Why we need to keep fighting this pandemic

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Why we need to keep fighting this pandemic

The anniversary of the death of my beloved father is approaching and I cannot help remembering those last moments with him. Stroking his hand, knowing he could feel the presence of my mum, sister and me as he took his last breath. One of the cruellest impacts of this pandemic is the inability of so many not to have those last precious moments with their loved ones – whether they are dying from coronavirus or something else.

For Tony Abbott to say that we should lift restrictions, that we are under a ‘‘health dictatorship’’ (The Age, 2/2), and to suggest we work out the number of deaths we can live with are among some of the stupidest comments I have come across. Without fighting this pandemic, many more will die alone, leaving behind grieving families unable to say goodbye as they wish.
Milena Rafic, Montmorency

Trying to get a grasp on this man’s humanity

Tony Abbott is strongly anti-abortion, strongly against euthanasia for people with terminal illness, and has now added to his moral armaments with the view that we should let the elderly die rather than restrict our ‘‘freedom’’ and damage our economy. Put it all together and what do you get on the humanity gauge?
Dr Arthur Klepfisz, Toorak

Abbott rambles, dedicated workers risk their health

Tony Abbott, a wrecking ball in government, in opposition, as prime minister and as a backbencher, and still one after losing his seat. I wonder what medicos, nurses and other health workers who are putting their own health on the line every day think of his ramblings.
John Uren, Blackburn

A belief that some lives are worth more than others

How morally bankrupt can a failed politician be and yet his views still be given air play? For years Tony Abbott courted certain sections of the electorate with his fierce and strident opposition to euthanasia and abortion. He is now suggesting a country should decide how many deaths from COVID-19 must be tolerated in order to safeguard and foster the economy. In his view, it would appear some lives are worth far less than others and therefore can be sacrificed.
Marie Rogers, Kew

A hypocritical stance from a so-called Christian

What a nerve those aged people have, wanting to live a little longer and getting in the way of business profits. Tony Abbott’s priorities have not changed. He considers himself a Christian. Shame.
Graeme Henderson, Bullengarook

Settle down, settle down, you listen to me

‘‘Uncle Arthur’’ was comedian Glenn Robbins’ portrayal of everyone’s eccentric uncle, one who made cringeworthy comments at inappropriate moments. Tony Abbott’s latest public foray shows we have a new ‘‘Uncle Arthur’’ in the making. Alternatively, he could be the new version of Hanrahan (‘‘We’ll all be rooned’’). Let him stay in the United Kingdom where he blends well with the current crop of Tories.
Valerie Gerrand, West Melbourne

We’re sorry, but you’re old so you’re on your own

Maybe the Tony Abbott doctrine can be applied to the next climate change-influenced bushfire season. If you are under a fire threat and are old, then you are on your own. The possibilities might be endless.
David Sheils, Warragul

The difficulty of defining who is ‘elderly’

The failed former prime minister, ex-seminarian and devout Roman Catholic who is opposed to abortion and a firm believer in the sanctity of life suggests elderly COVID-19 patients could be left to die naturally. Could he set a lower age limit on the definition of ‘‘elderly’’? I thought only his god had the power to decide who should live and who should die. Is Tony Abbott now aiming for a more exalted role in the scheme of things?
Graham Williams, Glen Waverley


Our need to exercise…

The fifth week of hard lockdown. I am Vitamin D-deficient, unfit, mentally deteriorating and fattening, all factors that will increase my risk of COVID-19 complications should I ever catch it. All are directly related to the arbitrary, one-hour rule on exercise, that is supposed to keep me safe. Studies show we are 19 times more likely to catch this virus indoors rather than outdoors. Why are we being cooped up? It is time to remove the one-hour limit on exercise and let us all enjoy the warmth of spring in our beautiful parks and bushlands.
Melissa Ort, nutritionist, Fitzroy North

… and to see loved ones

The Premier has not ruled out extending Melbourne’s stage four lockdown (The Age, 3/9). Really? I have consulted with my ‘‘mental-health self’’ and it says ‘‘no’’. Please be bolder than this, at least allow all coronavirus-fatigued Victorians to enjoy the comforting and personal presence of a few family and friends at home.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Keep feet on the brake

