It is ATAGI's role to provide medical advice to government about vaccinations. Unfortunately this is confused in discussion by the federal government's unwillingness to make and own consequential decisions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has, in his usual style, attempted to foist responsibility for his policies on ATAGI by, in fact, failing to make decisions at all and instead blindly following ATAGI's advice: "It's not my fault, ATAGI made me do it".
The decisions he is not making should be based on a range of inputs in addition to the narrow technical advice. These should include economic, mental health, social cohesion, the current situation, political realities vis a vis the states and territories, and in particular, the common good vs individual advantage.
Making, and enforcing, these decisions is one of his jobs - a fact that apparently needs to be drawn to his attention.
Considering the common good above individual or corporate "rights" (or chances of survival) is increasingly rare in Australia. In the face of Sydney's disastrous outbreak governments need to articulate and implement a clear and unambiguous policy requiring every Sydney adult to receive the AstraZenica vaccination.
ATAGI's current "strong recommendation", without government codification and enforcement, is as ineffective as Berejiklian's "please do the right thing" lockdown.
Julian Robinson, Narrabundah
Who is the half-wit?
The irresponsible anti-lockdown protesters have been charitably called half-wits. In years to come those delaying effective action on climate change will been viewed with a similar level of disgust. Mr Morrison, stop the obfuscation and facilitate a just transition to a low carbon economy. Such action could offset your many failings in relation to the vaccination rollout.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Where are the masks?
Why aren't we wearing masks in Canberra? COVID-19 does not recognise the boundaries that define Canberra within NSW, so why do we? Many people work in Canberra and live in NSW, crossing the border daily. Many people work in NSW and live in Canberra, crossing the border daily.
Why is the mask getting thrown on the floor or put back on every time the border is crossed? If this wasn't so serious, it would be laughable.
Sydney, and to a lesser degree regional NSW, is suffering from a horrific COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns. Meanwhile, in Canberra, we are fortunate to not have this issue. But it is only a matter of time and luck. Why don't we get proactive and get everyone wearing masks? Then, when COVID-19 arrives, we will have already taken measures to slow down or even stop the spread.
If it did get out of control here, there would be panic and lockdowns, closed businesses and unnecessary financial stress for hard-working people.
Ian Seretin, Gowrie
It is very disingenuous of The Canberra Times to claim it is conducting a "right to decide" campaign rather than a "right to euthanasia" campaign, which I suggest is its real agenda.
Why campaign for the ACT to have autonomous decision-making capacity on this issue if nothing changes as a result? Responsible media should report the news, not create the news.
If the ACT wants the rights of a state, then it should apply to become a state. It's wrong to presume that NSW will legalise physician-assisted suicide. It is also irresponsible to ask the Federal Parliament to prioritise this legislation for review when the country is in the grips of a pandemic.
Dr Marion Harris, Melbourne, Vic
Position is impertinent
It is an impertinence that federal members of the Labor Party may engage in a conscience vote on the repeal of the Andrews legislation preventing the ACT and the NT from making their own laws on voluntary euthanasia.
The Federal Parliament is not being asked to pass or not pass laws on euthanasia. Parliament is being asked only to allow the people of the territories to make their own decisions on this matter.
The only conscience issue is whether or not to allow a democratic process to proceed.
Geoff Rohan, Kambah
Go to Fyshwick
I was a supporter of light rail stage 1 but am becoming increasingly convinced that light rail stage 2 is a colossal and unjustified waste of the ACT's limited resources, and will impact drastically and unavoidably on the inner south's heritage qualities, particularly Commonwealth Avenue.
Fyshwick businesses have made the good point that a new line in their direction would make more sense than to Woden. Fyshwick is one of the largest employment and commercial centres in the ACT. Canberra Avenue is becoming more congested and will soon be approaching its capacity limits.
A light rail (or preferably "trackless tram" using 21st-century technology) along Constitution Avenue picking up Russell, along Kings Avenue through Parkes/Barton and then Canberra Avenue to Fyshwick, would be much more useful than the silly Woden route.
Richard Johnston, Townsville, Qld
Writer wrong on Griffins
Steve Evans would do well to familiarise himself with the work of Walter Burley Griffin before he declares it time to "quietly move away from the vision" of Griffin and Marion Mahoney. ("Let's not be slaves to the Griffin vision for Canberra," Canberra Times 25 July 2021)
Contrary to Evans's assertion, Griffin said nothing about banning overhead powerlines for trams on Commonwealth Avenue.
Though it is a moot point. If Evans did study Griffin's work, he'd conclude that Walter Burley Griffin would, were he still alive, be wise enough to know that the tram is the technology of a previous century; that lower-cost, more-flexible, zero-carbon public transport systems are now readily available and much preferred.
Bruce Wright, Latham
I would never say that the majority of people involved in the mass protests in Sydney and Melbourne have nothing to protest about. Of course they do.
