Selfish anti-lockdown protesters put lives at risk

Selfish anti-lockdown protesters put lives at risk

September 6, 2020

Illustration: Michael LeunigCredit:

Once again, the actions of the few are jeopardising the lives of the many. I am sick of seeing and hearing these anti-lockdown, anti-mask people, who are so selfish, so self-centred, so look at me, that they have lost sight of the main objective of having stage four lockdown, which is to stop the COVID-19 virus from getting out of control. Do these people think they won’t catch this virus?

I am in my eighth decade on this planet. I have a wife whom I adore. I have three wonderful children, and seven lovely grandchildren. Personally, I would prefer to have a few more years before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Is that too much to ask?
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne

Song for illegal, farcical parade
The stage four restrictions have been punishing but necessary and now there is a predictable ‘‘angry shout from the fringe’’ (The Sunday Age, 6/9). As a sole trading musician, I, and my colleagues, have months of reasons to bemoan being locked down owing to the pandemic. As the writer of Reasons by John Farnham, misappropriated by the selfish, deluded marchers on Saturday, I would be happy to re-record another Australian legend’s song. ‘‘Most People Who Think, Know That You’re Crazy!’’ for their next illegal, farcical parade.
Sam See, Belgrave

More worthy causes for anger, passion
Two to three hundred people staged a demonstration in Melbourne against the wearing of masks and the restriction of movement under stage four lockdown. I feel their anger and passion is misplaced and would be better used to demonstrate against homelessness, the casualisation of the workforce and the release of refugees in detention. Issues that the pandemic has painfully exposed and which will continue to have deleterious effects on our fragile social fabric, unless we rectify them.
Nalliah Suriyakumaran, Preston

Standing up to fear and suppression
Thank God there are still a few people who can stand up to this rule of fear and suppression that the Andrews government has imposed on us.
Lesley Black, Frankston

Freedom is not the right to do as you please
How do we get it through to these COVID-19 protesters that democracy means that you can vote in elections to choose governments. It does not mean you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
Geoff Schmidt, Fitzroy North

True meaning of freedom and suppression lost
1980 does not seem that long ago, but when I look at the protests on Saturday it appears that it could have been centuries ago. The meaning of the word freedom has morphed into a different meaning that I once understood. While touring around South America in 1980, most countries were ruled by right-wing military dictatorships representing the worst cases of denial of civic rights, which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and human rights abuses. Saturday’s protesters need to study history to fully understand what freedom and suppression really mean.
Rob Park, Surrey Hills

A place for remembrance, not protest
The rabble who desecrated the forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance, by holding their protest there, need to be reminded that their freedom to protest was earned by the thousands whose service and sacrifice in war is recognised by that very forecourt. The Shrine of Remembrance is a place for remembrance, not protest.
George Mackenzie, South Yarra

Fundamental right to protest peacefully
Images of police attacking peaceful protesters in Melbourne are troubling. Reminiscent of Hong Kong in 2019. In a free society, the right to assemble and express your political views is fundamental. It should never be unsafe to protest.
Peter Fenwick, East Melbourne

THE FORUM

Lockdown extension folly
The extension of the lockdown and the ongoing closure of businesses is folly while two contributing factors to ongoing COVID-19 infections remain unaddressed. That is, the contact tracing team is insufficiently resourced, creating delays in the follow-up of new cases and thus enabling infection spread before intervention is made. Secondly, hospital and nursing home staff continue to work multiple jobs and sites, unintentionally spreading the virus.

Dan Andrews has worked non-stop for months, perhaps it is time for him to take a back seat and let others take the pressure so that in time he can provide clearer strategic direction.
Peter Cameron, Surrey Hills

Stay the course
Massachusetts and Victoria are of similar size and density and population. It is sobering to note the COVID-19 statistics for Massachusetts are 122,000 cases and more than 9100 deaths. To our fellow Australians who are enduring a hard lockdown in Victoria, I suggest that you hang in there a bit longer and listen to the health advice. Selfishly, I for one am anxious to visit family and friends in Victoria and want you safe and well.
Don Neil, Peregian Springs, Qld

