Please, bear with us and what we have endured
Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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Please, bear with us and what we have endured
To our international tennis players, normally we love having you here. You bring a buzz to our city and we are so proud of our Australian Open. I am sure you are wondering why we are not as welcoming this year and why we are making it difficult for you with hotel lockdowns. Victoria had a tough 2020 when COVID-19 broke out of our hotel quarantine and spread through our community. More than 20,000 cases and 800 of our elderly citizens died.
Melbourne accepted 110 days of one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. We did not like it either, but we understood it was necessary if we were to get on top of this wicked virus. We were immensely proud when we finally reached no new community transmissions for two months. A few minor outbreaks were stamped on and, again, we have no cases except amongst returning travellers. Please bear with our tough laws. By the time the Australian Open commences, we will be cheering you on and hoping you have a good tournament. We ask nothing of you that we have not endured ourselves.
Sue Beazley, Beaumaris
Tantrums and complaints: it’s all part of the game
It is expected that players will adhere to strict quarantine arrangements. But I have my doubts if you watch their performances on court. Shrill and argumentative with umpires, smashing of racquets, hostile repartee with spectators and intemperate outbursts with court officials seem to be part of the arsenal of bad behaviour in order to circumvent the rules of tennis.
John Fitzgerald, Glen Huntly
Whatever happened to a level playing court?
Elite players have specific training needs for their muscles and skill levels. All players should be treated the same. If international players have to go into hard lockdown, then so should local players, irrespective of their COVID-19 status. Coronavirus disease ought not to have an impact on fair play.
Sue King, Somers
Well travelled, but with little cultural understanding
Ben Rothenberg (Opinion, 20/1) is right. Melburnians have experienced the fear and helplessness of a COVID-19 outbreak running rampant, but then have fully appreciated the measures it took to successfully suppress it. These included self-sacrifice, discipline and patience. We also ‘‘did it for each other’’.
Elite international athletes who travel constantly may not only be unaware of the cultural intricacies of the locales they visit, but of their nearby pain and disasters. Reality check. My brother in the UK has sadly informed me that the two garbage truck operators on his round have died from COVID-19: the entire depot has gone into isolation and there will be no garbage collection there for weeks.
Jari Evertsz, Croydon
How much more can these poor people endure?
Bernard Tomic’s partner Vanessa Sierra complains about being in lockdown. She says the food is s..t, they are playing video games for hours at a time and that she has to even wash her own hair. Now fair crack of the whip (or racquet), expecting her wash her own hair is just a bridge too far.
Margaret Priest, Wallsend
Tough restrictions, players, but they are worth it
To the players who have been forced into isolation, I have one suggestion. Reflect on what is happening in your own countries with COVID-19 and compare that to Victoria. Is it any wonder that you are in isolation?
Ken Finley, Mount Martha
An admirably strong leader has lost me
I have lauded Dan Andrews for his ‘‘go fast, go hard’’ attitude with the pandemic but he has lost me with the Australian Open. He says there are stringent quarantine regulations and that if Melbourne does not hold it, someone else will. What he does not say is that it is all about money and him. Overseas players will not be voting in the state election, but I will.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill
Lessons from the Donald
Donald Trump, thank you for the reminders of the fragility of our civil and democratic institutions. Of how power corrupts and of how readily principle and moral rectitude cower in the face of vested interest and threatened reprisal. Of how brittle the fabric of civil society, how readily expendable the lives of others, of how easily eschewed are ‘‘truth’’, ‘‘fact’’ and ‘‘science’’.
Of the destructive, brainwashing potential of social media and of the appeal bigotry, scapegoating and demagoguery have to our base instincts. Of the intoxicating power of Hitler-ite rallies – platforms for adoration, self-aggrandisement and incitement. Of how long-held confidence in the integrity of an electoral system is easily undermined. And of how complete that might have been but for the far nobler instincts of the ‘‘third pillar’’ you sought to mould in your image.
Lloyd Davies, Warragul
Deaf to such wise words
In her farewell speech, poor Melania Trump urged Americans to focus on peace rather than violence, love rather than hatred and others rather than themselves. Tragically such excellent advice was ignored by her deranged, misogynistic husband and his spineless Republican cohorts.
