We are not all Victorians, PM, and we never were

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

As Melbourne goes into lockdown and the whole of Victoria into isolation behind closed borders, Scott Morrison tries to sell us the line that we are all Victorians now ("National cabinet to decide hotel quarantine, flight cuts", July 5). Wrong, PM, and thanks to you, we never were.

Remember when Queensland had closed borders? When the tourist industry here all but collapsed because our Labor state government was trying to control the spread of the virus? Back then, you said the border closure was unnecessary. You even got the NSW Premier to join in your complaints. The rest of Australia weren't all Queenslanders then. After all, there still is a state election coming up in Queensland. Border closures by Labor governments in WA and the Northern Territory copped a serve from you too. But for some reason there was no problem about closed borders in Liberal states like South Australia and Tasmania. Grant Agnew, Coopers Plains (Qld)

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

The Prime Minister, in trying to unify Australians, keeps reiterating the latest of his many trite mantras – this time stating that all Victorians are Australians and thus all Australians are Victorians. I am an Australian but as a resident of NSW I am not a Victorian. An apple is a fruit and an orange is a fruit but not all fruits are apples. A comment such as this from our PM is divisive rather than helpful as it disregards the significance of our states and territories each with its own uniqueness which as a whole make up Australia. Cheryl Sutherland, Lindfield

"We are all Melburnians now", according to Scott Morrison. I'd rather we were all Kiwis. Jacinda Ardern's elimination strategy worked. Morrison's suppression policy has not. Dave Watts, Avalon

Remember the good old days of the pandemic when Australian citizens were flown from Wuhan to the Christmas Island hotel for two weeks of quarantine? Remember the Prime Minister flying there last year for a media stunt to convince us that the spending of millions to reopen it was a good thing? With the hindsight of the Melbourne hotel disaster and the fact that Christmas Island is still largely deserted why haven't we been using it for returning residents? Glen op den Brouw, Liverpool

As a person who was required to stay in a hotel when I arrived from the UK in April, I was very happy to see a couple of uniformed personnel checking on my welfare daily. They were police or army, and I understood why I was there.

Obviously, the Victorian idea of security personnel was a simplistic one, badly organised and dubious checking and training, but I have to also ask why those returning travellers took advantage of the situation and didn't have to pay for "the perks". I paid extra for my wine. Janet Scilly, Wollstonecraft

With a virus circulating that travels of over vast distances at lightning speed, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys thinks that "the data doesn't indicate any requirement for a rollback" ("Premier warns of COVID-19 comeback", July 9). Was there ever a time V'landys thought the data indicated his precious NRL was not an exception to restrictive measures? Fred Jansohn, Rose Bay

Tax cuts for the rich still won't induce spending

Josh Frydenberg wants to "boost aggregate demand, boost consumption" via tax cuts where the lowest paid receive the smallest benefit, a miserly $55 a year for those earning less than $30,000 ("Treasurer eyes early tax cuts to reignite economy", July 9).

All economists know that to increase consumer spending the poorest should get the largest benefit as that is where the pent up demand lies. All the wealthy do, as J. M. Keynes wrote in his General Theory of Employment in 1936, is invest their surplus in non-productive assets such as shares and housing. That results in widening the gulf between the rich and poor. And, when that gulf becomes too wide the economy slips down to third-world status. We can see this slide in the USA and should do what needs doing to prevent that happening in Australia. Elfriede Sangkuhl, Summer Hill

Tax cuts within a climate of uncertainty won't kick-start the economy. Those who are in work will not spend more while they fear the looming possibility of unemployment. Instead they will save all they can as a buffer and/or pay more off their mortgage.

The only way out of our current economic struggle is government spending, including continuation of payments to those who do not have work. These people will spend because they have to. We should be increasing taxes and doing something serious about tax avoidance, particularly the massive thefts of corporate off-shoring and tax-evasion. We can start paying off the future now. Gary Stowe, Springwood

I cannot argue against tax cuts as a form of supporting income earners to have more money and theoretically to spend more. Unfortunately the government is still ruled by the rhetoric of only supporting those who "deserve" support, hence the home improvement subsidy. If we hand out tax refunds, there will be less money for the thousands of unemployed, refugees and others who receive no income but if offered support would spend all of it in our economy. This is Economics 101. Howard Clark, Ryde

As we have moved away from using dirty cash to COVID-safe tap-and-go cards for small purchases like coffee, the banks are making a killing. They charge small businesses around a 2 per cent eftpos fee. So the percentage of their income where patrons previously would have paid in cash but now use a card, is effectively reduced by 2 per cent. That is a significant cost in these current times when selling takeaway coffee has been a lifeline for hardworking, struggling cafes. Deb Cansdell, Bonnet Bay

Seeking answers to ongoing asylum questions

Wonderful that people are continuing to complain about Australia's stance on asylum seekers, as set out in part by Jess Scully ("The people demand refugees be helped", July 9). Scully reports that "thousands of people in our community have been left without basic healthcare, income support or visa certainty".

