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Australia is suffering from a lack of leaders
Winston Churchill, the great British prime minister, inspired his people to great heights and resilience during the depths of WWII. Our Prime Minister cannot even persuade his people to get vaccinated against a deadly disease.
The key factor is leadership. Australia does not have it. Neither of the two main party leaders, Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, can articulate a vision or have the persuasive capacity to take Australia forward.
Neither leader has demonstrated true commitment to the serious issues facing us – environmental degradation, corruption, homelessness, increasing gaps between the poor and the rich and how to reinvigorate our manufacturing industry so it’s the basis of our economy.
Australia needs an effective leader who will rise above the petty power play and influence of lobbyists. One who can unite people for the greater good of the country.
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene
Out here, I have a real voting choice
Scott Morrison’s lack of accountability and Anthony Albanese’s capitulations make me happy to be a constituent of Indi and I rejoice at having a real voting choice in Helen Haines.
I am certain that voters in electorates fielding fabulous independent candidates of the calibre of Helen and Zali Steggall join with me in celebration.
Graeme Rose, Stanley
A depressing view of the political environment
David Crowe (“Ruthless turn that Albanese had to make”, Comment, 30/7) presents a depressing view of the political environment. Any hope that the COVID crisis might be a catalyst for the creation of a better, fairer Australian society is fading. Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese apparently accept that the next election will not be a contest of ideas and relevant policies.
An election win will be an Orwellian prize for the slickest campaign, largely driven by focus group and marginal electorate analyses and Scott Morrison will ensure that fear, mendacity and venality are major elements.
Unless the Labor Party can rediscover its ticker and skills to sell demonstrably good policies the future looks bleak. The best hope then would be a groundswell of support for competent independent or Green candidates, or a drastic clean out of major parties. Morrison’s rise has been tragic – the worst possible leader for the times. Albanese has been disappointing and inspirational alternatives in either party are hard to identify.
Accordingly, at home we risk a continued dive to an increasingly unequal, divided, uneasy society. Internationally, our emerging reputation as a selfish, sycophantic global citizen could stick.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
I sympathise with Labor’s dilemma
As the Australian voter puts self-interest number one on the voting ticket, I sympathise with the Labor Party’s election platform dilemma.
As Gough Whitlam observed, “certainly, the impotent are pure”.
Peter McGill, Lancefield
Albanese made the right choice
As someone who voted Liberal in the last election, I believe Anthony Albanese made the right choice by choosing pragmatism over idealism when framing the Labor Party’s policy agenda for the next campaign.
Some of your recent correspondents need to accept the reality that without the power an election victory brings, none of the hopes they have for the future will be realised. Indeed, they must accept that without the changes the Opposition Leader has made to the ALP’s platform, the Coalition they detest so much will almost certainly prevail yet again.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
Scott Morrison has said that lockdowns will become “a thing of the past” once Australia reaches 70 to 80 per cent vaccination. He may regret setting up that expectation.
Vaccination will be a significant contributor towards achieving something resembling pre-COVID normality. However, there’s enough left in this virus for unexpected twists and turns to emerge if we don’t get a move on with the rate of vaccination.
Our expectations have so far been dealt a blow due to the Prime Minister’s lack of urgency, which has resulted in the embarrassing underperformance of the federal vaccination rollout compared to other OECD nations.
The population could well do without further disappointment if vaccination does not live up to being the silver bullet that makes lockdowns “a thing of the past”.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South
Crunching the numbers
The following numbers show the effect of the NSW lockdown (lite and unclear) compared to Victoria’s approach.
For the last 12 consecutive days compared to the same day the previous week, NSW daily COVID cases have increased (usually by more than 50 per cent). For the last 10 of those days Victoria’s COVID cases have decreased compared to the same day the previous week.
Yesterday, NSW daily positive cases were 207 compared with 145 the previous Monday. For the same two days, Victoria’s were four and two. If this escalating trend continues for the next 10 days NSW is in trouble.
