Letters to
the editor

Health system was already flawed

Along with his two recent front-page pieces on Victoria’s contact tracing failures and its healthcare outbreaks, Osman Faruqi’s “New Covid-19 cases among staff in hotel quarantine” (September 26–October 2) shines a much-needed light on how Victoria’s deadly second wave got out. However, it is clear Faruqi has never worked in our healthcare system. Subcontracting non-clinical services, as Alfred Health has done in the “hot” hotels it manages, is not unusual. Non-clinical staff having no clinical experience is not unusual. Using pen, paper and fax machines is not unusual. Communication breakdowns are not unusual. These are all a day-to-day part of how our health system operates. Its failures are not due to Covid-19, nor are they due to the government’s handling of the second wave. Rather, the pandemic has uncovered existing flaws in a tired system that badly needs revitalising.

– Dr Patrick Walker, Brunswick, Vic

Research cut again and again

The front-page story on the deliberate reduction of funding to Australian research and education is disgraceful, but not surprising from the Liberals and Nationals (Rick Morton, “Coalition to cut $2 billion a year from university research”, September 26–October 2). This deliberate destruction of Australian research and development began with the election of Howard, who “deported” the best Australian academics to the United States and Britain. The question I have is not for the politicians, rather for the people of Australia. Why do you think or consider that your children and grandchildren are not deserving of a good education, or that Australia deserves the world’s best practice in research and development? For it is future generations that will pay the price.

– Declan Foley, Berwick, Vic

Finishing off the opinionistas

Like Richard Cooke (“Contrarian motions”, September 26–October 2) I too have been repelled by the hubris of Australia’s news media opinionistas. Informed by nothing but a poisonous ideology that insults everybody who doesn’t think like them, their apparent influence is mystifying. Yes, they prosecute their opinions through the channels of Murdoch’s news empire that dominates Australia’s media landscape. But when just a little critical thought exposes the fallacy of their opinions, why does their audience stay glued on? Or perhaps it doesn’t. The continued fall in conservative print media sales, and very low television audiences, may owe as much to the toxic content as to new media competition. That’s a cheery thought: the opinionistas bringing about their own demise. Like Richard, I don’t mean that literally.

– Andrea Shoebridge, Victoria Park, WA

Political climate changes

It comes as no surprise to learn of the erosion of support for the Nats in the farming regions (Mike Seccombe, “Nats over a Barilaro”, September 26–October 2). Following the recent combination of the worst drought and the worst bushfires in living memory, and with man-made climate change implicated in both, farmers are increasingly sceptical about a party that wants to “play both sides of the fence”. The Nats’ policies of support for farming as well as coalmining are clearly irreconcilable and the latter will become more unpalatable to farmers with every extreme weather event. Farmers are realising that their long-term prospects will be undermined by voting for the “coal brigade”.

– Ian Rogerson, Bayview, NSW

Finally, Turnbull shows his fibre

Amazing how Malcolm Turnbull knows the answer and what should have been done to all the problems re the NBN, climate change, power et cetera now, but as prime minister what did he do? Nothing. Tony Abbott was a wrecker but at least he did something (Paul Bongiorno, “A high-voltage farce”, September 26–October 2).

– James Lane, Hampton East, Vic

RBG sat on bench too long

Like most people, I agree that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was indeed one of the great judges to sit on the United States Supreme Court (Jonathan Pearlman, World, September 26–October 2). However, unlike many others, I also believe she did herself and her country a disservice by sitting on the bench way too long. In Australia, High Court judges have to retire at age 70, but in the US once someone is appointed as a Supreme Court judge they have life tenure. Fortunately, although aged 87, Ginsburg was still as sharp as when she first started at the Supreme Court. However, due to illness and age she was asked during the Obama presidency to retire so her position could be given to a younger person with the same outlook. She declined. If she had stepped down as asked, President Trump would not have been able to nominate a third justice to the court – all of them of an extreme conservative bent that can shape American society by making landmark decisions.

– Con Vaitsas, Ashbury, NSW

Fishnets, Kerr and the Romans

“Hock of Gibraltar” (Gadfly, September 26–October 2) by the inimitable Richard Ackland was a real corker of a page, to use his expression. To read from the start was to be further illuminated until we reached Richard’s wonderful parallel of the last days of the Roman Empire with America today. I hope that Trump burns his boats as did Emperor Julian, and I look forward to Jenny Hocking’s revelations on the duplicity of Kerr and the Queen’s private secretaries. Thank you, Richard, for your always nicely balanced comments.

– Julia Osborne, Nambucca, NSW

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Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 3, 2020.

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