Morrison, Frydenberg, Hunt and Colbeck have a lot to answer for, and the states have had to deal with the results of their carelessness. Dan Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian have tried to provide the leadership that has been lacking from the Commonwealth, but lockdowns are harsh remedies.
However I think the protestors should think of the overburdened nurses who are called on to work long hours trying to save the lives of people dying a distressing death from a Covid illness. Also the ordinary unwell who will miss out on treatment and long-awaited surgery because there are no beds. Think about who will pay the price for the freedom to herd together without masks. Will the protestors wear a badge saying that they and their families are prepared to be turned away from the hospital when they present with the symptoms of Delta COVID-19?
K. L. Calvert, Downer
Our secret history
From Jasper Lindell ("Modernist house will not receive heritage protection", July 24, p3) we learn that Derek Wrigley's 1959 Paral House in Narrabundah has been cleared for demolition. The house was built for the family of the photographer who later took the famous "Faceless Men" photographs at a midnight meeting of the Labor Party's federal conference at the Hotel Kingston in 1963.
Armed with a camera, he drove from his residence in Brockman Street to the Hotel Kingston at the behest of the journalist Alan Reid. This connection should not be forgotten even if the house is demolished.
Stephen Holt, Macquarie
Theory and practice
It is desirable that APS staff be taught how to deliver programs. They should also do it effectively. Under Section 3(a) of the Public Service Act, staff should be "efficient and effective in serving the government, the Parliament and the Australian public".
In his earlier response to the Thodey review, the Prime Minister agreed to embed the means of demonstrating this effectiveness, through program evaluation. In US administration it's become structural.
Yet APS departments "do" evaluation with significantly different priorities. How about centralised courses on program evaluation at the APS Academy?
Dr Peter Graves, Public Service Research Group, University of NSW, ACT
How much for Mathias?
There should be an immediate investigation into the cost of the PM's support for Mathias Cormann's bid for a plum job at the UN; the numerous phone calls and all-expenses-paid trips by private jet (RAAF) to numerous countries. As Mathias Cormann had already resigned from Parliament, he was in effect a private citizen. He should repay the full cost to the taxpayers of Australia as he got the job he desired.
Clive Broomfield, Googong, NSW
TO THE POINT
AND SAUDI ARABIA?
Bradley Perrett ("Japan is rapidly becoming a key defence partner", Forum, July 24) predicts non-attendance by China at the Brisbane Olympics. Does he welcome attendance by Saudi Arabia, a country with an equally bad human-rights record, and a regular importer of Australian military goods to use against civilians in Yemen?
Paul Feldman, Macquarie
MISSING IN ACTION
Penleigh Boyd is correct again. Where's the ACT Liberals' transport policy? (Letters, July 26). Liberal leader Elizabeth Lee has the opportunity to expand the ACT road and parking infrastructure for high-speed electric cars and buses, just like Sweden. Labor's spin on the light rail isn't truthful.
John Skurr, Deakin
Graham Anderson (Letters, July 27) writes that the 2020 ACT election was "at best an 'on balance' decision". The combined vote for the parties now comprising the government was 51.3 per cent to the opposition's 33.8 per cent. If that's "on balance", I'm a tightrope walker.
Charles Gascoigne, Ainslie
THINK OF OTHERS
I hope these times will leave people thinking more about people in permanent lockdown, such as prisoners and detainees, and also of the homeless.
Gary Frances, Bexley, NSW
It is bizarre for Nigel Thompson (Letters, July 27) to accuse the Olympic Committee president of misogyny for "mansplaining" to the Queensland Premier that she "must" stay in Japan, at public expense, for the Olympic opening ceremony. It has now been revealed this was done at her request, giving her a gold medal in hypocrisy.
John Coochey, Chisholm
A FINE INCONSISTENCY
A removalist recklessly exports COVID-19 to Melbourne, pushing a state into lockdown for a fortnight, and is fined $200. I'm detected departing the Civic CBD at 47km/h, driving through a green traffic light, and am fined $253. One of us is very lucky.
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
Many Liberals don't agree with lockdowns. Some want to unleash it so economic activity is not impeded. Inadequate income support increases pressure from a desperate public to let it rip as we start counting the bodies. It's the neoliberal way. Or is it just breathtaking incompetence?
David Perkins, Reid
THE COMEBACK TRAIL?
I just received a flyer from Senator Seselja seeking my opinion regarding differential car-registration costs for electric and petrol vehicles. This is clearly an ACT issue, not a federal issue. Is Senator Seselja trying for a comeback to ACT politics?
Graeme Rankin, Holder
DOES NOT COMPUTE
Isn't "animal-free dairy" ("Why some farmers are getting in bed with animal-free dairy", canberratimes.com.au, July 28) an oxymoron?
Don Sephton, Greenway
The government lobbies ambassadors on the reef so they swallow the fib it's OK. When they lobby it on climate change, we don't play by those rules.
Peter Stanley, Dickson
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