Hindsight is wonderful

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Hindsight is wonderful

It seemed inevitable that someone in the cabinet had to pay the price for the hotel quarantine debacle and this may not be the end of the resignations once the inquiry hands down its findings.
No one will come out of this mess with any credit, including the Leader of the Opposition, who from day one has offered nothing constructive and merely said that everything the government has been doing is wrong.

It is quite sad for the nation, which is facing its most serious health issue of recent times, that there are many who are more interested in advancing their own and their party interests, rather than offering genuine and compassionate support to those who have the responsibility to fix the many unforeseen issues.

In hindsight many, if not all, would have handled the situation differently, but, unfortunately, hindsight was not available when decisions were made.
Bruce MacKenzie, South Kingsville

Thanks for your service
Thank you, Jenny Mikakos, for your service to Victoria prior to and at a time of an unprecedented, vicious disease. The need of people for a head is craven.

Sometimes bad things happen when the situation is just not initially controllable. Ask those who fouled up in NSW with the Ruby Princess.
Jenni King, Camberwell

Raising an old debate
When University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell says Victoria must address the question ‘‘What is our tolerance for death in this global pandemic’’ (‘‘State faces life-and-death issue’’, The Sunday Age, 20/9), he raises a debate that goes back to Aristotle but is having a renaissance with some latter-day economists.

It raises the question: Is it morally right to damage the economy, which dramatically affects society’s young, to protect the old and vulnerable? This takes us back to the idea of whether we view the individual as having intrinsic value. Some economists and philosophers would claim we do not, as individuals, have intrinsic value. The value we have is an extrinsic one gained by our productivity and value to the wider society and economy.

Thus it is a short step to say we should open the market up completely while doing what we can to reduce the impact of the virus to the elderly. The next step is to do a cost-benefit analysis and ask why we should expend costly resources on unproductive people in aged care. I am hoping for a few more productive years and am not ready for the state to hand me the cup of hemlock.
Lance Sterling, Burwood

Some simple guidelines
Wendy Tuohy (‘‘Come on, this is no way to cope’’, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 20/9) is right to discuss tolerance of others in the pandemic. However, until there is a clear understanding of what is acceptable behaviour over the wearing of masks in public, those individuals showing scant regard for the welfare of others should continue to be chastised by the responsible element of our society, albeit in polite but forceful terms.

Masks are going to be a feature of everyday life for some considerable time, but the perceived new safe environment will only encourage more people to flout the rules.

I ask Brett Sutton to reinforce these simple guidelines: masks will be worn in all outside public places at all times and completely cover mouth and nose, repositioning a mask as others approach is not acceptable, food and refreshments are to be consumed at point of sale or in designated areas, not used as an excuse to avoid wearing one when exercising, and, joggers and cyclists will retain their exemptions, regrettably in my opinion, but be expected to maintain ample distancing from walkers.
Robert Phillips, Templestowe

A taste of others’ lives
For many, COVID-19 has wrought an existential crisis: there has been extreme disruption to the safe, pleasant and fulfilling lives that most people enjoy. This upheaval of daily life can be rationalised; the general loss of autonomy accepted as necessary in the circumstances. However, we are essentially animals and therefore at the mercy of our base, unconscious hormonal responses.

The wider population is now experiencing something those who live in poverty, the long-term unemployed or chronically underemployed, those with insecure or casual work, insecure housing, ill health or the like know all too well: the disabling impact of chronic stress.

Our federal government has the power to do something about this by ensuring a permanent increase in Newstart/JobSeeker so that it is at least above the poverty line.
Maxine Hardinge, Clunes

The blame lies here
While apportioning blame for hotel quarantine, why not look at the people who were supposed to be in quarantine and couldn’t control their urges for a couple of weeks.

Ultimately the blame lies there.
Robyn Lovell, Epping

We are flexible
Your correspondent’s letter (The Sunday Age, 20/9) stating teachers and their union would ‘‘most likely’’ resist any proposed catch up education is inaccurate and unfair.

Before and during the online study program a large number of teachers have always helped, giving up their free periods, lunchtimes and after-school time to help students, not simply with their learning, but also ensuring their wellbeing is protected. Many staff, including me, are helping the VCE students during the September holidays.

I have been a union member for more than 15 years and never seen or heard the union object to working outside the designated frameworks.

We only wish to be treated fairly.
Robert Trafficante, Armadale

A case of what not to do
Critics of the Coalition government’s approach to the NBN implementation have identified correctly the embarrassing strategic backflip that the recent announcement to upgrade the technology implies.

Attempts to sugar-coat the announcement fail to recognise the cost of lost opportunity from the botched job and the additional costs of having to do the the work twice.

The rollout has been a clear case of the adage ‘‘penny wise, pound foolish’’ and should be used as a management school case study of how not to do major public infrastructure.
Richard Clarke, Malvern

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