The Australian Border Force has dodged accountability for the Ruby Princess debacle, and failures in social distancing and temperature testing at Sydney Airport.
While maintaining that biosecurity is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Border Force spokesman Michael Outram has shown federal collegiate loyalty by directing blame for the Ruby Princess events at the NSW Department of Health. The media have obligingly turned their spotlight on the state authority, and we have all seen the predictable dogfight.
As Outram says, biosecurity lies with the Department of Agriculture whose Secretary, as Director of Biosecurity, is responsible for managing "the risk of listed human diseases entering Australian territory". But the Department of Agriculture has been allowed to remain silent through the storm over recent events. Any returning overseas traveller has experience of the strict attention given by Commonwealth officers to safeguarding Australia's plant and animal biosecurity. Why should our human biosecurity rely on state and territory resources, and the lottery of their competence?
The suggestion by Margot Sirr of a green belt surrounding Canberra (Letters, April 9) recalls the grades of proficiency in karate as indicated by belt colour. The colour of the green belt, the fourth level of proficiency, represents a seedling as it starts to break through the surface and grow into a sturdy tree. I hope that Ms Sirr's idea also grows to become a reality.
While I have doubts about its becoming a tourist Mecca, a green belt would serve several useful purposes in addition to being a protection against bushfires. A kilometre-wide belt of trees would act as a wind break, perhaps intercepting some of the smoke from bushfires, such as afflicted Canberra last summer, and would also have a refreshing and cooling effect on nearby suburbia.
Why should our human biosecurity rely on state and territory resources, and the lottery of their competence?- Paul Feldman, Macquarie
However, there may be a major stumbling block to be overcome. If the Barr government were to be returned at the next election there would be intense pressure to build yet more houses and apartment blocks rather than plant unprofitable trees.
A big bouquet to AHM (Private Health Insurer) who have deferred the April 1 price increase for 6 months. Also bouquets to supermarkets across the country who are trying desperately to make shopping fair and equitable for all. Well done! Sadly, very large brickbats to those selfish, ignorant hoarders in the community who continue to make life very difficult for those who are elderly and/or have a disability.
My pharmacist was unable to provide me with prescribed Ventolin (I have a chronic condition) due to a "run" on it from non-prescription customers. My happiness with the necessity, over many recent months, to use online shopping has sadly been reduced when I have been unable to access a number of basic essentials, including, of course, toilet paper. Thanks a lot hoarders. Thank goodness I am a septuagenarian as I can remember how to tear up a newspaper to put to good use.
For several weeks now I have gone to a number or Woolworths and Coles supermarkets in the ACT and found the shelves that are supposed to stock the toilet paper, are being used to display other products such as baby nappies etc. The area allocated for the sale of the toilet paper has been reduced to less than 20% of the total space usually used, and was empty. It is becoming very apparent that there is no intent to restock the shelves to the pre-coronavirus quantity for sale.
I do not believe that after this period of time, the suppliers can not keep up to the demand. I think it is time for both of these supermarkets to come clean with their actions!
This is not only happening in the ACT, my 94 year old mother in Coffs Harbour has the same problem.
V Harris of Yass (CT 9 April), I have a spare packet of flour for you (which I secured by pure luck). It seems everyone has switched from toilet paper panic buying to flour (and Pine-o-Clean). Give me a call!
In these difficult times we are growing accustomed to novel and often disturbing erosions of the freedom to engage in our usual daily activities (for sound public health reasons, of course).
But the abandonment of the right to trial by jury! Really? Surely this is a step too far. Seriously, it briefly occurred to me that I should double-check that the news item was not published on 1 April ... it wasn't ('Legal community condemns change', April 4).
Of course, an accused person is at liberty, in most cases, to waive this right; however, this removal is by fiat.
The more palatable alternative would be for the accused to be able to seek to have the matter adjourned until a trial by jury becomes possible at some future date.
Gladys Berejiklian is (sensibly) talking of removing COVID-19 restrictions at the same time as parliament discusses the $130b wage subsidies bill to cover the lockdown.
Meanwhile, over 99.9 per cent of the population are yet to get the coronavirus and are therefore still vulnerable (although most will be fine).
I can't wait for the next kneejerk decision.
The ACT's chief minister has instructed Canberrans in no uncertain terms to stay away from the south coast because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the lack of local hospital resources to deal with it.
But there is another reason why we should stay home this Easter.
Many permanent residents at the coast have lost their homes in the recent fires and are living in caravans, tents and other temporary accommodation.
As an act of good will why don't Canberrans owning property at the coast make it available to help these people isolate and make it through the winter because, if the federal government's predictions are correct, no one will be holidaying anywhere before Christmas.
John Warhurst, (CT April 9, p 16) has put his finger on a key issue. The otherwise well-designed economic rescue package must include temporary migrants who have been contributing to the Australian economy. They are no less human then the rest of us and their needs must be met.
The coronavirus is no respecter of nationality and when we come through this crisis, we must develop a new narrative about the nature of our society and it's concern for the well-being of everybody in it. Show a bit of compassion, Sco-Mo!
Data derived from computer modelling is now front page news and these data are informing government's very difficult decisions in how to manage the current pandemic.
Scientists have been using computer modelling techniques for decades to help us understand the climate but their advice with regard to global warming has often been ignored or even ridiculed.
As we are witnessing, critical decisions should be informed by appropriately qualified experts and based on scientific evidence rather than pressure from lobby groups and some elements of the media. Let's hope this is one lesson we learn from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Don Shepton's support (Letter, April 9) to Rev Zankin's response to Crispin Hull on the matter of seeing evil and suffering versus goodness, love and caring as evidence of the presence of a God is all about perspective. Perspective is like Statistics, it can just about be skewed to support any argument one chooses.
Just ask Donald Trump, similar to many religious thinkers, he is quick to take credit, deserved or not, for everything good whilst proportioning blame to someone or something else entirely for all the bad. This stance is a thin veneer only believed by the gullible.
RI Boxall (Letters, April 9) correctly states that the crucifixion of Jesus was a classic example of the establishment silencing a critic. Jesus was also subject to a far more common method for silencing dissent, the "Ad Hominem" tactic: Person A asserts proposition X; Person B attacks A, therefore X is false.
Although little-recognised, ad hominem is commonly on display. We are all subject to it and we probably all use it at times. It is President Trump's preferred method for silencing critics. But Jesus showed the best way to counter it. He said: "If I speak wrongly, state what is wrong. But if I speak correctly, why did you strike me?"
Email: email@example.com. Send from the message field, not as an attachment. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 or fewer words. References to The Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).
To send a letter via the online form, click or touch here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.