Putting economy first will lead to deaths

October 9, 2021 — 12.04am

Illustration: Alan Moir

Illustration: Alan MoirCredit:

Premier, do not throw caution to the wind. Our lives and livelihoods are at stake (“Perrottet fast-tracks recovery plan”, October 8). Our NSW health system is only just coping, our health workers need a break, there are large areas and communities within NSW that are well below the 70 per cent full-vaccination average. We do not want cases to rise again. There is ample information about countries with much higher vaccination rates that have opened up too quickly with adverse outcomes, so why risk all the gains? Peter Baudish, Chatswood

This disrespectful virus doesn’t listen to us and is oblivious to our economic wishes. Even if you are the Premier, it won’t listen. But it will make us pay if we don’t listen to it and fail to follow medical advice – advice that has worked well for us so far, relative to some jurisdictions where human hubris and impatience have been allowed to override scientific expertise. Alan Garrity, North Narrabeen

I want further information from health experts, not the government, when it comes to deciding on a course of action. Long after we see an increase in deaths we’ll have forgotten the early reprieve. Are we seeing a repeat of a Thatcher-style rationale where there wasn’t a society, only an economy?
Gail Broadbent, Queens Park

Masks are mandated in schools for all students aged 12 and over. So my fully vaccinated, 12-year-old grandson sits in a class with a mask while his 11-year-old unvaccinated friend does not wear a mask. Where is the logic in that? Don White, Frenchs Forest

The Premier has misled the people of NSW by hijacking the plan out of lockdown, with a version that lets the virus rip. How does this new regime intend to monitor the cap on 10 fully vaccinated visitors in a home that has proven to be a super-spreader event? Sandra Langtree, Lilyfield

The changes announced are outrageous. As I have seen for the past 18 months, if you give people an inch they’ll take a mile. Perrottet will lead us back to an instance of further case increases as he lets the public loose. Sure, we could relax some rules, but what he is proposing may well be a disaster.
Kevin Wyld, Avalon Beach

Where are the modelling estimates of the increased deaths that the quicker opening up by the Premier will cause? If they are so bad that they cannot be revealed, or if the modelling has not been done, then clearly business is deciding how many will suffer and die and not a people-centred government. Brewis Atkinson, Tyabb (Vic)

Chant heard if not seen


What a disgrace. After 18 months of tirelessly guiding NSW through the pandemic, when we reach the 70 per cent vaccinated target, Dr Kerry Chant isn’t at the conference where it is announced (“Take freedoms slowly or it’ll be brief”, October 8). This was a complete lack of courtesy and gratitude on the part of the new Premier. It was a chance to publicly acknowledge the selfless work of Dr Chant, who has probably seen very little of her family during this time. Julia Booth, Westleigh

“Kerry Chant is one of my favourite constituents.” Is that all you’ve got, Premier? Dr Chant is the Chief Health Officer. She and her team have helped us get through the pandemic without the obscene levels of deaths seen elsewhere in the world. Show some respect. Jackie Blackledge, Artarmon

Premier Perrottet is our Trump and Dr Chant is our Dr Fauci. We all know how that ends. Tony Moore, Queens Park

Thank you, Dr Chant. You have been a warrior and a champion for medical knowledge, discretion and duty. Pauline Paton, Centennial Park

Road to nowhere

What’s with all the road maps? By definition, a road map is a form of map that details roads and transport links. We need a plan. That’s it. John Bye, Elwood (Vic)

Rescued by Captain Liberator

Who knew that beneath the drab suit of Tony “Private Citizen” Abbott, there’s the superhero costume of Captain Liberator, whose mission is to single-handedly end Taiwan’s isolation while staring down its looming neighbour (“Abbott seeks an end to ‘vibrant’ Taiwan’s isolation”, October 8)? Joan Brown, Orange

Many of us thought we were rid of Abbott’s shirt-fronting diplomacy when he failed to win his safe north shore seat. Now he claims our relationship with China can’t get any worse, as though a handful of trade sanctions is no worse than all-out warfare. Thanks for that, private citizen Abbott. Peter Newberry, Randwick

