This is not an option

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This is not an option

Several correspondents to these pages have been urging us to lift lockdowns and learn to live with COVID-19. One person even quoted figures from the UK and suggested that we should be able to live with that scenario.

On a per-capita basis, that would mean 2735 new cases and eight painful deaths in Melbourne each day. That’s more than 26,000 cases a week. I should also point out that the vaccination rate in the UK is more than twice ours.

Live with the virus? I think not. Try getting any semblance of healthcare with those figures.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

Predictable shenanigans
Few will be surprised at the shenanigans, including ministerial complicity, behind the formulation of the suburban rail loop project as reported in The Sunday Age (“Out of the loop”, 15/8).

Integrity, transparency and accountability are precepts that simply do not exist within this present government’s lexicon.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

The hesitant among us
It is clear vaccines work to modify the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and to reduce hospitalisation, deaths and to a lesser extent, transmission.

Although less effective against emerging variants, they can minimise disruption while variant-specific mRNA vaccines are developed.

Even with a high level of community immunisation, the vulnerable will need to take special care as the economy opens up and most legally enforceable – though still recommended – restrictions are lifted.

There is a point, probably early next year, where the voluntarily non-immunised will have to wear the increased lethal consequences of their own folly while the rest of the community picks up the tab for otherwise avoidable intensive hospital care. A bit like we do for other irrational choices like smoking, drug abuse and the like.
Peter Barry, Melbourne

We all share this duty
Your editorial invoking a responsibility to call out racism as a “never-ending” duty is spot on. It’s incumbent on all of us. But just like institutional sexism and misogyny, institutional racism must be tackled structurally before cultural change can follow suit (“The AFL should walk its talk on racism”, The Sunday Age, 15/8).

Similarly, just like victims of sexual abuse, where the person abused is victim-blamed, victims of racism face the same twisted cognitive logic of prioritising the protection of the abuser at the expense of the harmed.

But just like the proposal by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins of introducing a positive duty on employers to stamp out workplace sexism, the same should apply to the AFL.
Jelena Rosic, Mornington

Ditch the paper ballot
In 2011, 2016 and 2021, I completed the census online, but I still can’t vote online at federal, state and local government elections. You can in countries like Belgium, Brazil, India and the US. Why can’t we?

From an environmental perspective, there would be hundreds of tonnes of paper that could be saved by adopting electronic voting.

The 2019 federal election cost $372 million to run. Much of this could be saved with electronic voting. We would know the result within a short time of polling booths closing, rather than having to wait days and sometimes weeks for the numbers to be counted (and recounted).

With the overwhelming success of filling in the 2021 census online, it’s time to consider online voting.
David Charles, Newtown

Unrealistic expectations
The article on refund woes presents one side of the story (“Refund woes add to local travel pain”, The Sunday Age, 15/8), but what about the accommodation providers on the other side who are small family businesses with little government help who have to throw out food and stand down staff at short notice every time there is a lockdown and still cover heating costs, rates, etc?

Lockdowns are not the guests’ fault, but they are also not the accommodation providers’ fault – so why should the provider be expected to provide 100 per cent refunds?

This COVID situation is hurting everybody and we need to share the costs around. Anyone making travel bookings now should not be surprised when a lockdown occurs and 100 per cent refunds do not occur.
Keith Archibald, Falls Creek

Taking his cue from us
Peter Hartcher shines a light on the comparison between Australian attitudes to striving for sporting excellence and attitudes to striving for excellence in anything else (“Hitting the snooze on taking the lead”, Comment, 21/8).

Media articles regularly provide examples of our national predisposition to mock rather than admire hard-core striving for excellence in areas other than sport.

Debi Enker (“Timely questions about women in politics”, Green Guide, 29/7, noted that the ABC series Ms Represented “doesn’t want to risk being dismissed as earnest, indignant or scolding” and so includes light-hearted comedy, occasionally verging on the slapstick.

If our Prime Minister comes across as too laid-back and lighthearted in the face of serious challenges, is it partly a reflection of our wider national character?
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

Think again, please
I came to this country in 1939, thus escaping almost certain death for the awful crime of being Jewish. For this I have always been extremely grateful to Australia.

Please, Scott Morrison, think again and throw our border open once more to, say, 10,000 Afghan refugees whose only crime has been not to hold the same views as the new rulers of their country.
Joe Rich, Carlton North

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