We do not deserve this harsh sort of treatment

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RULES AND REGULATIONS

We do not deserve this harsh sort of treatment
My parish church is in walking distance of one of the biggest shopping centres in metropolitan Melbourne. It is in walking distance of a very popular hotel where visiting bands line up to perform.

In Doncaster Shoppingtown every shop will soon open – with their customer limit inside. The Doncaster Shoppingtown Hotel will be allowed 50 diners outside and 20 inside. At St Gregory’s Church, less than a mile down the same road, we will be allowed to have 20 parishioners outside and four inside. Unlike the diners, our parishioners will not have their masks off for an hour or more.

Places of worship, like St Gregory’s, have followed regulations during the pandemic and we do not deserve this harsh treatment by the Victorian government.
Monsignor Tony Ireland, parish of St Gregory the Great, Doncaster

The confusion between jurisdictions must end
In their efforts to protect their patients from harm, clinicians pay particular attention to analysing ‘‘critical incidents’’. Critical incidents are indicators of system faults that can result in adverse events and require remediation before they cause actual harm.

Here is a real-life example. New Zealanders travelling to states that were not part of the travel bubble was a critical incident. The Ruby Princess disaster was an adverse event.

Both were the result of confusion between Border Force and state and federal jurisdictions. The national cabinet must resolve this confusion to avoid harm in the future.
Mike Sanderson, Drouin

It’s ‘compulsory turning up’, not ‘compulsory voting’
There’s no compulsory voting in Australia, because there’s secret voting, too (‘‘Scrapping compulsory voting would help’’, Letters, 19/10). All that’s compulsory is attending a polling place, and having one’s name crossed off a list.

It’s not compulsory to submit a valid vote. But if you don’t vote, you can’t complain if politicians do something you disagree with. By not voting, you’re expressing satisfaction with the current political situation.
Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, SA

We need to know before we vote
Major donors to council election candidates should be revealed in advance of an election – not one month after the polls have been declared. That way voters would have at least some idea, before casting their vote, who the candidates may be beholden to.
George Greenberg, Malvern

We’re hardly ‘metropolitan’
I have been a strong and assiduous supporter of the Victorian government’s attempts to control COVID-19. I live on the Mornington Peninsula in Rye. Five kilometres here is half the distance to Rosebud and just outside the distance to Sorrento. The decision that the distance will be extended to 25 kilometres is heartbreaking.

A 25-kilometre boundary in the inner metropolitan area opens up a significant environment in which to be contained. Parks, takeaway restaurants and maybe catching up with family are all possibilities. I can go to Dromana (just) but not Mornington, Red Hill or Flinders.

Yes, we have been designated part of metropolitan Melbourne, but in reality we are a semi-rural area with low population density and we really should be classified as a regional area and be enjoying the same regulations that regional Victoria is operating under now.

As it stands, movement within the ‘‘ring of steel’’ is the more appropriate distance for metropolitan Melbourne. Regional Victoria can be excluded for us but, gee, it would be great to go to the city and see my grandson and family. This would be a 80-kilometre trip, without stopping until I arrived.

Unless COVID-19 has enough smarts to recognise someone who’s travelled beyond 25 kilometres, what is the point of limiting travel to 25 kilometres within the ring of steel.
Allan Gatiss, Rye

THE FORUM

We must remain vigilant
It’s been a tough few months but Victoria’s lockdown, combined with high levels of testing, tracing and quarantine has been effective. We should all take pride in our collective efforts to bring new cases down to low numbers and in the process, save lives. However, there is good reason for a cautious and staged approach to lifting restrictions.

We know that Victorians hold multiple contradictory views about opening up the economy and COVID-safe strategies. Some of that is fuelled by naked politics but there are significant numbers of people who do not trust government and expert advice and will therefore take risks. Even small numbers of people taking risks too soon endanger case numbers rising again quickly.

We are in a better position than many European countries. We do not want to be like the UK and France, with more than 20,000 cases a day. Coming into summer with low mystery cases and sharpened testing, Victoria is well-placed to continue to stop the spread and lift restrictions in a COVID-safe way.