Road to nowhere
The Premier’s road map for recovery, which he outlined yesterday, leads to a dead end. On the DHHS website COVID Normal will arrive only with total elimination of the virus. ‘‘When there are no new cases for 28 days and no active cases (statewide) and no outbreaks of concern in other States and Territories”. I am 81 and still in good health, but realistically have just a few active years left. I would like to meet my grandchildren only 12kilometres away but am unlikely to do that until next year at the earliest. I would like to renew friendships after six weeks of lockdown, but no. Why not a program to seriously address the situation instead of blanket lockdowns?
Peter Evans, Bentleigh East

Anger management
We now know how much longer we will have to endure lockdown and the meagre bones thrown our way to assuage our anger. Anger not at having to adopt measures to prevent a third wave and to protect our aged citizens and healthcare workers who appear to be bearing the brunt of coronavirus. Anger at the lack of accountability and paternalism of the Premier, his ministers and the bureaucrats who mismanaged us into the second wave. Anger at the absence of information about the parameters of models to predict our fate, by medical experts with well remunerated positions and meaningful tasks that cushion them from the four grey walks of apathy, despair, meaninglessness and financial despair. It’s not enough to make decisions in the context of a deadly virus but the modelling should account for the enormous detrimental impact on mental health, welfare and trust, all being systematically eroded.
Ramesh Rajan, Canterbury

Quite the role model
Among other former American presidents; Washington, Grant, Truman, Eisenhower, H.W. Bush and Kennedy, it can be said they all sacrificed for their country. By President Trump’s definition they were all ‘‘suckers’’ to have served in uniform.

When as an aspirant to be president of the US, Donald Trump was asked what sacrifices he had made for his country. He replied: ‘‘I built buildings.’’ A builder of casinos? Quite a role model.
Ken Feldman, Sandringham

Missing connection
What have I missed here? To listen to the federal government and a host of commentators, we can’t begin on an economic recovery until the borders are open. Maybe our economy is largely dependent upon the tourism industry but all the other industries don’t necessarily require open borders. Distribution, transport, retail and manufacturing are all capable of rebounding without open borders. Even hospitality can make great strides without interstate tourists. So why isn’t the government putting its efforts into stimulating the areas it can influence rather than expending energy with little return?
Rob Smith, Rye

Abbott will make it worse
It is just as well that Tony Abbott is not negotiating trade agreements on behalf of the Chinese government. Can you imagine the apoplectic howls from the ‘‘China is very, very bad’’ lobby if such were the case. Fortunately, our former prime minister has been hired to betray the interests of his country in the service of the UK. We can rest assured that this is the ‘‘right’’ kind of foreign influence, and we should not worry.

Tony has no experience in trade matters and can be relied upon to bring these manifest skills to bear in assisting the UK. We can be confident that ‘‘Our Tony’’ will only make a bad situation worse.
Ken Richards, Elwood

Team penalty
A suggestion to stop off-field AFL problems, as demonstrated by the two Richmond players, is that the suspension would apply to both the player and the team. If a player gets a three-week suspension they don’t play for those three weeks but the team loses a player for the same three weeks and can put only 17 players on the ground.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

Courageous truth-telling
Alan Davies should be praised and respected for his courageous truth-telling about his abusive childhood in his memoir (‘‘The darkness that haunts Alan Davies’’, 5/9). Survivors of abuse like his deserve sensitivity and kindness in the face of their revelations and their choice of how to reveal them. The interviewer, however, was judgmental and insensitive considering his reticence to speak about the abuse. As we agitate for legislative change to give victims their voice in Victoria, I hope everyone can learn to listen respectfully and non-judgmentally to those who come forward about their abuse in whatever form they choose.
Amber McQueen, East Brunswick

Outdated model
Is the consumer model the only one possible while we emerge from the pandemic? Building pyramids seemed to work in ancient Egypt but wouldn’t work so well today. Something more relevant such as rolling out a nationwide program of tree planting would not only provide employment on a large scale but also prove of great benefit to the environment. Among other things, it would contribute to reducing carbon emissions and improve air quality, help restore habitat and upgrade the water table. It has become obvious that the consumer model is short-sighted and the continuation with business as usual will perpetuate global warming. This is a great opportunity to rethink what is happening and modify policies that are failing. The problem is that if the federal government doesn’t have policies to modify, we are stuck until those in power can use reason, science and imagination to extract us from this predicament.
Chris Durie, Hawthorn East

