Opportunity knocks

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Opportunity knocks

As a local resident I was pleased to see that Jane Grover, CEO of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (“Cemetery a haven in grave times”, The Sunday Age, 22/8) wants to encourage local residents to visit the oldest cemetery in Melbourne.

This 43 hectares of open space, only three kilometres from the centre of Melbourne, is now at the end of its life as a working cemetery and is in dire need of leadership and engagement from the community and government to assure its future.

What an opportunity for a whole-of-government approach to develop this amazing historic asset for the use of the community, providing open space for recreation, shade and trees to mitigate climate change effects, and an occasion to explore the history of Marvellous Melbourne.

Perhaps an international competition to produce a long-term plan, under the auspices of the SMCT, Melbourne City Council, the relevant government agencies and the local community, would be the first step in the rehabilitation of this community asset.
David James, Carlton North

Tell him he’s dreaming
Daniel Andrews says that while Victorians are breaking the rules, the lockdown will be extended (“Victorians asked to ‘make best choices’”, The Age, 27/8).

It is an unrealistic hope. If people followed the rules we would not have more than 7000 people in jail and thousands of Victorians would not lose their driver’s licence each year.
Garry McIntosh, Macleod

Where will they go?
Thank you, David Crowe, for highlighting our stretched hospitals (“Stretched hospitals are PM’s next big test”, Comment, 27/8).

As desperate as we Victorian healthcare workers are to get out of lockdown and “move on”, as per the national road map, we are wondering where the proportion of those hospitalised with COVID-19 as predicted by the Doherty Institute (385,983 symptomatic cases) will go.

Our hospitals are full now and there’s no one lining up to replace our shifts if we can’t do them.
Ruth Ellett, Bentleigh

Invalid assumptions
A holiday house proprietor reports “getting more mid-week bookings” for her Red Hill property (“Finding sanctuary: holiday homing instincts are more acute then ever in the pandemic”, The Age, 28/8), and the owner of the Mornington Airbnb that hosted the jockeys “felt disgusted her holiday home was used for an illegal party” (“Star jockeys suspended for breaching COVID protocols”, The Age, 28/8).

Where do these proprietors assume their guests are coming from? Not within five kilometres, that’s for sure. What “permitted reasons” did they accept when taking the bookings?
Margaret Richardson, Altona Meadows

We can see clearly now
We’ve had “dole bludgers”, “welfare cheats” and “leaners”, but federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is jibbing on JobKeeper payments to avoid prejudicing “commercial interests” (“Voters back call for profiteers to repay JobKeeper”, The Age, 28/8).

Crystal clarity on who he really represents.
Juliette Borenstein, Fitzroy North

A dismal populist recipe
It’s ironic that your columnist Parnell Palme McGuinness cooks up such a dismal populist recipe of culture wars, religious discrimination and educational strife to enable Morrison to win the next election (“He’s on the ropes, but PM can still win”, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 22/8), somehow quoting Edmund Burke in support of her view, although he was actually promoting the virtue of individual judgment, i.e. political leadership, over popular opinion to the electors of Bristol.

The irony is that her namesakes, Charles Stewart Parnell and Olof Palme, were both significant social reformers and forward thinkers.

Australia needs national leadership out of this COVID mess, rather than a retreat into bunker mentality and political tribalism. Parnell and Palme provided it in their time.
Dick Davies, North Warrandyte

A sign of the times
As a Baby Boomer, living through the COVID pandemic has added a major event to my already full life experience. It has also brought a great demonstration of the sad state of our democratic and political culture.

Instead of all sides recognising that the actions taken would be a new and stressful experience never seen before in our lifetime, the immediate fallback is to criticise what ideas are tried in good faith.

Experience is key to good decision-making and we have never experienced this pandemic before. Yes, major mistakes have been made – especially the slow start of the vaccination program.

But this natural response to put the political boot in is a sad reflection of the lack of new ideas and visionary leadership.

Let’s hope that our children can do better.
Tim James, Noosa Heads, Qld

Anonymity saves lives
Jon Faine’s argument for the removal of online anonymity to prevent abuse (“Hiding behind the screen”, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 22/8) is a well-intentioned idea, but could only serve to cause serious harm.

Not only would this expose the identities of marginalised internet users to trolls, but it would allow social media companies access to information they have proved time and time again they cannot be trusted to protect.

We must find other solutions to hate – online anonymity is indispensable and saves lives.
Alexandra Fitts, Abbotsford

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