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Victory could be costly
Farrah Tomazin’s deeply poignant article revealed the true cost of effectively shutting down society (“Down town”, The Sunday Age, 6/6).
The daily numbers for COVID cases are only one set of significant social metrics. There is also the excruciatingly high economic cost of effectively destroying the dreams of thousands of small business owners, the loss of yet more weeks of vital face-to-face learning for tens of thousands of school students and the incalculable mental toll that forced seclusion has upon otherwise healthy Victorian citizens.
At best, lockdowns are a blunt instrument that are akin to solving a domestic rat problem by bulldozing the whole house; highly effective, yet remarkable collateral damage. Lives and livelihoods also matter.
Victoria Labor’s current stratagem could well prove, long term, to be a Pyrrhic victory. Yes, we eventually get our COVID rates down low and they hopefully stay low, but the hearts and minds of the people will have been lost, as endgames have been hazily annunciated and animosity has been well and truly embedded towards those we have elected to ideally look to for proportional leadership during this testing time.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
An interesting subject
In the second paragraph of his Faith column, speaking about the importance of grammar, we read that Barney Zwartz “lectured theology students on grammar so they could learn Greek, as well as newspaper subeditors” (The Sunday Age, 6/6).
I, too, would like to learn newspaper subeditors, sounds like an interesting subject. Whatever it is.
Alan Whitcombe, Stony Creek
Here we go again
We Victorians must love lockdown, as it seems to me some of us are doing what we can to ensure there is another one.
After two weeks of lockdown I went to a large shopping centre. The first store I entered was a large and upmarket department store. Customers were streaming in without checking in. On challenging a sales assistant, I was told the store can’t make customers check in. Really? The store can’t make customers adhere to the law, so they don’t even try? Strangely, the other large and upmarket department store was insisting customers check in.
In the centre, there were many stores doing what the law requires, but some of them had no check-in code visible, or the code was difficult to find.
And there are many people who must have a congenital malformation – they breathe through their chins, judging by the position of their masks.
All this the day after lockdown ended. I’m sure these people and these stores will be the first to complain when another lockdown is forced upon us.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
No need to get personal
With the ongoing mistakes that have occurred on the Labor Party’s watch in Victoria there are plenty of meaty actions and policies that the Liberal Party can dissect for the people, such as unnecessary expanses of freeways, losing parkland and the destruction of vegetation during lockdown.
Instead, the Liberal Party homes in on gossip of a personal nature.
Sharyn Bhalla, Ferntree Gully
Questions on notice
It’s time to ask the politicians three simple questions: How much have lockdowns cost the state and federal economies?; how many people have been let back into Australia from overseas?; and what is the direct cost per person that has been allowed into the country? (The answer to question one divided by the answer from question two.)
All this, and no allowing for the mental and physical wellbeing deterioration, loss of businesses, deaths and other fallouts as a direct result of letting people into the country.
Perhaps it also time to rethink whether anyone should be allowed into the country until they are fully vaccinated, tested, all quarantine facilities are bulletproof and there is no chance of virus escape. Let anyone that wants to leave sign a waiver acknowledging that they may not be able to return for an undetermined time.
I, for one, am fed up.
Neil Fookes, Darling South
The ‘choice’ illusion
As a 60-something, it is difficult to comprehend “vaccination hesitancy”. We grew up with mandatory equine-gauge jabs which actually advanced public health.
The illusion of “personal choice” appears to be subverting social responsibility.
Bryan Lewis, St Helena
When a former High Court chief justice says the Australian state’s treatment of the Tamil girls incarcerated on Christmas Island amounts to “cruelty obnoxious to Australian values”, that’s mighty weighty (“Australian values at stake”, Letters, The Age, 11/6 ).
Now, I don’t care what any woeful government minister says to justify and rationalise the government’s cruel decision. It’s the former chief justice’s opinion that I value.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
The critical requirement
The residential aged care provider we currently use has informed us that vaccinations won’t make any difference to the visitor access it will allow to residents.
It is fair enough for the focus just at the moment to be on the tardiness of vaccination rollout, but for those Australians using the current broken system, the hour-by-hour critical requirement is constant focus on assessing government progress towards transforming the system to one centred on the needs and rights of the elderly.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South
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