As a naval veteran I think I have been vaccinated for most known diseases. My daughter has lived through the COVID-19 pandemic in London where cases have been astronomically high in comparison to Australia. At the first opportunity, she was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine as she is a teacher in her 40s and needed the protection.
Being a wartime baby, I lived through the diseases that wracked the world in the 1940s and 1950s. diphtheria, polio, smallpox, scarlet fever and, of course, influenza. Millions died, but millions more survived because they were vaccinated. I cannot remember if the TGA was around then, but as school kids we were lined up and vaccinated. There was no option, even though - from memory - we had to have a second polio vaccination as the first one was not fully effective.
If those that are refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 had lived through those times, perhaps they may have lined up like my wife and I did at the first opportunity.
The world saw those terrible diseases basically disappear, and we no longer see kids maimed and wearing braces as a result of their illness. In my family, four cousins in one household contracted diphtheria. Thankfully, all lived but with life-long consequences.
My message to all Australians is get vaccinated. The after-effects will not be as bad as contracting the disease.
Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce likens our emissions policy to a restaurant menu ("Joyce refuses 2050 net zero promise", July 19, p13). He would like to see what's on the menu and the cost before he makes his choice. However, the Coalition has already had the opportunity to cook up a plan, plus cost estimates for emissions targets.
It is commonly known as the federal budget. Barnaby Joyce the Australian public is hungry for change. We would like our meal prepared using electricity, not gas or a coal-burning antique stove.
We would also prefer our very rare planet is not burned to a crisp.
Anne O'Hara, Wanniassa
Support the GPs
I have just been to my local doctor with the PM's words "talk to your GP" ringing in my ears.
I think I should speak to one of the PM's staffers about this glib assumption that firstly, we mostly have a particular practitioner who takes an interest in "being our GP" and secondly, that he or she will be available for an appointment in under a fortnight (often even under three weeks).
From my observation the turnover of GPs in any particular practice is enormous. Many only work three days a week because of the stress of the job and seeing a GP often involves recounting one's medical history in a few minutes to a perfect stranger because there hasn't been time to read the notes on your case.
Really it is ridiculous that with a PM constantly referring us to our GPs there are nowhere near enough of them to go round even in privileged Canberra.
It has not surprised me to read that the ACT health budget has been reducing over the last few years (at least according to Jon Stanhope).
We need much more health money not only to shorten the appalling wait we have in ACT emergency departments but also to resource the provision of GPs who can save the state millions in terms of early diagnosis and personalised and continuous support.
What is the Barr government doing about this now that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our need for a GP to whom we can speak within a reasonable time.
Jill Sutton, Watson
Who's the hypocrite?
ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja accuses the federal Labor leader of being "simply pro-euthanasia and a hypocrite" ("'Hypocrisy' for Albo to blame me on rights: Zed", July 18, p2), but I question who is being hypocritical here.
Mr Albanese is in favour of voluntary assisted dying (VAD), but is also in favour of allowing a conscience vote on the issue for federal Labor MPs. He does not attempt to impose his view on them or on ACT citizens.
On the other hand "Liberal" Senator Seselja attempts to force his religion-based view of VAD on all MPs and on the ACT citizens he is supposed to represent. This is despite more than 75 per cent of Australians supporting the ACT's right to legalise VAD.
If Senator Seselja wishes to be respected, he would bow to the will of the people he represents.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Responses to my possum letter (Letters, July 14) were as emotional and condescending as anticipated. What to say? First, I must apologise for being anthropocentric: it's a human trait.
Ronald Elliott (Letters, July 15) tells us that possums are "cute" - his word - and that visiting academics like feeding them bananas, but I don't see that as sufficient grounds for me to move to an urban wasteland in China, as he suggests.
Gerry Gillespie (also July 15) doesn't really know me well enough to declare me totally ignorant (remember your manners, Mr Gillespie), though I agree that we have made a mess of natural Australia and continue to do so.
Obviously we should protect and regenerate what remains of wild Australia. But I take issue with his instruction that I should know my "place" because, he says, possums know theirs. Do they? I know my place - it is urban and suburban. Possums may become urbanised, like the foxes we see around Woden, but cities are not their native environment.
So the question remains: how are we to manage excess possum numbers in urban areas? Not every householder will think possum boxes are the answer.
Incidentally, I'd like to think that I had at least one supportive correspondent out there. I'm sure some exist, but they're probably playing possum.