As soon as the Premier’s ‘‘road map’’ to ease stage four restrictions is released, I hope it will not lead to an impulse similar to that exhibited by many drivers when they see an increased speed limit 100 metres away: they immediately ignore the speed that is still current.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford

Don’t spoil Father’s Day

In May, Daniel Andrews deprived families of time together on Mother’s Day. Now he has now chosen Father’s Day to reveal his all-important COVID-19 plan for moving forward. This Sunday will see family hugs replaced by remote conversations and gifts delivered by post. That is hard enough. Yet Mr Andrews wants to grab the stage and interrupt this moment with his big announcement. He should make it on Saturday, for goodness sake. When you care about people, it is a common sense decision to make.
Judy Stocco, Vermont

Such selfish protesters

When I hear of people protesting against our stage four lockdown, I am disgusted. Obviously they are not healthcare workers. Our healthcare workers have been working hard for more than five months, during which time they have put their own health at risk. How many of the protesters can own up to that?
Bill Proctor, Launching Place

Please, wear your mask

On Wednesday, 19 fines were issued for the previous 24 hours to people who were not wearing masks. I see that number of maskless people daily in my one-hour exercise within five kilometres of my home. Many masks are not correctly worn and there are also many pseudo ‘‘coffee drinkers’’.
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton

Putting Victorians first

Josh Frydenberg has spent far too long in Canberra. He has forgotten he is the member for Kooyong and a Victorian. At a time when Victorians need all the assistance they can get, he stands on the sidelines throwing rocks in an attempt to deflect criticism from the federal government’s disastrous handling of the aged care sector. It seems that partisan politics will always ‘‘Trump’’ the common good.
Peter Thomas, Moonee Ponds

Stop throwing stones

Thanks to Cathy Wilcox for her wonderful cartoon (Letters, 1/9). Scott Morrison urging his ‘‘right-hand man’’ Josh Frydenberg to chuck rocks at Dan Andrews reminded me of some old wisdoms: People in glass houses, Sticks and Stones, Chickens coming home to roost, and, of course, Tall poppies.
Ros Collins, Elwood

Importance of economics

It is sad when anyone dies but, let us face it, there is always a cost benefit analysis applied to every aspect of our lives, whether it is health, education, transport or defence etc. Whether we like it or not, everything is dominated by economics.
Neil McDonald, Berwick

Wins for wealthy, again

Boom times? Tax cuts for the wealthy. A recession? Tax cuts for the wealthy (The Age, 3/9). Difficult.
Joe Foley, Hawthorn

Long-suffering customers

It concerns me that Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate may get a big bonus because of the large profits made this year – ‘‘Bonus despite board veto’’ (The Age, 3/9). This is the result of a massive increase in the use of parcel post. Surely the people who created these profits – the customers – should be rewarded. They should receive either a cash bonus or reduced charges.
Charles Varley, East Malvern

Express? You’re joking.

My experience with Australia Post, like many of your readers, has been that it does not deliver. An Express Post envelope with important documents posted on August 14 still has not been delivered. I lodged an inquiry on August 25 and a further email on August 31 but have received no reply. Usually I would deliver these documents by hand as they only have to travel 60 kilometres but I could not because of the lockdown. Australia Post may have made a profit but it is not meeting its targets which states that Express Post is prioritised for delivery.
Elise Callander, South Melbourne

What a great laugh

It was great to see Odd Spot back on the front page again. The quirky little piece about the millionaires at Australia Post asking staff to work for free and deliver mail in their own cars was most entertaining (The Age, 2/9). My wife and I had a good chuckle.
Peter Marsh, McCrae

High cost of ‘helping out’

Regarding Australia Post’s call for workers to volunteer to help clear a backlog in parcels, using their own cars. I know from personal experience that doing the right thing and helping out does not always get sympathy from one’s insurance company. The carriage of goods for commercial gain can play havoc with a family car’s insurance and, in the case of a bad bingle, leave a volunteer with a financial catastrophe.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully

Where I get my news

Facebook is a social media platform. It is not a news platform. If I want to read news, I will go to a credible news website. If Facebook is threatening to remove news content in Australia (The Age, 3/9), then I say good riddance.
David Zemdegs, Armadale

All in 10 minutes’ work

Stephen Bartholomeusz (Business, 2/9) says it will take ‘‘great effort and cost’’ for Facebook to exclude news content from its Australian platforms. Due to the demands from intelligence organisations, governments of all kinds and IP rights holders, the tech companies are quite used to censoring content.

