Premier, ''holding the line'' against a second wave just doesn’t cut it (''Lockdown a last resort for NSW'', August 4). This virus doesn’t let you hold the line. There is no win-win situation. It’s either win or lose, and at the moment we’re losing.
The only acceptable ''win'' outcome for us is zero community transmission, and that is getting further out of reach. Numbers are steadily growing. Crucially, more and more cases cannot be traced to a known source.
Unfortunately, you failed to close the Victorian border early enough. It’s only a matter of time before the spot fires which have occurred become infernos. Don’t make the same mistake again. Lock us down now. Stage 3, please, for at least four weeks. Otherwise, Victoria’s fate will soon be ours. Pam Timms, Suffolk Park
Illustration: Cathy Wilcox Credit:
When will they ever learn? Unbelievable to hear that one-third of NSW COVID-19 cases on Monday were returned travellers from Victoria and yet enforced and supervised quarantine is not in place (''Airport arrivals relieved to land in a safer state'', August 4).
It’s been shown that people when advised to self-quarantine consistently flaunt the advice. It won’t be long before NSW follows the path of Victoria unless our borders are closed and masks made compulsory. Elizabeth Maher, Bangor
Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:
NSW is allowing returning travellers from Melbourne to disembark in Sydney, arrange their own transport home and self-isolate for 14 days. Given that 25 per cent of Victorians have been found to be breaching quarantining over the past two weeks, what chance of compliance from the returning flights from Melbourne? If international travellers are bussed to hotels and supervised, so it should be for our Victorian brethren. Graeme Levien, Vaucluse
There are many Australian citizens who work overseas and need to return. It's been said they have had ample time to return. But it is not always possible to extricate oneself from an employment contract, or other commitments in their country of employment. And to return home early to unemployment is counter-productive, as they would then become another burden for the government. Australia should be supporting its citizens and allowing them to come home. This should be a basic right for all. Ann Cape, Mosman
How is it that politicians, footballers, "personalities'', and other similar miscreants are not obligated to isolate? Are they, by virtue of their DNA, COVID-proof? If this is so, then perhaps their DNA could be used to inoculate the rest of us. If not, is it the size of their bank accounts which excludes them from the rules which to the rest of us are obligatory? Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky
Hear, hear Mark Porter (Letters, August 4). Infected people spreading COVID-19 by not isolating and who continue to work while awaiting test results, who work after receiving a positive diagnosis, who cross borders illegally, who lie to authorities about their contacts and travel, and who treat this lethal disease with selfish indifference should feel the full weight of the law. Fines obviously don't work. These people are criminals. They are causing death and disability in full cognisance of the outcomes of their lifestyle choices. Jail terms should act as a serious deterrent. Gerardine Grace, Leura
Rot in aged-care began with self-regulation
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, as federal aged care minister, was a guest speaker at a forum leading up to elections 10 years ago (''Aged care 'talkfest' fails residents: Liberal MP'', August 4). As a trained nurse I had worked for 20 years in nursing homes and I had a lot to complain about. I told the forum the self-regulation introduced by the government in 1997 resulted in staff cuts which compromised care – so began the crisis that has exploded during the pandemic. Greedy providers allowed the homes to become cash cows withdrawing funding and negatively gearing. I explained how prior to the 1997 change to the Aged Care Act we always had adequate staff and appropriate skills. The senator insisted her government ensured nursing homes had adequate staff and appropriate skills. If that had been true we would not have this crisis, and she would not be criticising her government now. Judy Nicholas, Denistone East
While nobody saw the virus coming, its decimation of the aged in nursing homes is a wakeup call. As a society, we should be spending more money on our vulnerable citizens. They should not need to endure the terror and neglect now taking place in many nursing homes.
But giving more taxpayer money to for-profit nursing homes, even with supervision, is not the answer. More money is often squandered on executive bonuses and dividends. Little of it finds its way to client care.
Welfare service providers that rely significantly on government funding should not be profit-driven. Such entities should either be in public hands or, if they are privately owned, run as mutual co-operatives for the benefit of their clients. In both cases, arms-length close supervision should be provided by an independent authority. Geoff Black, Caves Beach
As an older person, I sometimes wonder if anyone actually asks an older person what they would like or need in an aged care facility. Before the coronavirus lockdown, I was in a small singing group and we used to visit aged care facilities and retirement villages. We sang their songs and anything they requested. It was beautiful to see some residents who might have suffered a stroke or other debilitating event, as their music memory responded so positively to the sounds they had heard and loved before, and also see other residents as they came in to enjoy the sounds. I don't know anyone who wants to be bored to death, but when we arrived it was like visiting a grave. We left it a much brighter and happier place, and it gave us joy too. Jan Carroll , Potts Point
Icare? It's more like don't care
Icare is meant to look after the welfare of injured workers (''CEO lost bonus over job for wife'', August 4). Instead it seems to be focused on the welfare of its executives, whose skills do not extend as far as knowing how much they get paid. The icare board and the Treasurer are asleep at the wheel and should be replaced. Ian Tuit, Hornsby
What sort of an organisation underpays 52,000 injured workers by $80 million and still gives a bonus to its board members who are already on mega salaries? Certainly not an organisation that cares. What a sick joke for an organisation called icare.
Their shoddy performance says they ''don't care'' a jot. Jo McGahey, Belrose
In tune with China
Surely we can re-establish a more productive relationship with China (''Steering clear of the China crisis'', August 4). We disapprove of its authoritarian system but gratuitous insulting of it – akin to a flea biting an elephant – is self-harming.