Peter Rutherford, Hamlyn Heights
Trump and a third party
In the wake of the disastrous Donald Trump presidency, the Republicans will be looking for a new beginning and hoping to garner the voter base that he so effectively controlled. But what will he do now, who will control his millions of ardent supporters and who will they follow? Pundits say he is politically and financially finished while others predict he has considerable financial donor support and a large voter base.
Trump is not the type to retire and disappear. In the 2024 election, the conservative duopoly, Republican and Democrat, will be substantially weakened electorally and may be challenged by a third party led by Trump with a potential shot at winning. If this happens, might it be the beginning of a dictatorial leadership not unlike that of 1930s Germany?
Jeffrey Kelson, Prahran
Our plastic dependency
‘‘Victoria doubles capacity to recycle glass into jars’’ (The Age, 19/1) filled me with despair. It is admirable that we can recycle so much more glass, but the main litter that sea creatures and birds pick up and eat (which causes their agonising death) is plastic. It is horrific that in Victoria, we only recycle about 10per cent of our plastic consumption. The newly announced state programs will not change that significantly.
It is time to make manufacturers who sell their products in plastic accountable for end-to-end processing. I am sure that with such an incentive, they will be able to innovate. This will ensure that either businesses which refuse to change, or consumers who refuse to change their buying habits, bear the cost.
Chrissie Schubert, Windsor
What a disappointment
As a resident of Port Phillip, I was delighted to hear our council was organising a sunrise ceremony on Australia Day ‘‘to commemorate and celebrate the culture of the First People of this land’’. However, upon receiving my attendance ticket, I saw that the event was called ‘‘a mourning reflection’’. Just when I thought we might come together as a community to happily celebrate our Aboriginal culture. Such a wasted opportunity to create harmony instead of division.
Susan Glover, South Melbourne
Let’s change the date
Surely the conversation surrounding Australia Day must be widened to also include the Queen’s Birthday holiday. Are we still the people possessed by the Britain of 1788? Cease the holiday and make that date the new Australia Day, rather than January 26.
Demetrios Kourelis, Mont Albert North
Loans must be repaid
Andrew Leigh (Opinion, 20/1) highlights how this pandemic has affected the lower socioeconomic classes the most. Meanwhile ‘‘savvy’’ businesspeople are capitalising on government handouts which in many cases end up lining the pockets of the business owners rather than the workers. No doubt most of them have been following the rules, legally if not morally.
What about businesses which manipulated their invoicing in order to qualify for JobKeeper, and subsequently went on to enjoy more profitable years than ever before? Surely, in future, it could not be too difficult to construct an assistance scheme that is more akin to our HECS scheme – so that it is a loan to businesses to tide them over during a rough patch, one that would be repaid out of their future profits?
Lorraine Grove, Albert Park
Blow to working people
The Premier says there is little prospect of international students arriving this year in large numbers (The Age, 19/1). These students contribute more than $14billion to Victoria’s economy, with every dollar supporting local businesses and workers. State government figures show that around 79,000 people rely on them for their livelihoods. The Premier has consigned these Victorians to at least a year of unemployment and, for some, poverty.
And the long-term effects on the international education sector will be severe and likely permanent – students will choose some place else to study. We are giving up on our single largest export income. We can safely bring international students into the country to help the local businesses that are doing it tough at home.
Professor Ken Hinchcliff, CEO, Trinity College, University of Melbourne
Maybe ditch the heels?
The models pictured in ‘‘Comfortable yet corporate chic’’ (Life, 19/1) certainly do not look too comfortable. One model is standing akimbo while the other looks like she is attempting not to fall over. It seems like those high heels they are wearing are not so comfortable after all.
Leanne Cleary, Niddrie
Keep curfew-free status
Melbourne Airport has asked the state government for the right to block housing and other developments in areas affected by flight noise (The Age, 18/1). Would it not be reasonable to assume that if one buys a property alongside a railway, one would hear trains, alongside a freeway one would hear traffic, and alongside an airport one would hear aircraft? And presumably property prices would reflect that situation.
As a property owner, I might push for change which would improve the value of my investment, but that is not necessarily in the best interests of local or state government or the airport authority. I would ‘‘let sleeping dogs lie’’ and maintain Tullamarine’s curfew-free status.
Peter Valder, Toorak
How could we know?