Here is the algorithm to block news from Australian companies: if a search result belongs to one of the registered news companies, then remove it from the list of results (or even show it ‘‘greyed out’’ and hence inaccessible). About 10 minutes work for a Google or Facebook engineer.
Jan Newmarch, retired professor of information technology, Oakleigh

Keeping ourselves fit

Pru Goward’s article – ‘‘Old age is not the issue. How we prepare for it is’’ (Comment, 3/9) – is an excellent summation of how a fall in the elderly affects many: the individual, their carers and the health system overall. Fitness of the body is obviously as crucial as fitness of the mind for good health and preventative measures. Let us talk more about it.
Sue Clarebrough, Wangaratta

Let’s promote falls clinics

I agree with Pru Goward regarding the prevention of falls in the older population. There are three reasons that hasten admission to residential aged care: falls, incontinence and dementia.
As a nurse of many years experience in the aged care sector, I know there are warning signs about falls. Reasons for them include a history of falls, the ‘‘near miss events’’, various medical conditions and medications.

Falls clinics which conduct assessments and suggest prevention strategies have been established. Why are they not used more widely? Why isn’t the public educated about their existence? Why aren’t more referrals made by GPs? Much needs to be done about prevention of illness. Imagine the cost savings to the budget.
Sandy Phillips, Mount Martha

Importance of exercise

Pru Goward is right in highlighting the need for all of us to remain active as we age. And she is right in providing the sobering statistics about falls, injuries and hospitalisations affecting older people. However, she has not received the right advice about what to do to prevent falls. Research has clearly demonstrated that exercise, particularly strength and balance training, is effective in preventing them. ‘‘Not doing things’’ is not recommended by experienced health professionals, whereas exercise most definitely is.
Associate Professor Frances Batchelor, National Ageing Research Institute

Cleaning up the force

As a former member of Victoria Police of nearly 20 years I am, sadly, not surprised by the findings of the Gobbo royal commission (The Age, 3/9). Victoria Police has long spruiked itself as the cleanest force in Australia and I have often said it is just better at managing its image. This inquiry has shown the truth of that. It also why the police must no longer be responsible for investigating police.
Douglas Potter, Surrey Hills

As the days get warmer…

My electricity bill has just arrived, accompanied by a flyer explaining seven types of heating. It is headed ‘‘Heating your home this winter’’ and commences, ‘‘As the days and nights get colder…’’. What hemisphere does AGL live in?
Harriet Farnaby, Geelong West


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Frydenberg should get his federal house in order before knocking the Victorian one.
Margaret Sullivan, Caulfield North

The PM criticised Andrews for not revealing his coronavirus ‘‘road map’’ but hasn’t tabled a recovery plan for the economy.
Rob Rogers, Warrandyte

Good advice from Frydenberg: don’t tell Victorians the truth, tell them what they want to hear.
Allan Carbis, Lalor

With his solutions to our recession, is he the Treasurer ‘‘we had to have?’’
Vince Gardiner, Glen Waverley

Tony Abbott

How many applications to leave Australia did he have to make?
Margaret Malloch, Hawthorn East

If the Brits give Abbott a knighthood, it will be enough to ensure an Australian republic.
Rod Cripps, Parkdale

Abbott: Howard’s biggest mistake.
Barry James, Croydon

Abbott revelled in being opposed to everything. He’s found a new way to grab attention. Ignore him.
Ron Slamowicz, Caulfield North


The WA Premier said WA was playing ‘‘hard to get’’ over the grand final. He should be happy his wish was respected.
Geoff Schmidt, Fitzroy North

Please, Brisbane, take the grand prix too.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

It’s good to see the grand final will still be played at ‘‘the G’’.
Roger Farrer, Hampton

Politics is like the AFL. Everything our team does is good, everything our opponents do is bad.
Michael Hall, Blackburn


I can’t stand it any longer. Can we please talk about the number, not the amount, of coronavirus cases.
Ailene Strudwick, Mornington

The EPA says West Gate Tunnel soil will need ‘‘dewatering’’ (2/9). Whatever happened to ‘‘drying’’
Ro Bailey, Hawthorn

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