Scott Morrison has invoked the Sergeant Schultz “I know nothing” response and insists Abbott has travelled to Taiwan in a private capacity. If that’s the case, I’d like to know how he was allowed to venture overseas when the rest of us still can’t leave the country. Presumably there was some degree of government prior knowledge of the reason for the trip, and official imprimatur of it, for him to obtain an exemption. Ross Duncan, Potts Point

Perhaps after Abbott has shirt-fronted Xi Jinping in Beijing, he might consider going to Glasgow, to represent our Prime Minister, who will be too busy in Canberra. He can go as a private citizen of course, as he seems to be able to come and go as he pleases. Geoff Nilon, Mascot

Can someone please give me the number for Abbott’s travel agent? As a private citizen, there are a few world leaders I’d love to meet when I’m able to travel overseas. A chin-wag with Angela Merkel would be brilliant before she leaves office. Kerry-Ann Aitken, Naremburn

Who is paying for these uber-diplomat jaunts? Not the Aussie taxpayer, I hope. Owen Carroll, Forster

First Abbott is fined for not wearing a mask and now he appears in Taiwan with his mask not covering his nose. It seems that he has only half learnt his lesson. Peter Procopis, Bowral

Reward teachers for opening door of opportunity for pupils

It should be a no-brainer to rank teaching as the premier profession, way above those that now have that status, such as medicine and law (“Thousands of teachers work outside expertise”, October 8). What teachers provide are the building blocks for all professions, and what is more important than that? It is time that this is recognised – with both prestige and appropriate salaries. It is that simple.
Anne Ring, Coogee

My husband is doing a mid-career change to become a maths teacher. It has become increasingly clear that the content of the master’s of teaching is largely irrelevant to the practicalities of the classroom. Once he graduates, he will be earning less than a senior administrative officer in the NSW public service. The government needs to improve pay and conditions for teachers or risk losing them to the private education sector. Paddy Fitzgerald, Breakfast Point

I have long thought, like your correspondent, that a return to the system of what was then called bonding could be an answer to the shortage of teachers. When people trained to be teachers in the 1970s you were bonded and sent to a school. You needed to teach for three years and serve out your bond. The bond could be used to ease some HECS fees. If you broke your bond, which my older sister did as she married and became pregnant, you needed to repay the bond, which was about $500. It worked then, it could possibly work again. Lillian Hornby, Sans Souci

Coal fund has a great flipside

Resources Minister Keith Pitt’s proposition that the government create a $250 billion fund to support coal operations in Australia as a methodology for supporting miners has a very attractive reverse side (“Don’t look to farmers for carbon cuts, warn Nats”, October 8). It is acknowledged that Australia’s contribution to climate warming is a fact, but the unacknowledged fact is that the export of billions of tonnes of our coal is making a significant and measurable contribution to pollution and to climate change. If our government were to establish such a fund as proposed by Pitt, and to utilise it to both close down all coal operations in Australia and retrain the coalminers, then Australia would make a huge contribution to mitigating and reducing climate changing pollution. Indeed, we would show the world the way. Chris Rivers, Port Macquarie

Coal exports are likely to be cut in half by mid-century (“Emissions plan would slash coal exports”, October 8). This is truly appalling news. You mean we expect to be still burning fossil fuels in 2050? Some people just don’t get it. David Mathers, Lidcombe

MPs and big mouths

The Prime Minister has railed against people who say the most foul and offensive things and do so with impunity (“PM hints at consequences for social media”, October 8). I could not agree more, and the sooner members of Parliament stop being able to hide behind parliamentary privilege, the better. Joe Weller, Mittagong

The Prime Minister has labelled social media a “cowards’ palace”. Perhaps Parliament could be similarly described, given what has unfolded there over the past several years. Brett Hendry, Boambee East

Scott Morrison lays into the social media enablers, citing “lack of accountability”. A federal ICAC would address federal MPs’ lack of accountability – yet Morrison is extremely reluctant to act. His complaints about the tech giants would be more credible if he practised what he preached. David Gordon, Cranebrook