All of us carry responsibilities for our decisions, our behaviours, and our communications about this, including the media and our leaders, elected or not.
Anna Nicholson, Bronwyn Carter, Helen Keleher, Public Health Association of Australia, Victorian branch

Cynical posturing
Shaun Carney (‘‘Andrews enjoys burst of sunshine’’, 19/10), while acknowledging the Andrews government’s inept handling of hotel quarantine, rightly emphasises the bigger scandal of the Morrison government’s mismanagement of the main contributor to Victoria’s second wave COVID-19 related deaths: aged care homes.

In tandem with certain media outlets, the Prime Minister and the Victorian-based federal ministers Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt have cynically weaponised the public health strategy for dealing with the virus in this state. Seeking political advantage at Andrews’ expense has taken precedence over the welfare of Victorians.

Come the next federal and state elections, it is to be hoped that electors here remember how conservative politicians went missing in our time of stress.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

That was quick
On Sunday, the Premier said we could expand our travel from five kilometres to 25 kilometres. My corner servo (representing an unaccountable multinational company) immediately put a rocket under its petrol price – from 99¢ a litre to $1.47.

Outrageous. The worst I’ve seen – and, as a senior, I’ve seen plenty.
Billy Miller, Yarraville

Health is wealth
‘‘It’s health or wealth’’, writes Peter Cooke, encouraging Daniel Andrews to stay the course (Letters, 17/10). Research co-authored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the US Federal Reserve Bank concurs, finding health is wealth.

The study of US cities’ responses to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic found those that more aggressively restricted social interactions, including bans on public gathering, school closures and limitations on business activity, rebounded with stronger economic growth.

Cities that began social distancing 10 days earlier than others reaped 5 per cent higher manufacturing employment post-pandemic. Fifty extra days of social distancing yielded a 6.5 per cent increase in manufacturing employment.

‘‘Pandemic economics are different than normal economics’’, concluded a researcher because the pandemic, itself, is so economically destructive, with no positive ‘‘trade off’’ shown between public health and economic activity.
These findings suggest that, despite strenuous political opposition, the Victorian government’s approach may yet prove beneficially prudent.
Barbara Chapman, Hawthorn

It’s about the numbers
Tony Wright offers once again a nice dose of humanity and wit (‘‘Finally, Premier offers some hope for Victorians’’, The Age, 19/10). But a preferable headline for this article would be ‘‘Finally, low numbers offer some hope for Victorians’’.

The Premier has always made it clear that the restrictions would ease when numbers indicated that the virus was sufficiently manageable. For me, the political bickering and media focus on the things that have gone wrong has been more dispiriting than the restrictions themselves.

When community co-operation is a vital key to limiting virus spread, media reporting which keeps the focus on the virus not the politicians as the root cause of our situation is much more helpful.
Christine Pinniger, Fairfield

Gyms miss out again
Sunday’s announcement provided no hope for the thousands of gym owners and gym users across Victoria. Gyms not only provide physical health benefits but stress and anxiety relief, rehabilitation and for some, their only opportunity to see other people. How can hairdressers be deemed a lower risk than gyms.

There have been no transmission cases in NSW gyms throughout the entire pandemic, and international studies have shown them to be low risk with COVID-safe plans. Gyms have electronic check-ins, mask requirements, sanitation and time limits, yet still this is not enough.

I call on the Premier to outline what threshold he is waiting for to open gyms. With numbers so low, and daily cases equivalent to NSW, there is little justification to keep them shut. Further delays are going to be causing more harm than good.
Will Bennett, Ballarat

Back to the same old games
Earlier this year I wrote to the Prime Minister. So impressed was I with his inclusive leadership of the national COVID-19 co-ordination I even thought he might become a prime minister of Australia for the ages.

But unlike New Zealand, in Australia we are back to the same old sniping and attacks on Victoria’s struggles to ensure that this virus doesn’t return. As if this didn’t confirm how deluded my hopes were, we now have what looks to be a ‘‘gotcha’’ game over the New Zealand travel bubble.

Clearly I was confusing Australian leadership with that in New Zealand. We have the same old games again. So sad for all of us.
Pamela Bores, Eltham North

Over the politics
It’s essential we get to the bottom of the systemic governmental failures that led to the hotel quarantine failures. I suspect significant reform will be needed around management structures and decision-making processes in the public service (probably applicable to most Australian governments).