Our forelock-tugging efforts to please a Trump-led US have not helped. Most nations will be greatly relieved if in November the US can rid itself of Donald Trump, the most divisive and dangerous President in anyone’s memory, a man unsuited by any criterion to the world’s highest political office. His frequent references to the ''Chinese virus'' and ''Beijing Biden'' are but two examples of his belligerence.
As Peter Hartcher argues, it is imperative for global peace and economic health that a mutually respectful harmoniousness with China be resumed. In terms of trade, especially, Australia needs to seek co-operative opportunities and, while asserting our independence, avoid needless bellicosity about our northern giant. Ron Sinclair, Bathurst
Chalk and cheese
Why has a "branding" agency been appointed at taxpayer expense for the proposed merger of Historic Houses Trust of NSW and State Archives – when the merger is so ill-conceived (''Opposition to archives merger put on record'', August 4). Managing 12 historic heritage-listed properties involves architectural decisions of materials and structures while also organising educational and cultural events for visitors. Managing paper archives and their possible copyright is a completely different skill set. There will be no economies of scale by merging these completely different entities. Polly Seidler, Darlinghurst
Democracy at risk
Education Minister Dan Tehan claims our universities are “autonomous”, meaning the Australian government cannot interfere in their right of freedom of speech and action, yet those with links to a foreign power are able to suppress it with ease (''Tehan tells UNSW: prize free speech'', August 4).
Huang Yuwen, a graduate of UNSW with connections to the Chinese Consulate, says he is ashamed to be a graduate of an institution where academics extol basic human rights and calls on his fellow like-minded graduates and students to stop this “wrong” view in “our” university. It is vital for the survival of our democracy that our government starts adequately funding our universities, so they are no longer economic hostages to the political influence of foreign powers. Elisabeth Goodsall, Wahroonga
How quaint to see that the artist’s impression of the Rozelle interchange provided work for someone from the magic realism school of art (“Rozelle Parklands plan a hit with sporting bodies”, August 4).
Curiously, the drawing shows no cars or trucks on the six lane roads, no sign of the unfiltered fumes billowing out over the sporting fields from the underground tollway exhaust stacks, nor evidence of cycleways connecting Anzac Bridge or crossing Victoria Road. I did, however, see a thylacine in the shrubbery and glimpsed a mermaid splashing in the bay. Evan Bailey, Glebe
Putting others first
Julia Gillard reminds us that the world and many less fortunate still need our assistance. ("A generation in danger of losing out", August 4). And she is right to extend our thinking to the particular needs of young women in those nations often unable to help themselves. By closing our borders many of us may have become a little too introspective. She humbles me in her leadership and vision for those more needy. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer
David Dale's lament for the demise of ballroom dancing took me back to my early teens in the 1940s and the community barn dances where my hands encountered for the first time the unnerving touch of a corseted waist (''Erratic, hysterical. sullen: no, not them'', August 4). I was much more relaxed with the arrival of rock'n'roll; matronly dance partners were thankfully absent around the jukebox.
Garth Clarke, North Sydney
Trent Zimmerman; at last a government MP who is prepared to speak truth to power and call for real climate opportunities to be taken up by Australia (“Yes, Senator, climate change is real: A Liberal MP's open letter to One Nation's Malcolm Roberts”, smh.com.au, August 4). Now he needs to convince his colleagues to stop their donors’ coal and gas projects so that his money is where his mouth is. Barry Laing, Castle Cove
Could phonics supporters tell my five-year-old how to pronounce the ''o's'' in ''John ordered the women to come home now'', and explain why each represents a different sound (Letters, August 4).
Kevin Harris, Beecroft
Spring is sprung early
I observed an event I have never witnessed before in Gunnedah last week. A sweet pea in bloom in July. My first reaction was to follow the contemporary political response to anything abnormal: blame it on COVID-19. On reflection, could my garden be telling me that the local climate is changing? Brian Jeffrey, Gunnedah
Blowflies and baby tiger snakes (Letters, August 3). And I was swooped by a magpie yesterday. Yes, way too early. John Byrne, Jindabyne
Words are like, awesome
Language is how we communicate but buzzwords are the lazy way out (Letters, August 4). The trendsetters lost me at "woke": in spite of Noel Clancy's best efforts, I'll stay asleep and enjoy my dreams. Jenifer Nicholl, Armadale, Vic
Absolutely, Noel Clancy, there has been a paradigm shift in verbal fashion. At this point in time we hear commentators refer to unprecedented changes in verbal fashion. Thank you for unpacking this trend. Annie Mizon, Rozelle
At the end of the day, I find that I’m on the same page as Noel Clancy. William Galton, Hurstville Grove
Would you like to have a conversation about that? John Truman, St Leonards
Yeah nah; I mean like awesome letter, Noel. Lib Ruytenberg, East Lismore
No masking reality
Victor Dominello is right. We need to change our habits ("Wearing masks must become second nature", August 4). However, if we take drink driving and mobile phone use in cars as two examples, where lives are similarly placed in danger by bad habits, it is going to take some time. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls
The Premier dithers with words such as hope, ask, recommend, but will not insist (Letters, August 4). She refers only to some scenarios such as pubic transport and supermarkets. She would like us all to carry a mask at all times and putting it on when you whip into a shop or jump on a bus.
She says she has confidence that people will follow guidelines, but I do not. When I visited Coles North Sydney, about five out of 50 shoppers were wearing masks. Greg Lee, North Sydney
Solely for the purpose of seeing other people's reactions, I think that Adrienne Berkman (Letters, August 4) should don her face mask and then put on her lipstick. Perhaps, to denote what mood she is in, she could draw appropriate mouth shapes on her mask? Peter Butler, Wyongah
How long before disposable masks become the new cigarette butt litter? Angela Miller, Bondi Junction