Heartened by public response
I’d like to thank Professor Raina MacIntyre for her comprehensive demolition of the argument that there is no alternative to this Omicron outbreak (“A pandemic of denial”, January 15-21). What should have been a quiet and peaceful summer has been for many an anxious and miserable one. With the aid of experts such as MacIntyre, people throughout Australia have acted in the best interests of their family, friends and the community. Well before mask mandates were reintroduced people wore masks and avoided large gatherings in an attempt to prevent exposure. Where vested interests have flourished we have seen a detrimental impact to public health in all its forms. There is an alternative to these interests. It’s reassuring to see many people doing the right thing. Accepting there is no alternative is denialism at its worst.
– Richard Vorobieff, Griffith, ACT
Quick responses required
On a personal and national level we are exhausted by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. And, as Raina MacIntyre makes frighteningly clear, we are also in a state of denial. In a bid for some sort of normalcy and in the interests of the financial implications, our government has decided to let the Omicron variant rip. This has resulted in nightmarish infection rates that if left unchecked will result in many more deaths. As MacIntyre points out, our government needs to be ambitious and determined and adapt quickly as evidence changes. This involves dynamism in the face of exhaustion and complacency. We cannot overcome by pretending. We have all made sacrifices, we have all been confronted by this virus. Many families have lost loved ones. Protection of the vulnerable and a dedicated outlook should be our priority, not a head in the sand, she’ll be right scenario.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
Independents also targeting senate
Margo Kingston’s excellent article on the eight independents standing in the house of representatives (“Inside the campaigns that may decide the election”, January 15-21) omits those standing in the senate. The balance of power in both houses, if held by independents, could provide a refreshing, critically needed and far more democratic legislative outcome in the next term of government. The ACT, with only two senators, has traditionally elected a senator from each of the two main parties. While the Greens have stood well-known candidates such as Lin Hatfield Dodds, they have not been successful in unseating either of the usual incumbents. Professor Kim Rubenstein, a legal academic and feminist, is standing and with growing support – Kim for Canberra is on track to obtain party status in the near future – she could significantly influence the senate if elected.
– Elizabeth Cusack, Turner, ACT
Listening to the community
Margo Kingston’s coverage of the independents and their electorates was a well-researched and heartening read. While, as Malcolm Turnbull said, Scott Morrison is hoping progressive liberals will “hold their noses and vote conservative”, the independents will raise the standard by bringing about more “community discussion on policy and the meaning of representative democracy”. Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have already labelled the independents stooges for Labor and the Greens, but continuing down that path will only further persuade the voting public of their lack of integrity.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
A refugee policy without compassion
It is more than a week since I read Mehdi Ali’s story of lost childhood and continuing mental health torture (“A life on fire”, January 8-14). The thought of it still haunts me. I somehow have to say to Scott Morrison: this is not part of the Australia I want. You continue to justify this torture being in Australia’s best interests. I do not agree. Your action devalues Australia and all who call themselves Australian, and prevents us calling out nations such as China (and others) for their human rights abuses. You also seem to have forgotten the last people who came here by boat. Ten years later their Vietnamese children were topping every faculty in every university in this country. Your horror refugee policy also extends to the Murugappan family, their Australian-born children and their community detention in Perth, away from the people who loved them in Biloela. These are just two examples of articulate and dignified people being extensively persecuted. Scott Morrison, if your government’s refugee policy is in the interests of Australians, then I too am a refugee.
– Angela Jennings, Netherby, SA
PM sees nothing to do here
At the end of his article on the current travails of small business in the age of Covid-19 (“Small sacrifices”, January 15-21) John Hewson asks this question: “Mr Morrison, do you really feel that you can just walk away and leave us to it?” Sadly, Morrison already answered this when the nation was on fire: “I don’t hold a hose, mate.” This reluctance to do anything is understandable, given everything he does he botches, from his failure to act on climate change through to the vaccine rollout and the acquisition of RAT kits. His list of failures is now so long that he is in a perpetual quandary as to whether to progress or retreat. It looks as though Donald Horne’s original analysis of Australia is proving to be true, as the lucky country has just about run out of luck.
– Peter Nash, Fairlight, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jan 22, 2022.
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