Attacks on staff dedicated to helping us are shocking

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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HEALTH WORKERS

Attacks on staff dedicated to helping us are shocking

I picked my daughter up from her work on Thursday night. Hospital management had warned that it was not safe for anyone who could be identified as a health worker to walk to the station or catch public transport, given that “protesters” had spat at, and abused, other employees.

My daughter is an ICU nurse at a city hospital. Ironically, she had recently returned from working in Vancouver and spoke of the noisy and grateful “thank yous” to first responders, with people using saucepans, musical instruments and fire crackers, from the street and balconies of apartments every night.

I am appalled and ashamed that we have people who would target our first responders and healthcare workers in such a manner at a time when they are helping us through such dire times. They ask for no recognition but certainly do not expect such contemptible behaviour.
Andrew Sloane, Vermont

Little social justice for those who need it most

I was incensed to read the latest exploits of the truly selfish, and ignorant, protesters which have forced the temporary closure of a community clinic and a city vaccination centre. They have no right to interfere with people who choose to be vaccinated, nor to attack the staff who are just trying to do their job under difficult circumstances.

It is truly reprehensible that a centre that provides medical assistance, including testing and vaccination, for the homeless, has been affected in this way. These people’s lives are tough enough without being denied access to medical care which they trust and need. The protesters bang on about social justice and freedom, then deliberately deny it to those who need it most. As a former nurse, I am appalled at the treatment of medical staff, and the trampling of the socially disadvantaged. Any further comment from me is unprintable but I hope those responsible for these latest heinous acts receive the full force of the law.
Janet Thomas, Armadale

How can spitting on someone ever be justified?

Daniel Andrews asks: “Why would you, as I’m told, be spitting on people who are doing that sort of work?” But that falls short of a more fundamental and disturbing question: “Why would you be spitting on people full stop?” Dehumanising is the beginning of the end of civilised society.
Larry Hermann, South Yarra

This is not the Australia I have come to love

I came to Australia as a child of five. My parents made the correct decision to escape the tyranny of a military coup in my birth country. Yes, Australia was the country of the free. And they were correct. However, I was devastated to read that staff at a community organisation, vaccinating those less fortunate, have been spat on and verbally abused. These protesters call themselves freedom fighters. You have to be kidding. This is not the Australia I have known for more than 60 years. They should face the full force of the law.
Jim Valle, Malmsbury

My right to stop you from being vaccinated

No one is forcing anti-vaxxers to be vaccinated. Yet they spit on and intimidate health workers because they do not want those of us who want to receive the vaccine to do so. It seems like double standards to me.
Rob Smith, Rye

One day these people will need medical care

I suppose those brainless idiots who carried out the obscene, disgusting attacks on health workers will expect to be cared for by those same workers when, almost certainly, the day comes when they need that care. I am beyond outraged.
Wendy Batros, Templestowe

The double dream of a health worker

I am a proud Doggies supporter and an even prouder healthcare worker. In 2016, daring to dream meant a win I had never imagined would happen in my life. Today, it means so much more – a COVID-19 free world. A Doggies win, well that would be the cherry on top.
Amy McKimm, Prahran

THE FORUM

Yet more cruelty to…

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to give three members of the Murugappan family, but not the youngest child, 12-month bridging visas (The Age, 24/9) – which means they cannot leave Perth and head home to Biloela – is a new low for the government. It can only be described as calculated cruelty. I hope Mr Hawke and other members of the government can find a way to assuage their consciences and sleep at night. I could not.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

…to the Biloela family

This heartless decision towards the Murugappan family typifies the cat and mouse policy shown by the Morrison government towards asylum seekers. It means that little Tharni is being used as a hostage by the government to thwart the overwhelming support for their return to the Queensland town.

The more than 500,000 Australians who have signed petitions supporting “Back to Biloela” are asking for more humanitarian treatment for one family. Many Australians are asking for a total rethink about our asylum policies.
Gwenda Davey, Burwood East

Focus on human rights

My message for the moronic, selfish protesters: the limits to your personal freedom are minuscule compared to that of innocent refugees who have been denied freedom for more than eight years. Yes, many are locked up right here in the middle of Melbourne. It seems you do not care about human rights, just what you perceive to be your rights.
Jenny Leahy, Brunswick East

Equality of vaccination

The World Health Organisation has called for a moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine boosters until 10per cent of people in every country have been vaccinated.

Instead of accepting the booster program (The Age, 24/9), Australian people and politicians should pressure the government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to implement a moratorium policy along the lines suggested by WHO. Individuals could easily refuse booster shots and publicise the motivation of their decision.
Mirna Cicioni, Brunswick East

Open up, when it’s safe

Opening up businesses before infectious diseases experts are happy to do so is unwise. A well-functioning economy requires consumers to buy goods and services. The purchasing power of those who have died from COVID-19 is zero.
Susan Nisbet, Caulfield North

The burning question

I was unable to get a prescription filled at my local chemist yesterday because it was closed for a public holiday. Why were shops closed in Victoria for a football match which will take place today on the other side of the country?
Peter Kay, Carlton North

Diverging policies

It is unfortunate that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (The Age, 24/9) did not get the memo from her team that Scott Morrison has done almost all in his power to obfuscate, delay and mislead any attempts to address climate change for the past decade.

In the same issue of The Age, Josh Frydenberg has finally admitted that Australia will be “left behind” economically if we do not take action to transition to a clean economy by 2050.

