In response to my letter on July 12, Kym MacMillan provides a number of reasons as to why he believes the Morrison government has failed to achieve a satisfactory level of vaccination to date. These are just excuses for not trying hard enough to ensure all Australians could be vaccinated in a timely manner. Our leadership was too complacent - after all, "this is not a race". Still, health workers - as well as aged care workers, teachers and other essential workers - have not been vaccinated.
Yesterday we heard that ex-PM Kevin Rudd was asked by worried Australian businessmen to speak to the head of Pfizer to see if there was any possibility Australia could get some of its order earlier, as we were in a pandemic in NSW. As it happened, Pfizer was ahead of its schedule and Mr Rudd was able to inform Prime Minister Morrison he should make a formal request to bring forward more Pfizer. Thank you Mr Rudd.
And recently ex-PM Turnbull said that our vaccination procurement and rollout was the worst failure of public policy in our history.
Lucille Rogers, Kingston
Defining 'essential work'
The virus creeps closer to us in our landlocked paradise ("Virus back on our doorstep", July 14) and there is hurried discussion about what constitutes essential work.
Conservative governments have no difficulty in defining "essential industries" when it comes to preventing industrial action by workers seeking to improve their lot in life. The withdrawal of labour is the most basic of democratic rights and is one characteristic that distinguishes slaves from free citizens.
It is passing strange, then, that it is not possible to define essential work in the context of a savage pandemic where business profit might be threatened.
David Perkins, Reid
A very fast denial
Never seen the Morrison government move so fast to deny that ex-PM Rudd played any part in having Pfizer move forward Australia's allocation of vaccine. Pity the government has not shown the same agility with the rollout of the vaccine program, or the establishment of purpose-built quarantine facilities.
David Mann, Kambah
Thankful in the luckiest country
It is disappointing to read correspondents to this paper complaining about our vaccine rollout rates. Have a look at the position in poorer countries. Those countries don't have the hospital care the rich West has. Nor can they get vaccines - nor can they afford income and business support programs, nor policing to control lockdowns.
It is disappointing to read correspondents to this paper complaining about our vaccine rollout rates.Ian Morison, Forrest
South Africa just now has rioting and looting, caused by despair. There is even a chance that society may break down in some countries as the pandemic worsens there. And if things do get better, as those countries rely on tourism, the rich West will eschew visits there for a long time, making the recovery much tougher. We need to take a deep breath and be thankful of our position as perhaps the luckiest country.
Ian Morison, Forrest
Get to know your place
The letter from Peter Fuller "Unwanted possums could make it to the wardrobe and plate" (Letters July 14) demonstrates a total ignorance of the importance of native animals and their place in ecosystems. The proposal put forward by myself and a local grazier to make constructive use of feral animal carcasses as compost and fertiliser is intended to support ecosystems both above and below ground, not destroy them further.
It is tragic that we have such a poor perspective on the fauna and flora, both large and small, that constitute the complex ecosystem that supports all life in this country. This ecosystem can be likened to a very large wall, which we have been knocking bricks out of since white people first came here. The wall will eventually fall. It may someday dawn on us that the very reason we have pandemics and disease is due in large part to the abusive attitude we have to nature and soils, combined with our cavalier approach to building and subdivision.
In our Queanbeyan garden we have two occupied possum boxes. We make efforts to maintain our plant diversity and our relationship with our possum family who rarely touch the vegetable garden. You can live comfortably with native species if you consider that it was their home a long, long time before you got here, and they know their place. You should get to know yours.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan
Professor Possum in residence
Peter Fuller (Letters, July 14) may be horrified to know that the Monash University faculty of electrical engineering had, for many years, an emeritus possum professor in residence - "Sir John". The beloved brushtail would often poke its head out near the theatre overhead projector mount to monitor academic pursuits and was often photographed sharing her students' food.
And I offer Peter a remedy for the "raucous nocturnal calls". We have had small delegations of PRC scientists at our home, and they hold our possums in the highest regard. Where else in the world can they stand under the wisteria, banana in hand, and wait for wild, furry and cute (and rabies-free) animals to wander down and devour their offerings?
They would gladly trade places with you Peter, but you may not like their continent-sized expanses of dead lifeless possum-free concrete, overpopulation and regulation.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham, Vic
Time to join this century
The Liberals' ACT senator, Zed Seselja, has stated that he is "not keen" on restoring the territory's right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying. Who does he represent - his own church-dominated teachings, or his electorate? It is a crime that both the ACT and the NT do not have the powers to make their own laws. Who wants to live in a servile territory when you could live in a proper state, able to make your own laws, not subservient to a federal government which apparently has little interest in progress or in changing the status quo? And VAD is real progress. It exists in almost all states and around the world.