Show me the bills

The injustices highlighted by Kieran Pender would be less likely to happen if we had a charter of human rights like those of comparable countries (“A win for transparency, but not yet justice”, October 8). Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

On a hybrid high

While the monetary cost of electric vehicles remains prohibitive for many, and it could take a decade to enjoy cost benefits when compared with a petrol car, this is not the case for hybrid cars (“EV cost benefit evident but only after a decade: report”, October 8). We downsized to a small hybrid and fill the tank for about $30, which can last six weeks compared with seven to10 days for our previous car that cost about $50 to fill. There are new and used hybrid vehicles that will provide cost benefits immediately and drive just as well as petrol cars. Many are self-charging. There’s no excuse to avoid transitioning now while we wait for EVs to come down in price; maybe start saving once you have your hybrid. Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park

Life lines of demarcation

Having failed to organise a swift and adequate supply of vaccine in 2020, Scott Morrison certainly had “months and months” to at least prepare an efficient system for delivering vaccines equitably across the country before they arrived (“States had ‘months and months’ to get hospitals ready: PM”, October 7). But he didn’t. His failures leave many parts of regional Australia with below-average vaccination rates. That is what will put hospitals, particularly small regional hospitals, under huge pressure when everything reopens. But apparently that’s not his problem. Lynne Wallis, Talofa

Prove me wrong

Yes, non-believers do have a singular view – that there is no god out there dictating what people should think and how they should behave (Letters, October 7). There are no grounds for a belief that atheists have a morality significantly different to those in the major Western religions. When the atheist objects to religious views it is usually in defence of those harmed by these unproven views.
Gillian Baldwin, Windradyne

Pique period

The French ambassador to Australia is questioning whether our friendship can survive the submarine issue (“French ambassador returning to ‘redefine terms of relationship’″, October 8). Our friendship has survived the deaths of Australians in France in WWI, the battles between Australians and the French in WWII, and the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. So yes, Mr Ambassador, our joint friendship is greater than this current matter. Please don’t blame all Australians for this dispute. It came as a surprise to us as it did to you. Vive la France! Denis O’Brien, Orange

Now that the French ambassador is coming back to Australia, does this mean a return to ping-pong diplomacy? Pamela Duncombe Balmain.

Nothing like it

I’m old enough to remember even older Manly ferries (“End of an era for Manly’s iconic ferry”, October 8). I have very fond memories of travelling on the South Steyne, not in summer, but winter when my dad thought a trip to Manly was a good idea. One trip stands out. As we crossed the opening to the harbour the ship rocked and rolled better than the Luna Park roller coaster. My friend was too slow to move out of the doorway and copped a dumping from a particularly large wave. Those were the days. Genevieve Milton, Newtown


“The old adage – 24 hours is a long time in politics – was never so pertinent as this week in state politics. Hard to imagine the comings and goings in such a brief period,” Denis Suttling of Newport Beach wrote.

There were mixed feelings expressed about Gladys Berejiklian’s departure, but there was no doubt about how the majority of correspondents felt about the new Premier. Dominic Perrottet’s nudge to Trumpian politics was a worry, but it was his religious beliefs, and concerns they would influence his leadership of the state, which led to hundreds writing to the Herald. The majority of letter writers agreed that “the last thing we need is another conservative fundamentalist Christian in public office, mouthing off as though he speaks for all Christians”.

The views of some that didn’t agree, who wrote that a person’s faith should not disqualify them from doing their job and Perrottet should be given a chance, were published in Thursday’s letters. They were strongly criticised by many the following day.

The new Premier didn’t seem to be able to catch a break. The week ended with correspondents perturbed about Perrottet’s tweaking of the state’s road map for opening up. The Premier was described as “throwing caution to the wind”, forgetting he was no longer treasurer and putting the economy before people, and ignoring health advice. As Elspeth Galicek of Chatswood wrote: “I fail to see how trusted expert medical advice can change so rapidly from one premier to the next. A week may be a long time in politics but it is certainly not in management of a pandemic”. Pat Stringa, Letters editor

  • To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

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