To those who say ‘‘if you bought under a flight path, it was your choice’’ or ‘‘bad luck’’: We bought 20 kilometres from the airport and paid more than $1 million in 2018. A year later Airservices Australia dropped the altitude that planes could fly at due to new technology, claiming it would not make a change to the noise levels.
Well, I had no idea I was even under a flight path until that happened as I had hardly ever heard a plane. Pre-COVID, it was absolutely miserable living with relentless noise levels. I could not even talk in my own living room. We do not know what will happen once flights resume. It seems it does not matter when you bought or what you knew about it, residents are at the mercy of Airservices Australia.
Candan McSweeney, West Footscray
Wonderful Test cricket
Thanks, Greg Baum, for another superb column – ‘‘To India: thank you and good night’’ (Sport, 20/1). I was disappointed that the last day started with the Indian team, which had been remarkably resilient and tenacious since Adelaide, looking content to draw, frustrating the Australian attack. However, as you say, five day Test cricket is like a no other game.
May I add thank you to all who managed the bubble and quarantine restrictions, the players, coaches and support staff, ground staff and broadcast personnel, and the limited but lively crowds, to bring us this terrific summer of Test cricket.
Lisa Frazer, Templestowe
Pride and humbleness
Good on you, India. You have showed how to play the game. No over-the-top celebrations on the field, no glaring and intimidation at batsmen by bully bowlers, no stump talk denigration, and no on-field hubris and peacock behaviour. India, you have demonstrated that cricket is still a gentleman’s game and that there is still a place for pride and humbleness in this great game.
Paul Burchill, Carlton
The best team won
There will be calls for inquiries and reviews into the Australians’ loss against the Indians in the Battle of Brisbane. Well, guess what, sometimes you lose because you are not good enough. The Indians showed more talent, incredible depth, and dare I say it, a resolve beyond what only a few Australians could show. The rest of our mob appeared to be getting a little ahead of themselves. Congratulations to the Indians, they were great to watch and they revealed flair and determination we could not match.
Marshall Toohey, Fairfield
Yes, India saw Paine
Last week, Australian captain Tim Paine told Indian batsman Ravichandran Ashwin, ‘‘See you at the Gabba’’. Very prescient and Shakespearean in its foretelling.
Loucille McGinley, Brighton East
Time to ban duck shooting
With waterbird numbers at their lowest on record and 90per cent of eastern Australia’s native waterbirds gone since 1983, further state-sanctioned slaughters cannot be allowed to continue. It is time for the Victorian ALP to move to the right of history by being stewards of our flora and fauna. It should ban duck shooting rather than continue to play game keeper for a toxic few.
Helen Round, East Trentham
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
The Donald Duck cartoon is over. Let the feature begin.
Michael Dillon, Woodend
Goodbye and good riddance, Donald. Close the door behind you.
Mayda Semec, Brighton East
Vale, Donald. You’ve given a clear definition to that nasty word, ‘‘loser’’.
Kim van den Berghe, Tolmie
A bully can never be a true leader. Now that he’s left the stage, let the real show begin.
Anne Kruger, Rye
Jonathan Morris, Clifton Hill
Hooray, no more Trumpeting.
Sue Rodwell, Drouin
Australia loses a Test series. Unpardonable? Where’s Trump when you need him?
David Price, Camberwell
Cancel the Australian Open and let’s have another Test match.
Rob Willis, Wheelers Hill
‘‘Unbelievable’’ was tossed around inappropriately by commentators. The word is ‘‘magnificent’’.
Kevin Christensen, Maffra
Nathan Lyon’s bowling average and strike rate are becoming quite the envy of most batsmen.
James Alexander, Melbourne
Will the players’ order include French champagne or respirators?
Mary Edney, Beaumaris
Tell me, what’s so good about the tennis in Melbourne again?
Brooke Martin, McCrae
While in hotel quarantine, I missed my invitation to negotiate the conditions and length of my stay.
Sandra Bennett, Hawthorn East
Poor Novak is missing his caviar.
David Allen, Bayswater North
How about we sell the Australian Open and buy an infectious diseases facility with the proceeds.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully
Re Kyrgios and Djokovic. Now that’s a tool calling a tool a tool.
Matt Dunn, Leongatha
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