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Illustration: Vintage Cathy WilcoxCredit:
The behaviour of Health Minister Brad Hazzard at the parliamentary inquiry into lockdown was that of a belligerent child (“No Minister, the government does not get to avoid lockdown scrutiny”, August 11). People’s lives have been lost, perhaps due to the reluctance of the NSW government to go into a hard and fast lockdown. It is right and proper that an answerable inquiry be held. It is not right nor proper for the Minister, elected by the people of NSW, to hold them in such contempt. Jo White, Bulli
The points made by you, the anonymous respiratory physician, about how to get good Delta management results in low-income migrant communities are positive and focused on solutions (“What we are doing isn’t working”, August 11). By contrast, the Health Minister’s comments about strategy failures have so far been very much about blaming the victim. He is not offering positive leadership that will achieve desired outcomes. This was shown again at the inquiry. The Premier needs to replace Hazzard with someone who can see issues objectively and solve the problems, not just grandstand on his privileged prejudices. Tom Mangan, Woy Woy
I’m not surprised the Minister was a tad testy at his appearance before the inquiry. I would have thought he and his Chief Health Officer had more important matters to attend to without fronting a political jaunt. I have watched their daily press conferences. Obviously, the committee members have not. Had they done so, they would not be asking the bleeding obvious. Les Sisley, Kelso
To take up more time of the exceptionally hard-working Kerry Chant and Minister Hazzard to criticise and gain political favour is beyond belief. Amazed and disgusted.Meri Lane, MacMasters Beach
Hazzard’s performance was nothing if not arrogant. His peevish responses to perfectly reasonable questions which deserved equally reasonable answers underline the supercilious attitude with which politicians regard voters, who have every right to have transparency from people elected to parliament supposedly to represent the interests of the electorate. According to Hazzard, the only way to get critical information is by joining the government. This is a farce, but also a feature of government at both state and federal levels, where transparency in decision-making is so often lacking. Gary Mulley, Collaroy Plateau
Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:
Byron Bay residents are furious as to how someone travelled from Sydney when the “strictest lockdown” was in place (“Byron Bay seethes as Sydney blow-in sparks lockdown”, August 11). Very soon all the regional areas will be feeling the same. Why doesn’t the Premier let go of her ego and put a ring of steel around Sydney? Is she waiting for the virus to spread throughout the state or for the daily cases to shoot to over 700, like Victoria, and then react? Ariyur Rangarajan, Baulkham Hills
If I went to work and did the same thing that wasn’t working, each day, I am sure that I would be told to do something differently (“NSW stuck in limbo”, August 11). Why is no one telling the Berejiklian government that, or are they being told and they just ignore the advice?
Lockdown must be more tightly controlled or this scenario will continue for months. Ian Dick, East Ballina
The Department of Education’s plan for getting students and teachers back to school beggars belief, in fact I’m wondering if it’s all a spoof, perhaps stolen from an episode of Yes Minister, a little jest by the Department to lift our spirits during these sombre times (“Ex-Military man to help with school return plan”, August 11).
Will the Department consult teachers, parents or students in developing their plans? Certainly not. They have a British ex-parachutist who now works for KPMG who’s going to develop a masterplan, once he’s deciphered the bureaucratese in his guideline memo. Why is there such an obsession with ex-military officers? No disrespect but does he really know more about Sydney schools than teachers, parents and students? Merona Martin, Meroo Meadow
The first task of the KPMG consultant should be to convert the brief from the NSW Education Department from gobbledegook into simple English. After reading the statement from the Department I am not surprised that within their thousands of staff there is no person capable of developing the school plan without external help. Lin Sinton, Killarney Heights
Perhaps the ex-military parachute officer could help the Premier with a personal extraction plan. For sure the report will contain lots of military buzz words such as overarching, underpinning, planning factors and courses of action, all accompanied by the military planners weapon of choice, meaningless TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Experience in children’s education – “negative, ghostrider”. James Foote, Abbotsford
What an inspired move to find an ex-paratrooper from KPMG, who “lists no experience of running schools or school systems on his LinkedIn profile” to help with a COVID-safe back-to-school program by the Department. Can we perhaps expect some lateral thinking about avoiding crowded public transport and parents congregating at the gate at drop-off and pick-up times by parachuting individual students into the school grounds, instead of the boring old stuff you’d get by consulting teachers, principals, parents and students? What a tragicomedy. Al Svirskis, Mount Druitt
Tell me I’m dreaming: after seven weeks of lockdown most recently including announcing and reversing return to school plans, now private consultants have been retained to “take the initial lead on scoping this piece of work”. And the Department says, “Once we have an overview of how this may be scoped, we will then engage our streamleads.” If anything can guarantee NSW remaining stuck in limbo, this is it. Please get the kids back to school. Ian Wylie, Paddington
Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce are not doing their jobs. They are the two highest ranked leaders in this country but they are not leading the country (“Joyce not interested in target unless action costed”, August 11). They are not leading toward a climate-safe future for our children and they are not leading our country out of COVID-19 devastation. Shouldn’t a leader see the big picture, inspire the people and then take them with him/her? No, all we get is deny, dodge and deflect. Carla Gillis, Hallidays Point
Morrison will not sign a blank cheque to address our emissions and reduce the impact of climate change, but he is happy to commit future governments to signing a bigger blank cheque for the cost of not taking adequate action now. When will he take off the blinkers so he can see what is glaringly obvious to most of us? Sharyn Hubert, North Epping
