Home quarantine, properly managed, would be a cheaper and safer alternative than hotel quarantine. The Singapore model could readily be adopted and involves on-site as well as electronic compliance checks together with the requirement to wear a monitoring device. Adoption of home quarantine in Australia would allow vaccinated citizens to travel to ″safe″ countries for business, family reunions and even holidays.
There would be many advantages to increasing access to international travel, such as encouraging take-up of vaccination, increasing employment in the airline and travel industry, and the long-awaited opportunity to see family living outside Australia.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time and we cannot afford to continue to cocoon ourselves from the world.
Alex Marshall, Camberwell
This can be done safely
I can understand the reluctance of the government to put COVID-infected people in a plane with healthy passengers without adequate preparation. But to leave seriously ill Australians in a country that has a COVID crisis is unacceptable.
With careful preparation for transport and a well-organised quarantine system, it should be possible to get the COVID-infected people back to Australia without compromising our basically-COVID-free status. It would be costly but it could be done safely.
The federal government needs to make a greater effort to look after Australian citizens.
Peter Hogan, Fitzroy North
Time to re-examine our quarantine
Now that the Centres for Disease Control has found that fully vaccinated people have practically no risk of serious disease and only a minuscule risk of spreading the disease to others, shouldn’t we be re-examining the ill-managed and largely unsuccessful compulsory quarantine system that seems to have been a costly subsidy to poorly run hotels?
Jaque Grinberg, Oakleigh
Recently I had the unfortunate experience of waiting for several hours at the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department, which was, unsurprisingly, full of people with varying degrees of serious injury. Some had blood on their clothing; some were vomiting, crying, howling and yelling.
There was a large television broadcasting a crime program, which thankfully had been silenced. For several hours it continually broadcast re-enactments of murders and rapes, complete with vision of male hands holding axes and knives, pools of blood, and silhouettes of men stalking women and stabbing them repeatedly.
My injured relative was horrified, and it was hard to establish whether it was the television content making us both feel nauseous or the general situation.
The doctors and nurses at RMH were and are fabulous, and it’s obvious they work hard with insufficient resources. But, in my view, this type of television content is completely unacceptable anywhere (that’s not a private home).
Organisations need to be responsible for television content they inflict on audiences that are unable to refuse it and they should ensure it’s not offensive or inappropriate in the circumstances. If they don’t have the resources to do this, the television needs to go.
Amelia Tucker, Northcote
I’m fine with this
So, the Victorian government is increasing traffic fines by 10 per cent? Having just spent a couple of hours on the road around Melbourne, I can only say bring it on. The level of speeding, weaving, tailgating, mobile phone use, red light running, intersection blocking and just plain dangerous driving is higher than I have ever seen before.
Malcolm Fraser, Oakleigh South
I’d vote for this
Policy tips for the ALP: abolish negative gearing, franking credits and fuel subsidies to miners as the unaffordable and damaging sops they are. Establish a robust ICAC and increase funding to the ABC, state schools and universities. Promise not to waste precious funds on ministerial whims. Legislate to involve our Indigenous people in their own determination and to reduce carbon emissions. Improve conditions and wages for workers.
That’d be a start.
Bill Burns, Bendigo
This is a regressive tax
I live in regional Victoria and commute a long distance to my middle-income work. My previous car before my electric vehicle was a 10-year-old Falcon.
It may be a convenient fiction that anyone making a personal commitment to low-carbon transport can easily afford it. I carefully did the numbers on an eight-year commitment to an EV.
In state stamp duty and federal luxury tax, I have already paid about $7600 more than I would have paid ordinarily for my petrol car.
The Victorian stamp duty part was $3900, about $3000 more than the stamp duty on my usual petrol vehicle purchase. Good thing there was a “green car concession”.
It is worth noting I have already paid about six years of your proposed EV road users tax up front in the extra stamp duty. Heavy transport such as a B-double can cause, per kilometre travelled, 20,000 times the road wear and tear that a family car does and yet trucks pay half the car excise on their diesel. Go figure.
Please have another look at the numbers. This is a regressive tax based on ideological fiction.
Philip Rebbechi, Warragul
Call it what it is
I am offended that the beautiful language of motherhood to describe one of the most special and sacred acts of love from mother to baby, breastfeeding, is apparently no longer acceptable.
To “chestfeed human milk” you need to be a woman with breasts and mother’s milk in those breasts. Let’s just call it what it is: Breastfeeding.
Monique Patte, Ferntree Gully
Will it flow through?
While I welcome the expectation of greater federal government support for the provision of decent aged care, like your cartoonist Matt Golding I despair at the possibility that this extra spending will lead to greater profits rather than the improved care it should be aimed at providing.
The first thing we need is better staffing ratios along with better pay structures and the last thing we need is more Maseratis in the executive car parks.
David Rabl, Ocean Grove
Not a good example
Your correspondent (“Labor is doomed to lose the federal election”, Letters, 15/5) fears that Anthony Albanese and Labor are not doing enough to highlight the many failings of the Coalition. He uses Tony Abbott as an example of an effective “leader” putting pressure on an incumbent government.
All true enough. However leadership in opposition is not the same as leadership in office as Tony Abbott so pointedly showed.
There are plenty of examples of effective politicians seeking power who fail miserably when in power. Of course it would be great to have an aggressive and inspiring Labor leader, commanding the headlines, embarrassing the Coalition at every turn and winning all the polls. But not if it is all a sham, a facade that hides vacuity and vanity.