It really is time to make some changes with one of the ACT's senators and to join the 21st century.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
Tragic consequences await
How are we going to deal with the results of continuing, unrestrained, economic growth? It seems to me that the essential concept of growth is somehow deeply embedded in the human psyche - we unquestioningly and subconsciously regard it as the natural way of things. Among the most obvious expressions are land-clearing and the relentless spread of farmland into the bush, congestion in our cities, and disputes over available water supplies. This issue seems to me to be on a par with global heating as requiring serious acknowledgment and attention by governments worldwide. What is needed is a fundamentally different way of approaching the future. If we don't, nature will decide for us, with untold and tragic consequences.
Sandy Paine, Griffith
Tram costs hidden from view
John Madelly snr (Letter, July 13) is right; there is no transparency with regard to the tram. This does not only apply to the amount of fill to raise London Circuit, but also to the cost. The Canberra Times, in September last year, suggested "the project could balloon out to almost $2 billion", a figure neither confirmed nor denied by the government.
Nor has the public been informed of the massive amount of greenhouse gases produced by the construction of the infrastructure and importing the required 16 additional trams from Spain for the extension to Woden. One calculation concludes that it will take 19 years for this pollution to be offset by the private cars the tram extension hopes to take off the road. Halving or abolishing fares on pollution-free electric buses would take private cars off the road right now at a fraction of the cost.
B. M. Bodart-Bailey, Narrabundah
In defence of Waterford
Ian Pilsner (Letters, July 14) attacks your regular columnist, Jack Waterford, for being a "leftist" who falsely accuses Scott Morrison of blaming others for his own failings. To support his accusation, he cherry-picks just one example of Mr Morrison's refraining from shifting the blame to others.
I have been a reader of Jack's Saturday column for more than a decade. He attacks falsehoods and failings from the left of politics just as ardently as he does the selfishness and excesses of the right. Perhaps Mr Pilsner could consider his own biases.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Protecting lives of the elderly
Thank you, Zed, for protecting the lives of the elderly. Here are four reasons why euthanasia is unacceptable.
Australia is internationally obligated to protect its citizens; specialists say they are never asked by patients for voluntary suicide, but often by relatives; children who have suffered as a result of parents' divorce will logically say, "Have your injection Mum or Dad, because you did not care for us and we won't care for you"; the review of the NT legislation by Professor David Kissane found that of the eight people killed under the 1995 NT bill, only one person actually qualified under the legislation. A very slippery slope!
Paul Monagle, Australian Family Association (ACT)
TO THE POINT
FLYING SOUTH FOR WINTER
Like a flock of Indian Mynas making their way south from Sydney, the Delta strain of Covid has reached Goulburn and will, undoubtedly, arrive in Canberra.
John Sandilands, Garran
DON'T LET FACTS RUIN STORY
Now now, Peter Haddon and Ian Douglas. Don't throw irrefutable geographic logic at me. The fact is the Poms (England) have never ever wanted to be part of Europe in any way, shape or form. Chuck 'em out, I say. Their sense of entitlement beggers belief.
Graham Bridge, Ngunnawal
RHYTHM AND BLUES
My perusal of the photograph of the NSW Blues State of Origin rugby league team on the back page of Wednesday's Canberra Times convinces me that it must be conceded that the boys have got rhythm.
David Hunt, Watson
The most basic function of the state is to secure the safety of its citizens. The Murdoch media, who slavishly boost the conservative cause and who want the virus to rip, are now so far divorced from reality that you must give Labor a better than fighting chance at the next election!
Jane Timbrell, Reid
NATURE BEING NATURE
Gary Fan (Letters, July 14) concedes my claims that the reef will bounce back, but questions the time needed and its final state. Using a recovery from recent bleaching, the answers are: five to 10 years and full recovery.
The crown of thorns many feared would destroy the reef in the 1960s came and went, leaving few scars. All very natural and nothing to do with climate change.
Doug Hurst, Chapman
A TRIVIAL PURSUIT
Given the gravity of pandemic issues, it's a pity there's such a lack of recognition that associated blame games are trivial pursuits.
M. F. Horton
Further to Crispin Hull's piece "Labor must seize this moment for change" (Forum, July 10), Labor could sponsor a troop of mounted horses, and train them to be their neigh-sayers. This would enable honourable members to concentrate upon positive policies for the betterment of the nation.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW
NO WONDER WE'RE CONFUSED
In The Canberra Times for July 14, we read "the ACT government has urged residents to minimise travel to those [states] still welcoming Canberrans". A few centimetres away we find "Canberrans are being encouraged to head to the snow this weekend". No wonder people are confused!
Alan Wilson, Yarralumla
SWITCH OF HEADWEAR
Today I called into my chemist on the way home from a motorbike ride. The lady said I had to remove my helmet before I could enter the shop. Then she said I had to put on a mask before I entered the shop.
Bruce Arthurson, Surf Beach NSW
HOME TESTING THE WAY
There has been plenty of coverage of Covid testing centres, but we should be asking why home testing kits are not widely available. In the UK, these kits are widely used and can be ordered free from the government via the internet.