PM, regional areas are already bearing the cost. Farm profits have declined steadily for some time. Climate change is such an opportunity for Australia, particularly regional Australia. We have extensive deposits of the vital elements in batteries, we have a massive solar resource and a massive wind resource. Why are we not pursuing these opportunities instead of the current appalling do-nothing approach? Michael McMullan, Five Dock
Barnaby Joyce’s excuse for not taking stronger measures against climate change is the divestiture of vegetation rights in regional Australia. I have news for him. At the rate the climate is worsening, there will be little or no vegetation to divest. Thiam Ang, Beecroft
Joyce questioning the price of cutting greenhouse gas emissions is like quibbling about the cost of lifeboats on the Titanic before it sailed. Simon Pitts, Riverview
I had a chuckle at the editorial’s headline (“PM must heed climate warning or pay on poll day”, August 11). Didn’t we all say this before the last federal election? I suspect that, again this time, the average Australian, who has near-zero interest in politics, will at the last minute rise from their coma just in time to be targeted by the Coalition’s next artfully executed scare campaign, resulting in a “mandate” to destroy the planet for another term. It’s not as if Labor is providing any alternative vision. Graham Meale, Boambee East
The imposed land and property sales target of $3 billion on NSW government departments including education sheds light on why the NSW government is so intent in closing three of the four public schools in Murwillumbah and has let the local TAFE college run down so much that it is now a shadow of its former self (“NSW departments hit by $3b sell off target”, August 11). Christiaan Goudkamp, Murwillumbah
This most recent episode of selling the farm is typical of the short-term thinking of Dominic Perrottet et al. The clue is in the government spokesman’s first sentence: “we continue to best match our assets to the current needs of the people.” What about some long-term planning and matching the needs of the people into the future? Didn’t we recently have trouble finding a site for new schools? What about the demountables in schools? Surely that indicates a lack of long-term planning. Jim Croke, Stanmore
The current lack of leadership over the COVID-19 vaccination is infuriating (Letters, August 11). My cardiology practice has thousands of patients with heart conditions taking blood thinners on its books. When ATAGI sowed doubt about the risk-benefit of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the office was inundated with phone calls from patients instructed by their GPs to ring in, even though at the time, there were no heart conditions that indicated preference for one particular vaccine. My indemnity advised that unlike GPs, specialists giving out advice, by phone, may not be medico-legally covered. It was not feasible or safe to arrange face-to-face consultations for that many people.
Now ATAGI, with the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, has issued a statement that “Pfizer is a recommended vaccine” for those with heart conditions. Does that mean AZ is not?
We are not getting out of the pandemic any time too soon. The inadequate jab targets are just not going to cut it. The government needs to form a war cabinet with all sides of politics to make hard, bipartisan decisions. Mandate vaccination — no jab, no work or play. Clearly identify who must have Pfizer and who must have AZ and disseminate that information widely in the media. If it doesn’t, I might have to close up. Dr David Ramsay, Bexley
I, like many others, eagerly look forward to the PM’s no doubt robust and illuminating commentary on the fate of the NBN’s chief, just as he did with the chief of Australia Post and her decision to pay bonuses (“NBN chief defends $78 million bonuses paid to executives”, August 11). Bob Cameron, Coffs Harbour
Any school receiving money from the government, which means from the Australian taxpayer, should have to abide by the laws other employers must follow (Letters, August 11). They should not be exempt from discrimination laws and allowed to fire teachers because of their sexual preference or other unjust reasons. State-run institutions must not discriminate on these grounds, nor on the grounds of a person’s religious beliefs, despite the fact that most Australians do not identify as being religious and the overwhelming majority voted for same-sex marriage. Sally Morris, Leichhardt
I believe that any private enterprise has the right to employ whomever they please that meets with the cultural and social environment that the entity has created. If it’s discriminatory, perhaps a prospective employee who doesn’t fit that culture is better off working somewhere else.
Private Christian-based schools, however, that dismiss people due to their sexual orientation but at the same time have their hand out for taxpayer funding is abhorrent and unacceptable. Tony Bennett, Brokew
There is something wrong in this country when a religious employer can legally fire a good, honest employee for being gay, but in the midst of a global pandemic, any employer cannot insist that an employee is vaccinated to protect those around them. It’s OK to be unvaccinated, but not to be gay? God help us. Kathryn Newburg, Burraneer
In this time of anxiety, midst a sense of flying blind, I nominate the wartime song Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer (Letters, August 11).Kate Perkins, Bundanoon
In these times of endless troublesand lockdown bubbles, just join in the famous Monty Python song: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. John Watson, Castlecrag
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. William Bielefeldt, Kembla Grange
Limbo Rock by Chubby Checker (“NSW stuck in limbo”, August 11). Geoffrey Williamson, Woollahra
Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control. Gerard Baz, Kensington
After more than 30 years as a teacher I can’t get over how the 11am Sometimes Gladness (apologies to Bruce Dawe) press conference is like a school assembly. The benign principal gladly tells us what a great school we are and what a wonderful job the staff are doing. The gruff deputy principal then berates the students for the hazards they are creating by not doing the right thing (including who should be on detention this week). Finally, the overworked head teacher-welfare chants out a mantra from the executive which even she doesn’t seem to believe. Can’t wait for the bell on this one.
Barry Ffrench, Cronulla
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
As a firefighter, I’m used to hearing an alarm and responding. The Morrison government has to do the same
From Talks Too Much: ″Our federal government is a case study in inaction. The utter absence of anything resembling vision or leadership is especially telling when we are confronted by threats requiring both. Would be laughable were it not so dangerous.″
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