I am heartily sick of the Monday morning quarterbacks lining up to critique state and territory governments. Australian premiers, like governors and mayors in the US, are at the pointy end of the pandemic. The "mission impossible" they have been set would make even Tom Cruise take pause.
They are supposed to control the spread of infection, and keep the economy humming, all whilst not impinging on our human rights to move and congregate.
Their federal colleagues are merciless when the Premiers fail to achieve perfection. In May, Peter Dutton attacked Annastacia Palaszczuk for closing Queensland's border. Now the feds are lining up with Clive Palmer to try to open up Western Australia. The federal government did their level best to make sure NSW wore all the blame for the Ruby Princess debacle. Daniel Andrews has been pilloried by numerous Coalition backbenchers for allowing the genie out of the bottle by a failure in hotel quarantine.
But how good is the federal government when they manage the boots on the ground? They were not able to stop their soldiers shooting civilians in Afghanistan. Their police force has never caught a leaker. They bullied hundreds of thousands of welfare recipients who had committed no offence.
COVID-19 is a wicked problem that no government has responded to faultlessly.
The task of the premiers is not made easier when they have to deal with sideline critics.
Mike Reddy, Curtin
A poor effort
There are street trees on Conley Drive, Melba, opposite Melba High School which have been "pruned" and lopped. The centres have been cut out of the trees, leaving branches extending over the road. Cars park under these trees every day to pick up students from the school.
Branches have been cut from others, leaving a high trunk with only stubs of branches remaining. I've had no response re the trees from Yvette Berry, member for Ginninderra.
It's all so ugly and dangerous. What do our higher rates and taxes pay for?
Lyn Pavy, Melba
Try a better way
As an ex-Defence employee I have to agree with Margaret Beavis that "Defence spending isn't the way to make Australia secure" (canberratimes.com.au, July 25).
In 1984 the government accepted what became known as "The June 84 Statement". It was authored by Alan Wrigley, in my view the last departmental secretary worthy of the name.
The report advocated not building major weapons systems in Australia.
Instead it advocated maintaining, supporting, and adapting imported systems. It also advised balancing any advantages from local production against stockpiling essential sores.
Despite being brilliant in logic and simplicity, the report was ignored. Instead we go on producing substandard equipment at huge cost premiums, and which are still dependent on supplies from overseas.
Contrary to popular belief, such activity does not create net employment, as was shown by both the Allen Consulting Group and the Industries Assistance Commission reviews.
John Coochey, Chisholm
Speed humps or pollution bumps?
Some countries in Europe have apparently decided the added pollution caused by speed humps is more worthy of consideration and abatement than the speed of motorists.
If we are that concerned about speeders we should be putting in simple, low-cost, speed cameras to control speeds. If I can measure a vehicle's speed with my phone there must surely be low cost solutions available.
Why should we, in this day and age, be exposing our children, aged members of our community, and shoppers to this known source of added pollution?
These pollution humps seem to be breeding around schools and other locations at an appalling rate.
Maybe our politicians, in their often-one-eyed approach, no longer care about the health of these sections of the community. But the community should.
John Kennedy, Higgins
There have been several letters recently about the effects speed humps have on speeding drivers.
Where the speed limit is 60 km/h, 50 km/h, or even 40 km/h a vehicle should be able to travel at or near that speed, traffic permitting, without undue interference. To be forced to slow down and then accelerate again is detrimental to the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. It also adds considerably to the pollution generated.
The most economical way to drive is to maintain a constant speed.
I have seen several near-collisions caused by a car suddenly slowing right down, and the car behind having to brake excessively to avoid a rear-ender.
The speed bumps may have a use within school zones, but outside those areas, they are an annoyance and a nuisance. There are better ways to remind motorists to slow down
Wal Pywell, Wanniassa
Home care needed
I understand there are more than 100,000 people approved and waiting for aged care at home packages. Care at home is the best way to keep older people out of aged care homes.
Reportedly Victorian aged care homes are, due to COVID-19, at the brink of collapse. Given the increasing pressure on aged care homes from coronavirus it is safer for staff, the community, and older people in need, for people to access aged care at home.
One way to keep us all safer would be to adequately fund care at home packages for older people so there is no waiting time after a package is approved.
There was no wait for such packages when my parents were approved 10 years ago. Sufficient funding needs to be made available to make sure there is no backlog now.
Gina Pinkas, Aranda
Money from nothing
In the aftermath of the GFC US financial guru Alan Greenspan often pointed out the simple economic truism that "the United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default".