Mr Albanese may not be the messiah but also he is not a naughty boy. He comes across as an honest and sincere politician with good values and genuine concern for the future of the country.
In this regard he is similar to Joe Biden, who many wrote off. Does Mr Albanese have the capacity to be a good leader in office? That is the key question that Australians should be asking.
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
A poor choice of words
I am disappointed at your inflammatory and irresponsible headline “Australians turfed off repatriation flight” (The Age, 15/5). Requiring passengers to have a COVID-19 test before boarding implies that being COVID-free was a condition precedent to returning to Australia.
We’ve seen that our quarantine procedures have not been 100 per cent effective at containing the spread of the virus.
I’m not a fan of Scott Morrison, but I appreciate the effort that is required to balance the highly publicised rights of a small number of citizens who are stuck in India and the safety of the much larger Australian population.
Jillian Staton, Tarwin Lower
A watertight case
Angela Jackson presents a watertight case (“Universities left out in the cold, again”, Comment, The Age, 15/5).
It’s becoming increasingly impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Morrison government either has an absolute blind spot with regard to our universities or deliberately punishes them for some perceived failing. It went out of its way during the height of the pandemic to ensure university workers were locked out of the JobKeeper program.
Jackson’s multiple facts and figures are alarming, from 20 per cent loss of jobs in nine months to government funding dropping from 80 per cent of their income in 1989 to barely 40 per cent now.
Universities and state governments have practical proposals to facilitate the safe return of international students but the federal government is resistant. Why kill the goose that lays so many golden eggs?
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
He’ll need more than wind
Anthony Albanese’s metaphor that he is going to be kicking with the wind in the last quarter is all very well if he is stuck on the interchange bench and not getting a run (“Labor’s small-target plan nearing use-by date”, The Sunday Age, 16/5).
There was so much more that could have been done in his reply speech from tackling quarantine to climate change to taking a leaf from New Zealand on negative gearing.
He will need to be kicking with a gale to catch up to the Coalition.
Alan Inchley, Frankston
There’s another threat
Miki Perkins (“Seed capital required to save plants on the brink”, The Age, 14/5) highlights threats to the survival of 50 endangered native plants and actions to stop their continued decline.
One important threat not mentioned is the introduction of exotic plant pathogens to Australia. In the article, the picture of the smooth scrub turpentine apparently shows leaves of the turpentine plant affected by the myrtle rust disease. This potentially devastating plant disease evaded plant biosecurity and was first detected in Australia in 2010, where it now threatens the survival of many native plants, including the turpentine.
Plant biosecurity aims to restrict such introductions, but it, like human biosecurity, can be compromised by unregulated globalisation.
Bill Washington, Camberwell
Silence speaks volumes
The Morrison government quietly passed a law through Parliament last week that will make it legal for it to detain refugees and others indefinitely.
The Labor Party simply waved this through, too frightened to be seen as opposing the Morrison ″tough on border control″ policies.
That there has been no public outcry against this law is indicative of how brainwashed the Australian people have become.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
So, now we care?
This Baby Boomer finds it interesting that so many of us are now vocal about the problems in aged care.
The problems are not new, they have been there for some time. They are predominantly about money. The Baby Boomers cared more about paying less tax than about funding aged care and other social services properly.
Now that the Boomers are entering aged care in numbers there is considerable outcry about improving conditions. Coincidence? I think not.
Certainly the impact of COVID-19 has highlighted issues, but the most selfish generation the world has ever seen seems to be saying, “Hang on, that’s not good enough for me!“
Chris Lamb, Williamstown
I was very excited to read this weekend that Wales is set to launch a pilot universal basic income system to tackle its poverty and health inequalities.
From the endeavours of small countries big changes in welfare systems may well occur around the world – and in Australia especially.
Carolyn Reynolds, Lake Boga
AND ANOTHER THING
Josh Frydenberg’s budget is “Labor-lite”, Anthony Albanese’s reply was “Liberal-lite” (“Libs tip early poll after budget bounce”, 16/5).
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell
Heartbreaking to have to remain in India after testing positive, but it would be totally irresponsible to risk infecting other passengers. Sounds like a case for running a few flights of all-COVID-positive passengers.
Marsha Merory, Ivanhoe East
How many of the 70 Australians thrown off Saturday’s repatriation flight from India would have been able to fly home if it had left a week ago?
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
Department of Words
What next? Will cheststroke be the next swimming discipline?
Jason Apostolou, St Kilda
I am determined to keep achest of the diktats of linguistic inclusiveness.
Stephen Higgs, She Oaks
Cyclists will now be riding “two achest”.
Graham Cadd, Dromana
I must not forget to buy two chicken chests at the market tomorrow.
Nadia Wright, Middle Park
Inquire into this …
There needs to be a royal commission into government responses to royal commissions.
Michael Langford, Ivanhoe
Sainters, you won’t fill the oval down the end of my street, let alone an AFL grand final arena kicking 5.17.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill
In praise of silent comfort
Support dog, Lucy Labrador, is a fine example to we people of the silent comfort of “just being there” in times of trauma (“Lucy – what’s not to love about her?“, Naked City, The Age, 15/5).
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff
The establishment of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission is a major step along the road to cultural restoration, public awareness and institutional reform. Dare we even hope for a treaty?
Jim McLeod, Sale
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