I am, however, really over the politics playing out around who said what when, and the ensuing witchhunts. For instance, I just do not care if Professor Brett Sutton sent an email referring to hotel quarantine arrangements in passing. I do care if he, and others like him, are distracted from their essential work in managing the pandemic.

In particular, I am becoming infuriated by the constant barrage of politically charged and disrespectful comment from federal Liberal politicians. There clearly is a role for public comment, including urging certain courses of action, but that is not what we are now seeing and hearing from Victorian federal members such as Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt.

They have both done very good work during the pandemic in their own areas of responsibility, so it’s really disappointing to see them working against the interests of their fellow Victorians by trying to destabilise the Victorian government for political gain.
Andrew Payne, Newtown

It’s a civic duty
Is it such an imposition to vote (Letters, 18/10)? I consider it a civic duty. Compulsory voting ensures resources are not wasted in mobilising the various parties’ base to vote, but go into developing and explaining policy.

The combination of compulsory and preferential voting helps to ensure that we elect governments which are more centrist. And voter suppression (which is clearly occurring in the US) is denied.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds

Putting our faith …
We are in the middle of a pandemic, possibly as critical as anything we have ever faced. There is so much about this virus that we don’t understand and when I say we, I mean the health experts, the epidemiologists and the like.

COVID-19 has the potential to wreak untold havoc if we don’t listen to these experts and heed their advice. We only need to look at England, France and other European countries, to see what can happen if we underestimate this threat.

At the moment, Victoria is successfully managing its way out of the second wave. We are doing this despite Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt and Michael O’Brien, all Liberal Party members, doing their damnedest to score political points to try and secure a Liberal victory in the next Victorian state election.

If the Premier had weakened and opened up earlier, and we hit a third wave, I have no doubt who would cop the blame.
John Cummings, Anglesea

… in the experts
Congratulations, Dan Andrews, the modelling to produce a package of restrictions to achieve a 14-day average of five infections has been unbelievably accurate.

If the modelling now shows we have to be careful lifting further restrictions over two weeks, I know whom I trust, and it’s not the armchair critics who vehemently opposed many aspects of the initial modelling.
Ralph Frank, Malvern East

I’d rather be here
The last times I saw my family this year were at two 10-person funerals, one for my father in April and one for my wife in July. All of my family live further than five kilometres away, most further than 25 kilometres.

My 83-year-old aunt lives in the US and is in fear for her life from COVID-19. Where would I rather live? In Melbourne, where despite the frustrations and difficulties we are being kept safe both now and hopefully into the future.
David Adamson, Essendon

Cast your mind back …
In Peta Credlin’s previous role as chief of staff to prime minister Tony Abbott, I wonder how she would have reacted to her ‘‘boss’’ fronting the press more than a 100 days in a row and being treated with such profound disrespect?
Andrew Dods, Ascot Vale

AND ANOTHER THING

Sporting Victorians
Melbourne Vixens win the netball, two Victorian teams in the AFL grand final and Melbourne Storm in the rugby final. Locked down but not out: Go, Victoria.
Teresa McIntosh, Keysborough

Credit:

The lockdown
This confused and confusing COVID-19 step-down plan is a sign of how it feels to be governed by bureaucrats. We might find ourselves agreeably surprised when we get back to being governed by politicians, at least we would know who to blame.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

Can someone please help explain how the Mornington Peninsula can still be classified as metropolitan Melbourne? My daughter at Red Hill has no mains water, gas or mail delivery.
Jo Olsen, Blairgowrie

To all those critics deriding Victorians as weak-spirited and submissive in our acquiescence to the strict lockdown rules: we didn’t do it because we were told to, we did it because we thought it was the right thing to do.
James Strohfeldt, Fitzroy

Politics
Stop worrying about religious ‘‘freedom’’, Christian Porter, and instead restore our faith in politicians by giving us a federal ICAC.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

If Josh Frydenberg wants to run Victoria, as his comments suggest, he could put his hand up for a state seat.
Hugh McCaig, Blackburn

New Zealand has what a lot of nations in today’s world don’t have: a genuine people’s leader in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. No wonder she got re-elected in a historic landslide for a second term.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW

Finally
This should top it all – a registered letter was posted to me from Warragul on August 28. I just received it at the Yarragon post office on October 19, some seven weeks later.
Doug Springall, Yarragon

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