The NSW lockdown needs to be tightened now instead of promising construction they can open up in a week’s time.
Brian Horswell, Point Cook
I learnt something, too
I would like to wholeheartedly endorse everything Anja Davidson (“Joy of remote learning”, Letters, 31/7) said regarding her insight into her granddaughter’s home-schooling experience.
While I was home-schooling my granddaughter during our recent lockdown I also found it to be a wonderful opportunity to gain an insight into the incredible job our teachers are doing under such difficult circumstances.
I was extremely impressed to see how caring and inclusive my granddaughter’s grade 1 teacher at our local state school is with her class. She carefully explained the day’s learning tasks to her students during the morning class online and followed up with them in the afternoon.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the incredible job our teachers have been doing during lockdown could be acknowledged somehow.
Kari Henriksen, Surrey Hills
Why is duck hunting …
Kerrie Allen’s article about the curious case of government-funded recreational hunting, (“Who calls the shots on duck hunting?”, Comment, 2/8) left me astounded. She writes that the state government has forked out more than $65 million since 2014 in taxpayer funds for an activity in which 1 per cent of the population is engaged. Now the plan is to spend an additional $5.3 million to promote an increase in recreational hunting.
What a massive waste of money, as well as a horrendous legacy of death and destruction of harmless, intelligent, beautiful birds. How is it this activity is even legal, let alone financially subsidised?
Would someone please add this topic for a vote by State Parliament? If 80 per cent of the population is, as reported, opposed to duck hunting, surely our representatives will call a halt to this despicable activity.
Joyce Butcher, Williamstown
… still being encouraged?
For many years I have written to Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers, asking why duck shooting is still encouraged in Victoria with generous amounts of taxpayer money when most other states have banned it (“Who calls the shots on duck hunting?”, 2/8).
I am still waiting for a reply.
Charles Davis, Hawthorn
I agree with your editorial “Through-the-roof home prices nothing short of a crisis” (The Age, 2/8). An alarming divide continues to rapidly develop between housing haves and have-nots with explosive equity and social repercussions and the Australian Council of Social Service is correct when it says that “both major parties now back regressive tax breaks for housing”.
I welcome Liberal MP Jason Falinski’s statement that “this represents an urgent moral call for action by governments of all levels”.
The federal government could initiate a national summit and provide incentives for state governments to make obvious reforms such as replacing stamp duty with land tax and increasing supply.
For such a prosperous country the situation of social housing is a shameful embarrassment on our national integrity. Come election time, though, I suspect it’ll be more about the con than convincing voters with genuine reform policies.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
Barriers to support
Analysis of the equity and effectiveness of COVID-19 support measures provided by government and permitted to individuals in the community during lockdowns should be an ongoing priority (“Micro-businesses fall through cracks of COVID-19 support”, 2/8).
The first pandemic in 100 years is bound to result in many and varied examples of “falling through the cracks”, when it comes to provision of support and care, both financial support from government and personal support among individuals.
Prevention of any visitors at all to private homes may be necessary at the start of an outbreak, but it does significantly reduce the level of support each of us is able to give where it is most needed, with more long-term damage to repair the longer that support cannot be provided.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South
Turn it down, please
Could Channel Seven please refrain from playing artificial crowd noise during Olympic events? Not only is the volume so high, at times it is almost impossible to hear the commentators, but more importantly it would give us all the salient experience of the real atmosphere of these Games.
Ros de Bruin, Balwyn
The point of prayer
I think your correspondent has missed the point (“Pointlessness of prayer”, Letters, 30/7). Prayer is not about appealing to a fictional being in the sky, it is about slowing down and reflecting on our actions.
As C.S. Lewis states, prayer does not change God, but it changes us. With prayer and reflection, human beings can act justly and compassionately and Parliament can act with reason and respect.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill
Well done, all of you
While our medal winners justifiably receive massive plaudits from the media and spectators, a shout out to all our swimmers and other athletes who didn’t make the dais is fitting. Well done for the similarly tremendous commitment and effort to fully realise your abilities.