Worse, several thousand asylum seekers are stuck in offshore processing on Manus Island and elsewhere and, after a long wait, may then be precluded from ever coming to Australia. Australia was one of eight nations responsible for drafting the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 which says everyone has a right to seek asylum in another country if they are being persecuted. Australia is certainly not acting within the spirit of this. We are behaving very badly as a nation. Bridget Wilcken, Mosman

Many of us have called on the government to support our community's most vulnerable people. And yet, refugees and asylum seekers (with many casual workers, migrant workers, international students, homeless people) do not have access to Medicare, JobKeeper or JobSeeker. So much for the mantra, "we're all in this together" and "we're all Melburnians now". Clearly, only if you're one of the deserving poor, or one of the tradies who might vote for you. Jan Barnett, Lakemba

Rocky ground

With close to 360,000 tonnes of rock removed from under the foundation of the proposed 42-storey three-blocks of oversized Lego in North Sydney, what additional reinforcement has been incorporated into the ceiling of Victoria Cross Metro station cavern ("Tower block to dominate north shore", July 8)? Hopefully the developers, architects and engineers have remembered Newton's Third Law. Terry O'Brien, North Parramatta.

Adverse reaction

The reaction to two separate incidents from last weekend's round of NRL has been illuminating (Letters, July 9). There has been ongoing criticism of a player who verbally attacked a referee using language offensive to a section of the community while another player who launched an unprovoked dangerous physical attack on an opponent has received very little adverse publicity. Am I missing something here? Is a verbal attack is deemed more serious than a full-blown physical assault? Tell that to any player on the receiving end of an attack to the head which could result in major injury. Max Redmayne, Russell Lea

Correspondent Ross Butler is right. I know there is the "off " button on the television and I have switched off potentially interesting or entertaining television programs because of the foul language. It does seem more apparent these days. Let it not become acceptable in day to day conversations. Marion Pengelly, Westleigh

Race to the top

Pauline Hanson's so-called battlers who gave her a profile might be owed a thank you for making her a very rich woman (Letters, July 9). John Macdonald, Kings Langley

Stone-faced support

Your correspondent admires our Archibald Fountain Apollo without reservations (Letters, July 9). Many years ago our family returned from a five-month trek around statuary in Greece, including the Apollo in Olympia, on which the Archibald is based.

Initially, we were shocked on seeing our friend again. He was slouching, but on reflection how typically Aussie. All he lacks is a slouch hat. John Court, Denistone

As for statues and their place in history, the nymphs and satyrs may be shivering peacefully in the Blue Mountains but Apollo, featured in the Archibald Fountain, has a few questions to answer. His were the arrows that were said to bring epidemic and plague on humanity, and there have been a few of those fired recently. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

Driving me mad

Some years ago while driving my young granddaughter in her baby car seat she said; "Nan you have to learn to be more patient". Unforgettable ("Back-seat drivers not the bad nags we thought", July 9). Vicky Marquis, Glebe

I agree that back-seat drivers [are] not the bad nags we thought. When my children were much younger I had to drive along City Road and Parramatta Road to deliver them to their separate infants and primary school and then get to work on time. As all drivers can agree, peak hour driving on overcrowded roads can be an enormously frustrating experience. So I trained my children to look out for any signs of me getting angry or testy and say in a loud voice, "calm down Mum, remember the paperwork".

The mere thought of being involved in an accident or road rage altercation and the inevitable mountain of paperwork that would result never failed to make me calm down, keep a proper distance and my hand off the horn. Pauline Croxon, Undercliffe

Bonding moment

Talk of undies reminded me of a story I heard many years ago of an army recruit asked upon enlistment of his next of kin, immediately responding: Chesty Bond (Letters, July 9). Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Name game

When will Lockie Down of Melbourne be able to travel with his gorgeous girlfriend Victoria Hotspot to visit her close friend Laura Norder in Albury (Letters, July 9)? John Peterson, Bayview

Note to self

On the advent of my 70th birthday I received a gold embossed letter from my local federal member. Do I take this as a lovely gesture from a caring sharing government or an unnecessary waste of money that could be better directed to something more worthwhile? Doesn't get my vote! Michael Traynor, Bellambi

Watch the Throne

I don't know why people are so sceptical about Kanye West's "Birthday Party" and his run for a White House modelled on the fictional country of Wakanda ("Kanye West announces 'Birthday Party' for presidential tilt",, July 9).

His succinct monosyllabic "YES!" campaign slogan, from someone who has never even voted before, would suit the current running soap opera of US politics down to a tee. Just imagine Kayne and Kim in concert, every day. George Zivkovic, Northmead

Big Bird

Correspondent Alastair Wilson should count himself lucky that he did not inherit his mother's eating trait. Small birds consume up to twice their body weight in food daily (Letters, July 9). Rowan Wigmore, Launceston ( Tas)

Air of uncertainty

We need to think about what we can do to minimise community transmission of COVID-19 now people are returning to work ("Why are masks not mandatory?", July 9). I noticed recently there were more people on a bus than social distancing restrictions allow. It would be sensible to mandate wearing of cloth masks for all passengers travelling on public transport.

Evidence shows they are effective in preventing transmission from an infected but asymptomatic individual, the most likely scenario of community transmission. If wearing a cloth mask was a requirement to board a bus or train, the community would be better protected in those situations where enforcing social distancing is not achievable. Andrew Pesce, Drummoyne

Finally, some engineering has been brought to bear on COVID-19 spread ("Experts back mask-wearing in risk zones", July 9). The windows of a modern air-conditioned train are effectively part of the structural system that protects passengers.

Rather than more air, a better approach is to change the direction of airflow in crowded spaces, from mainly horizontal to mainly vertical, to largely eliminate people breathing in the breath of others. Peter Egan, Artarmon

Surely masks are the sensible answer to contain the spread of virus droplets rather than have them otherwise blowin' in the wind, or in your face. Edward Loong, Milsons Point

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