Peter Fuller, Chifley
ADF no answer
Bill Stefaniak must be kidding. He wrote "Our ADF is there to aid the civil power, which it did brilliantly in the 2020 bushfires and is doing so again in COVID" (Letters, July 17). Has he forgotten that it was an ADF helicopter that started the horrific bushfire that burnt over 80 per cent of the ACT's Namadgi National Park in early 2020?
In belittling the role of civilian personnel in crises such as these, Stefaniak seems to be claiming for the ADF - whose primary task is to keep us safe from invasion - expertise in a broader range of circumstances than is warranted.
Keeping Australia safe from invasion by other people (a task that has been subverted to far more offensive roles) is quite different from keeping us safe from viruses and the increasing ravages of climate change.
The Defence Department itself states that the ADF is "not trained, equipped or certified to undertake ground-based or aerial bush firefighting".
Stefaniak might consider a greater degree of respect for civilians with skills in managing civilian crises. He might also consider the impacts of limitless military budgets while civilian emergency agencies struggle for funding.
Greater respect for these skills from our federal government - reflected in adequate funding for our emergency agencies - would help ensure a more robust nation with specialised knowledge and experience where it's needed.
Fighting wars is not the same as fighting bushfires or viruses; our government seems bent on the former while handling our real threats extremely poorly.
Sue Wareham, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Cook
The ACT government is constructing a multi-use path for walkers, wheelchairs, mobility device users and bicycle riders travelling from Kambah to Athllon Drive, but on the south side of Sulwood and not the north side.
The proposed south route requires expensive, complex earthworks and drainage, the destruction of many mature trees (familiar?), moving underground services and destroying part of the sound berm. It will not be wheelchair or child friendly because of moderately steep grades.
All users will need to cross Sulwood Drive at the Athllon Drive chicane and then negotiate up to three additional crossings. The government advises there will be an expensive tunnel under Sulwood Drive at Athllon but this is not yet funded.
The Inkster and Mannheim crossings are below the level of Sulwood reducing the visibility by drivers and riders until late into their turn which is particularly problematic for motorcyclists who will be leaning into the corner before users are visible.
The northern option is drained, devoid of trees and the gradient is regular. The ACT government argues that the north route will go through the Mount Taylor walkers car park. There is plenty of room for path users and slow moving vehicles plus it is already drained and sealed.
The proposed route is stop-start with four dangerous road crossings whereas the north route requires one crossing only which can easily be made safe. Will the speed limit drop to 70 or even 60? Motorists will be happy.
Peter Gamble, Queanbeyan
TO THE POINT
Why would you trust doctors and scientists with years of training and PhDs on this deadly virus when you can trust politicians and cash-for-comment media types with opinions about vaccines. Only in Australia, may I say.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point, NSW
I agree with Murray Upton (Letters, July 17) who opined reporting should be governed by the truth and moral integrity and that it should have nothing to do with the left or right. It's a shame the ABC appears to think otherwise.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Has the WHO recently declared a new strain of coronavirus? According to the Queensland Premier we now have a "Sydney strain".
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
POINT IS MOOT
John Howarth (Letters, July 20) asks whether politicians are essential workers. I suggest they are neither.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
CALL IT OUT
The Alpha and Delta variant names should revert back to the Chinese virus and the Indian variant. We should name and shame those countries which don't seem to care about spreading this deadly virus.
Mokhles K Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
Katie Hopkins is being deported for breaching the conditions of a visa which should never have been granted. Was she arrested at 5am and confined in immigration detention pending a decision on her deportation as happened to the Biloela family who were not breaching the conditions of their visas?
James Gralton, Garran
IT'S A MYSTERY
So Canberra is the most expensive city in which to rent. Yet a The Canberra Times article in April revealed that 400 public housing properties were vacant. That says it all about ACT government priorities.
Gordon Soames, Curtin
We now know the British right-wing commentator who has been deported because of her blatant breach of COVID-19 rules was brought in by the NSW government. What does that say about the ideological bent of the NSW government?
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
It appears ScoMo's miracle election win was not so much an act of God as a triumph of Machiavellian manipulation.
N Ellis, Belconnen
From time to time I see a TV commercial for an ultrasonic device said to disperse mice infestations, presumably to neighbouring properties. Has Mr Rudd, perhaps unwittingly, tried to take credit for a similar outcome to the disadvantage of other countries?
Geoff Mongan, Civic
So ACT Labor has replaced "social justice" with "socialism" in its stated aims at its recent conference. Full marks for honesty because there hasn't been much "social justice" in our Labor/Green local governments in the areas of housing, rates and planning.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
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