We couch potatoes salute you all.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick
It’s not comparable
Institute of Public Affairs Adjunct Fellow Matthew Lesh wanting the country to reopen even though people will still get sick and die continues the IPA’s tradition of prioritising profit over people (“Britain is now living with COVID and Australia must too”, online, The Age, 2/8).
During pandemics we listen to epidemiologists, not free-market libertarian ideologues from the Institute of Public Affairs. I fail to see the column’s relevance to Australia, given that 70 per cent of the UK is fully vaccinated while only 15 per cent of Australia is.
Fabio Scalia, St Kilda
I am currently in London – thankfully – after an elaborate process of procuring a travel exemption, and I’m marvelling at the stringent measures in place prior to, and during, my Singapore Airlines flight out of Australia.
Having become accustomed to the careful Australian approach to public health and safety during the pandemic, it has been quite challenging to consider mingling with UK citizens, who seem to have embraced the abandonment of restrictions since “Freedom Day” with great gusto.
There are very few masks to be seen, commuters travel shoulder to shoulder on public transport, there’s no evidence of social distancing elsewhere, and no requirement for check-ins with QR codes. If you didn’t pay attention to the news, you might think that the threat of COVID doesn’t exist here.
Amid this slight consternation, though, it’s been a relief to open a newspaper and not find a COVID-related article on almost every page.
Patsy Sanaghan, London, England
It’s about more than grades
As a state secondary teacher and parent of a year 8 student I completely agree with Claire Lock (“Please help. We’re struggling to cope with it all”, Education, 2/8).
The state system has completely failed to understand the profound psychological impact the five lockdowns, and the threat of more, have had on students (and staff).
There seems to be a belief that if students get good marks then all the pain will go away and all will be right.
A systematic whole-student approach is needed that sees students not as objects defined by grades but humans with needs who have suffered. Surly duty of care should incorporate such a notion.
Rohan Wightman, McKenzie Hill
A missed opportunity
I have just completed the census form online. One question was to ask how many cars were on the property on the night nominated.
Surely, there is a missed opportunity here. Why would the question not be asked as to whether such cars are internal combustion, hybrid or electric vehicles?
One can see reasons for knowing this statistic, such as planning charging stations, particularly on highways, and what support potential owners should be provided to encourage uptake of electric vehicles.
Ralph Lewis, Canterbury
The vaccine rollout
Scott Morrison talks about a “gold medal run to get everyone vaccinated”. Did we even make it to the Games?
Hans Paas, Castlemaine
How good is Australia – fourth on the Olympic medal table and third last on the global COVID vaccination chart.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
What a contrast between the grace and humility of the Australian athletes and the boorish and insufferable crowing of the TV commentators.
David Mitchell, Moe
Well done to the Australian swim team, the most successful Olympics ever and, Emma McKeon, in 2032 there will be a cauldron waiting for you to light.
Samantha Keir, East Brighton
Sydney doesn’t need to bring in the army. We just need to borrow Dynamic Dan for a few days.
John Byrne, Randwick
I’m not jumping into the AstraZeneca lifeboat (“Fill both the lifeboats”, Letters, 2/8) if I can see it has a hole in the bottom.
Bill Pell, Emerald
In federal politics, climate, environment, jobs plus integrity are bound to be winners for votes. Go for gold, Anthony Albanese (“Albanese proves an elusive target”, Comment, 2/8).
Barbara Fraser, Burwood
Compared with Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese is a statesman.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
Henny Penny is out of a job – the Sky really has finally fallen.
Nina Wellington-Iser, Hawthorn
I concur with The Age’s editorial stance on criticising the anti-lockdown protesters but am left confused that the paper is prepared to run the dangerously absurd Clive Palmer anti-lockdown advertisements on its front page.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
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