It is alarming that so many people with Covid-19 are receiving care under the New South Wales Hospital in the Home program (Rick Morton, “Exclusive: Covid-19 hospitalisations three times higher than reported”, September 4-10). In the 1990s, Hospital in the Home was part of a strategy to provide patients with greater healthcare options by incorporating home-based care in an episode of acute care. This was a time in which values such as self-reliance, family responsibility and individualism were being reasserted. It transferred caring responsibilities from trained professionals to unqualified family members, most often women, with a health professional visiting each day. Do these family members have skills to care for patients with Covid-19? Will families recognise when oxygen levels become dangerously low?
– Dr Sarah Russell, Mount Martha, Vic
Undeveloped countries still paying
We have been told solar cells, wind turbines and electric cars will allow us to continue our obsession with continually increasing our personal consumption and save the planet as well (Mike Seccombe, “Generally electric”, September 4-10). However, any new technology must have its cons as well as its pros. The mining and refining of cobalt, copper and lithium necessary for these cars is mostly in the commodity and waste frontiers in undeveloped countries. These countries do not have stringent wage, social and environmental policies. What are the chances of anyone from these countries owning an electric car before the rich West takes all their lithium, cobalt and other rare and exotic metals? So when we drive our children 50 metres to school in our two-tonne electric behemoths, signalling our “green” virtues to one and all, spare a thought for the murdered activists, displaced populations and destroyed cultures at the commodity and waste frontiers.
– Jeff Lean, Mystery Bay, NSW
Better options than the car
While Mike Seccombe is right to discuss the benefits of the inevitable growth of the electric car market, it is prudent to remember that even the electric car is not one of the most environmentally friendly transport options for city dwellers. Incentivising city people to make choices that reject the private car and instead involve a combination of active and public transport options would have a far more significant impact. The electric bicycle, for example, has a much smaller carbon footprint and offers a real alternative to the private car, particularly when there are efficient public transport connections and safe cycleways. The electric car will no doubt play an important role in our transition, but it would be beneficial for us all to start thinking outside the private car paradigm if we are to reduce emissions in our major cities.
– Luke Vanni, Nundah, Qld
According to Paul Bongiorno (“Bordering on farce”, September 4-10), Scott Morrison is considering calling an election for November. That would explain his desperation for the vaccine levels to reach 70 and 80 per cent of eligible people and the consequent opening up to hopefully coincide with polling day. Another important consideration for that timing would be the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow in November. Forgive my cynicism, but it would be a very convenient reason for the Morrison government to have minimal participation in this crucial summit. Vague and uncertain promises to reduce harmful emissions will likely be offered because the government is in caretaker mode.
– Mike Anderson, Holt, ACT
Transparent governance is the key
Thank you to John Hewson’s excellent analysis of the privatisation conundrum (“My own privatised Idaho”, September 4-10). For me, the greatest example of poor outcomes through privatisation has to be aged care. Exposed as a poor policy choice in the royal commission, we now know that the goal of making money out of the care of the aged does not work in most cases. This is the standout, but Hewson shows that we need to be much more clever in public administration to make privatisation effective. Transparency is the key, by ensuring we have a well-funded National Audit Office, effective senate estimates processes, a well-funded and supported Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and, of course, a “proper” Commonwealth Integrity Commission. It is the public institutions that will keep us safe and effectively governed.
– Stephen Brand, Torrens, ACT
Your editorial, “Taking the money”, September 4-10, suggests voters “should think about who it is Scott Morrison represents”. I couldn’t agree more, but I have no hope that the people who voted for Morrison will question who it is he represents. Morrison is adept at appealing to people on the grounds he is one of them – the daggy dad, the rugby league supporter, an everyman. He is anything but. His ability to sell himself, and very little else, was proved at the last election and this could well happen at the next. Until we have a voting population that questions what they are being told, by all sides of politics and by all media, we will continue to see the same results.
– Elizabeth Cusack, Turner, ACT
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on September 11, 2021.
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