiencing distress. They abused that trust and responsibility. They added to John’s distress and left an imprint of lasting trauma, in a violation of a fellow human’s basic rights and dignity.

As the pandemic wreaks havoc on our community and our sense of safety, confidence in our first responders is critical. John deserved a kind and compassionate response. Instead he was assaulted but the officers got off very lightly. We appreciate Victoria Police is working to ensure this does not happen again but we need to send a message of safety to those who are most vulnerable.
Jack Heath, SANE Australia

Pressure on ‘top’ coaches

Our extended family runs a ‘‘Dream Team’’ competition. It is a fantasy team made up of AFL players who get scores based on their performance each week. Does the AFL realise just how hard it is for ‘‘super coaches’’ at home to manage their teams when rounds are played over a week rather than a weekend? The AFL needs to take into account all stakeholders.
Craig Tucker, Newport

Tackling the bushfires

Re ‘‘Climate forces fire tactics shift: report’’ (The Age, 30/7). There can be no excuses this time for not engaging in proactive and life-saving behaviour and instituting policy highlighted by Former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins. It boils down to resources, primarily financial, so that early warning systems can be used to tackle the inevitable. This was something that Bill Shorten, in March 2019, promised to prioritise (if Labor were elected) with $80million to establish the national aerial bushfire fighting fleet of aircraft. We do not need a repeat of Scott Morrison in a fire-ravaged country town telling people he understands how they feel.

Julian Roberts, Burwood

Ease up on that fat

Ibisworld Research has confirmed Australia is racing towards 70 per cent of the population being overweight or obese. Given that millions of us are largely housebound, it is a pity that many of The Age’s Good Food contributors do not have more regard to the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for healthy eating.

Neil Perry is a highly talented chef, however he seems obsessed with specifying that chicken skin (very fatty, according to the Heart Foundation) remains on in his dishes. Over the past three weeks Adam Liaw, apart from lashings of dry pasta beyond the NHMRC-recommended portion sizes, has provided recipes for hot dogs, salami/pasta and pork sausages. Another recipe for a chicken dish included three-quarters of a cup of sugar.

Surely a welcome challenge for clever chefs is to provide us with appetising recipes which are a healthy choice.
Sam Paton, Camberwell

AND ANOTHER THING

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Politics

Aged care might better be known as aged service.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Trump admits to having taken hydroxychloroquine. So that’s it.
James Ogilvie, Kew

Ross Gittins tells it like it is. A pity our politicians don’t listen.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

Aged Care: a picture, in this case, cartoon (30/7), is worth a thousand words. Thank you, Matt Golding.
Helen Meyer, Ringwood North

While we bemoan the deaths in our poorly regulated aged care industry, Frydenberg wants to kick start the economy by removing red tape.
Peter Ramadge, Newport

The PM says, ‘‘when it rains, we all get wet’’. Scotty from marketing is pretty adroit at dodging the grey clouds.
Shaun Lawrence, Richmond

Coronavirus

Anti-maskers might show community commitment by volunteering in an aged care home.
Robert Evans, Brighton

The virus is learning about our habits faster than we’re learning about its.
Robert Niall, Fitzroy North

Could thought be given to investing in a state-of-the-art infectious disease hospital.
Anne Flanagan, Box Hill North

Thank you, Daniel Andrews and Brett Sutton, for your tireless work and strong leadership.
Norma Lepp, Mornington

People will go to work if they have no other way to support their families. It’s time for a living wage.
Ann Ritchie, Bellfield

A positive from compulsory masks. Look at how much money women, and maybe a few blokes, are saving on lipstick.
Tom Ward, Sorrento

Furthermore

Pat Turner (31/7) should be our next governor-general.
Jim McLeod, Sale

Telstra sues Optus (29/7). Pot, kettle, black.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne

‘‘Ayers Rock now’’ (Quick crossword, 31/7). It has always been Uluru to the First Australians.
John Cain, McCrae

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