Agency plan applauded
I commend the Morrison government’s plan (‘‘New federal agency mooted for emergencies’’, 6/9). We can learn so much from the communication and planning problems that bushfires and pandemics have exposed. It’s crucially important to have a well co-ordinated agency so that all Commonwealth resources could be quickly mobilised. The new body will have to be well-funded and properly resourced with ready-to-go action plans. My main concern is that it’s proposed to be under the Department of Home Affairs. As Professor Blaxland advises, it should not be ‘‘hidden within Home Affairs’’. The track records of the department secretary and Minister raise concerns about their capacity for the flexibility and adaptability that national emergencies demand.
Fr Kevin Burke, Sandringham

Focus on jobs for all
With reference to David Crowe’s piece (‘‘Business urges $10 billion in tax cuts to spur investment’’, 5/9), higher incomes benefiting tax cuts are the last thing we need to boost our economic recovery. Direct massive but targeted government investment in a ‘‘Jobs for All Guarantee’’ program is what’s needed. This can be achieved through deficit financing. Australia as a sovereign nation and issuer of its own currency can and must through the government-controlled Federal Treasury take the jobs creating investment initiative, with or without the issuance of treasury notes or bonds. There is a huge resource capacity waiting to be activated in the post-COVID economy and the focus should be on the creation of well-paying jobs in private industry and public enterprises.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

Revoke Gold Pass
Having accepted appointment as an agent of a foreign government to lobby on its behalf, Tony Abbott’s entitlement to a Life Gold Pass (free unlimited travel); an office and two office staff for life; and the diplomatic status of his Australian passport; should all be revoked.
Merv Keehn, South Melbourne

Reduce the lag
Ask any control systems engineer what is one of the hardest tasks to control on a project and they will tell you it is lag (between action and reaction). The system of PCR testing for COVID-19 has too much lag. There are several days of an infectious period before symptoms appear. These symptomatic people might leave it a few more days to get tested.

Non-symptomatic people won’t know to get tested until they become a case of contact tracing to someone who has become symptomatic from being infected by the original person. This may take weeks. Imagine the unintended spread during this time.

The easiest solution is to reduce the lag. Are any government bodies looking at rapid, at-home, relatively cheap antigen testing? This could be a good adjunct to PCR testing. This will reduce lag, catch the non-symptomatic people and give us half a chance of maintaining COVID Normal.
Lou Piscopo, Ascot Vale

AND ANOTHER THING …

Credit:

Coronavirus
Stay the course, Dan. The grateful majority are with you.
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Je suis Moe. Masks on everyone.
Andrew Smith, Leongatha

Protesters
If those protesting COVID-19 lockdowns as a civil liberty issue become infected will they refuse medical or hospital treatment?
Mary Cole, Richmond

For those protesting the restrictions you can always leave, oh that’s right, you can’t, no one wants us because you can’t stick to the rules.
Mary Wise, Ringwood

Tony Abbott
Didn’t it occur to the Tories that if Abbott was such an asset, why nobody else had snapped him up?
Ralph Frank, Malvern East

Tony Abbott heads to the UK as an unpaid adviser to the UK Board of Trade. If he’s so desperate to keep busy perhaps he could have stayed here and volunteered delivering parcels for Australia Post.
Sharon Allan, Castlemaine

That well-known saying that ‘‘you get what you pay for’’ is proved by Abbott’s appointment.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

Hard to know which is more misguided: Boris Johnson’s ringing endorsement of Abbott’s new role, or Scott Morrison’s claim that it could benefit Australia.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Now that Abbott is returning to Australia, perhaps he could serve his 14-day quarantine on Nauru or Christmas Island.
Stephen Dinham, Metung

Politics
National cabinet transparency? We can see through that.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

Australia cannot afford tax cuts, it is just Scott Morrison attempting to buy the 2022 election.
Scott Ramsay, Strathdale

Finally
I really hope the people of the US realise there is one impelling reason not to return Trump to the presidency: China.
Shane Gunn, Heathcote Junction

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