The same truism applies to any country - including Australia - which has constitutional authority to "print" (create by computer stroke) its own legal tender currency.
In other words, our Australian venture into "eye-watering debt" is either bad policy or a direct political ploy: the government can pay off the debt at any moment it chooses; maybe just before the next election?
A much more open approach to "printing" money in the current crisis is offered by the emerging discipline of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). In brief, the strategy that MMT prescribes is that governments should start by printing debt free money for direct use in funding all stimulus packages without any debt in the first place.
In addition, MMT suggests that rather than just provide Job Seeker payments and leave people to find their own jobs, it would be better to spend a bit more debt free money and immediately eliminate most unemployment by guaranteeing government funded jobs for everyone - at about minimum wage level.
How? One workable scenario, for example, might be to create something similar to work-for-the-dole but at work-for-the-minimum-wage level across national, State and local governments; fully supported with on-going job search assistance.
D Fraser, Oxley
Back off guys
Penny Wong has written that the coronavirus pandemic is accentuating a rise in "macho nationalism". The ongoing saga of vaccine development and distribution provides a good example of this.
We seem to be seeing a "me first" attitude when it comes to accessing a successful vaccine. This is being led by those paragons of global moral superiority, the US and UK, who are placing billion dollar orders for a successful vaccine for their countries.
Let's hope Australia through COVAX is working with other countries to ensure a truly equitable global distribution of a vaccine for all people on Earth.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Woods and trees
The ACT government has been rambling on about an urban forest. Sadly, the street trees which form part of that urban forest do not benefit from any ongoing maintenance. Rather, trees are left to residents to manage them. I have been filling a skip each year with bark shed by one tree on our block and city services respond reluctantly to requests when the gum trees drop branches. An urban forest is a noble idea but it needs to be backed up with management.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Be alarmed, very alarmed
Every time Victoria's infection figures go down it is hailed in the media as the "turn of the tide". Unfortunately as Thursday's numbers proved, every El-Alamein is followed by a Dunkirk.
N Ellis, Belconnen
TO THE POINT
GET IT RIGHT
I wholeheartedly agree with Vince Patulny (Letters, July 29) on the need to distinguish between a verb and a noun. His admonition is timely as we are faced with notices pinned to shop doors asking us to "practice safe distancing". I also agree with his comment about the proper use of the personal pronoun when referring to a person.
Alan Parkinson, Weetangara
I have searched many fonts, to no avail, for an "excremation" mark. It would help to shorten my writing considerably.
Chris Klootwijk, Macarthur
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
The message seems to be: "Of course black lives matter - just not now". Well, if not now, when? Rather than resorting to legal measures and court injunctions to stop the protests, why not just admit there are serious systemic problems and then do something about them?
Keith Hill, Braidwood, NSW
A TIMELY REMINDER
Axel Sidaros's convictions for attempted murder and arson have been quashed. This is a timely reminder that justice is not improved by scaremongering about bikies or other groups.
Leon Arundell, Downer
I watched a Sydney-based news service on Wednesday night and was horrified to hear the premier of Queensland described by the news reader as "paranoid" because she had declared everybody from Sydney was banned from travelling to Queensland. "Cautious" and, possibly "defensive" might be better words to describe the decision.
Brian Bell, Isabella Plains
THE VICTORY DANCE
International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates expects the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will go on. I earnestly hope so. If Tokyo proceeds in full swing it will indicate we have beaten the dreadful COVID-19. The Olympics will be the economic indicator of the world.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
TRY THIS ONE
I would like to suggest a new name for Coon cheese which would minimise the alterations required to the logo, packaging, etc: "COrONa".
John May, Lyneham
Josh Frydenberg referenced Thatcher and Reagan as guiding influences. Is the plan for moving forward from COVID-19 to look backwards to childhood heroes? "Trickle down economics" was trickle up trickery. It is not fair or good. Nor is it intelligent.
Matthew Passant, Gladstone
The political capital of some of our federal, state and territory leaders is beginning to wane. The memory of political villainy and incompetence lasts for decades but the capital from political heroism and competence is fleeting. National cabinet members beware.
John Hargreaves, Wanniassa
THE WRONG CALL
Coon cheese was trying to do the right thing by changing the name but It won't change a thing. The same people will still use the same derogatory term regardless. If Mr Coon's name was so bad, why didn't he change it then?
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
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