In contrast, Barnaby Joyce continues his rhetoric that the Nationals will have the final say on net zero emissions, while Angus Taylor continues to fund gas projects with the potential to pollute artesian water supplies, and increase carbon dioxide and methane emissions against the advice of scientists, unions and business groups. Do any of these people talk to each other or even have a coherent plan? Recent news suggests not.
David Kennedy, Balwyn North

It’s 2050, and it’s too late

Well done to the Treasurer on backing net zero by 2050. I am relieved he is providing leadership on this issue and hope he can bring his recalcitrant allies in the National Party along with him. Sadly, just as he catches up, the climate movement has moved on.

As the Climate Council explains in its 2021 Aim High Go Fast report, 2050 is way too late for the world to avoid catastrophic climate change. For Australia, the council advocates 75per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2035. I would sleep better if Australia would at least adopt a 2030 target similar to our European and American counterparts, thus avoiding the disparagement of the rest of the world, shunning by our trading partners and ire of the island nations to the north of us that are fast going underwater.
Lynn Frankes, Kew

Clarifying the cost

The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has commissioned the artist Lindy Lee to create a sculpture for its gardens and will pay $14million for it (The Age, 23/9). Could the NGA inform us of the breakdown of this payment? It surely seems overblown for a metal artwork. Most artists in Australia are appalled.
Juan Davila, Malvern

One small step forward

The Marylebone Cricket Club has officially amended the laws of the game by replacing “batsman” and “batsmen” with the gender-neutral “batter” and “batters” (The Age, 24/9). This is a great move. But a bigger and more meaningful change – for all sports, not just cricket – would be to either add “men” to one code or refer to both as just cricket, football, hockey etc. We are not the “second sex”.
Maxine Hardinge, Clunes

Generous MTC funding

I admire Brett Sheehy’s work as artistic director of Melbourne Theatre Company – and understand his frustration about the impact of the pandemic on MTC (Arts, 20/9). But I do not think he is correct to say, “It was months into the pandemic before any state or federal arts minister said it was important to protect arts and culture”. There have been plenty of such statements.

More importantly, there has been action. The Morrison government’s COVID-specific support for the arts and entertainment sector stands at $475 million.

No company has been more strongly supported than the MTC. As well as its regular funding from the Australia Council and Creative Victoria funding ($2.8million a year), it received $4.3million under JobKeeper, and a $1.1million RISE grant. Most recently, it was awarded a $5million grant under the government’s Sustainability Fund – announced one week before Mr Sheehy’s public lament about inadequate support from arts ministers.
Paul Fletcher, commonwealth Arts Minister

The wealthy get more

I must have been away the day it was explained: can someone tell me why, when we are facing astronomical intergenerational debt, we are not recovering JobKeeper subsidies from companies that did not need them or why we are giving tax cuts to individuals who do not need them? Yet a woeful pittance is grudgingly distributed to the most disadvantaged among us.
Kevin Moloney, Williamstown

Why the need for subs?

What function do the submarines serve? Is it as weapons in a potential war against China? Is it as a symbol of our fealty to our US overlord? Is it as an augmentation of an array of weaponry to deter China from making war against the US and its allies? We just hear it as a strengthening of our “security”, without any further explanation.
Doug Dew, Aspendale

When risk doesn’t count

What’s happened to the Coalition’s mantra of sovereign risk on about anything over the past few years with the surrender of our defence to the United States?
Keith Beamish, Canterbury

What’s Setka proposing?

CFMEU secretary John Setka has been reported as saying that anyone involved in the protest “may as well go pick fruit in Mildura somewhere because they will not be working in our industry” (The Age, 23/9). Does this statement support the creation of a black list? The use of blacklists by construction companies has led to court action by trade unions, which the unions involved have won.
Peter Roche, Carlton

AND ANOTHER THING

Grand final

Dees and Bulldogs, this crowd’s on your side.
Wendy John, Malvern

Long may the tradition continue. Melbourne’s premiership drought.
Phil Lipshut, Elsternwick

Judging by The Age’s coverage, anyone would think there was only one team playing. I’m not a football fan but go the Doggies.
Jennifer Mansfield, Melbourne

After what our great city has put up with this week, all I can say about the grand final is “Go Victoria”.
Teresa McIntosh, Keysborough

Politics

Another expensive and unnecessary cruelty to the Murugappan family. Shame on this government.
Margaret Bryant, Northcote

Will Labor get the Murugappan family back to Biloela if it wins the election?
Dinah Atkinson, Tyabb

What the heck has China done to deserve all this beating of war drums and warlike vitriol?
Andrew Wood, Moonee Ponds

The Murdoch press changes its approach to climate change and, surprise, Coalition MPs talk about the need to meet emission targets.
Anthony Arthurson, Ringwood

Pelosi says Australia is ″⁣leading the way″⁣ on climate action (24/4). Clearly she read the wrong briefing notes.
Pam Sandon, Sandhurst

I’m sure the world remembers how France treats its friends. Maybe France needs to be reminded of the Rainbow Warrior.
Rod Nash, West Melbourne

Victoria

Could anti-vaxxers please wear an identifying armband so the rest of us can avoid them?
Diana Taylor, Inverloch

Forget rubber bullets and capsicum spray. Equip the police with dart guns full of vaccine.
Thomas Nathan, Canterbury

The earthquake mirroring our COVID-19 fault lines. Both alarming.
Robyn Hewitt, Carlton North

Our new number plates: “Victoria, the epicentre of stupidity”.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill

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