While I don’t begrudge anyone a holiday, I was disappointed this week when I tried to walk in to the vaccination centre at RPA hospital to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster to find the centre was shut until January 17. Are we that short-staffed? I recall that on the weekend a politician told me clinics would be open. I have learned not to trust what Coalition politicians say as they seem to live in a parallel universe. I am lucky, I’ve rung my GP and I have an appointment to get my booster on January 4. I do wonder about people without that privilege. Sara Arthur, Ashfield
The Prime Minister rejects the idea of making the rapid antigen tests free of charge but is quite happy to allow big businesses to keep $6 billion from JobKeeper overpayments. With everything opening up, masks and QR codes disappearing, these tests will be as necessary as boosters to help stem the devastation Omicron looks likely to unleash. Yet another example of the PM not understanding that people can neither afford the many hours waiting for PCR tests or the dollars for multiple rapid antigen tests. Susan Morton, West Ryde
The states asking the PM for faster COVID-19 boosters translates to “Morrison asleep at the wheel again”. It’s now blatantly obvious that marketing is the Prime Minister’s only method for fighting fires and that he will never pick up a hose. Pull on your firefighting tunic Anthony Albanese, we need someone who can really fight a blaze rather than someone who just gets staged photos taken while pretending to do the job. Mark Pearce, Richmond
The man who doesn’t hold a hose continues to tell the NSW Premier to hold his nerve as COVID-19 cases rise dramatically across NSW (“‘The time for that heavy hand is behind us’: PM says Omicron does not mean return to lockdowns”, smh.com.au, December 21). I just wish they could get a hold of the clear medical advice they are getting yet ignoring. We are crying out for leaders and keep getting ideologues and ad men. Wendy Varney, Leura
many hands make light rail work?
The Premier would have us believe that four ministers will be better able than one competent minister to handle the complexities of transport management in this state (“Premier shifts gears in troubled portfolio”, December 21). Has he never heard the old saying about too many cooks? He should start by fixing the mess his accounting work with the Transport Asset Holding Entity has created. He seems to have a penchant for abandoning responsibility and accountability by separating things that should not be separated. Paul Fergus, Manly
Opposition Leader Chris Minns is spot on when he says the last thing we need in transport is buck-passing between ministers. Dominic Perrottet has just undone the dramatic improvement in transport planning co-ordination made possible by his predecessor when she combined the roads portfolio with public transport for the first time. Here we go again, tolls without better options and siloed responsibilities all over again – prove me wrong. Nathan English, Lilyfield
If special consideration needs to be given to protect LGBTQI+ students in conjunction with new religious discrimination laws, wouldn’t it be better to simply abandon any plans to bring these laws in (“Catholics back safeguards for gay students”, December 21)? After all, we already have anti-discrimination laws that seem to work adequately in our society. Margaret Grove, Abbotsford
While Luke Nayna points out that we know where Liberal candidates stand on key issues such as climate change or a federal ICAC, we also see that this is not how they necessarily vote (Letters, December 21). They are forced to follow a generic party line that does not necessarily represent our views at all. If they dare to cross the floor, a special interview with the Prime Minister awaits. Their individual views give them little negotiating power – only the risk of losing preselection. Elizabeth Darton, Lane Cove West
Independents give voters someone to vote for when they don’t want to vote for the party with which they align but can’t bring themselves to vote for the opposition. The only problem is that running the country is a multifaceted task and not the same as being president of the school’s parents and friends association which, although political, has only the one focus of raising money for their child’s school. Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill
Frankly, they’ve spoken
Your correspondent Geoff Harding asks if those who are better off might be willing to sacrifice a little in the interests of a more equitable society (Letters, December 21). Think back to the 2019 federal election and the rage against the proposal to remove franking credits and you’ve got your answer: a resounding “No!” Merona Martin, Meroo Meadow
Seen at the scene
Two days worth of scathing letters have suggested that the Prime Minister should have avoided attending the site of the Devonport tragedy (Letters, December 21). But when leaders fail to attend in person after such events, as Obama did following Hurricane Katrina, they are likewise pilloried by the press. I would suggest the majority of correspondents simply have a personal hatred of Morrison, and this is just a suitable excuse. Damned if you do … Ross MacPherson, Seaforth
Moving on down
It appears the current Member for Hughes is on the move to Narara (“Kelly buys $1.3m home 100km from electorate”, December 21). I guess that’s one way to bring down house prices on the Central Coast. Bill Young, Killcare Heights
The future of art
Your article by Ben Eltham and Joanna Murray-Smith calling for more arts funding will be appreciated by connoisseurs of arts politics as a classic of this genre (“Arts must be put back on political agenda”, December 21). It features all the compulsory elements.
Obligatory tip of the hat to Paul Keating? Tick. Frustrated sigh at the hopeless provincial pedestrian philistines of the Coalition? Tick.
Furious insistence that nobody in government appreciates the vital work done by artists and creatives? Tick. Complete failure to substantiate its claims about the appalling lack of arts funding with any factual data about actual spending levels? Tick, tick, tick.
The fact is that arts funding by the Morrison overnment in 2021-22 stands at over $1 billion. This is an unprecedented level of funding under any federal government, Liberal or Labor.
Indeed, the article appeared on the day we announced the recipients of almost $20 million of funding under round six of the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand grant program.
As Arts Minister, I always welcome passionate advocacy about the importance of the sector. When I start to see such articles getting the numbers right, or acknowledging that our Liberal and National government has funded the arts far more generously than Labor ever did, I will know that my work is done.
But based on Eltham and Murray-Smith’s passionate polemic, that day may be some time away. Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts
Gift that keeps giving
As an 82-year-old, may I console my fellow 87-year-old greenie on the sacrifice of young conifers at Christmas (Letters, December 21). Fifty-two years ago my mum was left with just such a young pine after the family festivities. She planted it in the bottom corner of her backyard, now ours. Today it is a towering monument to the greening of the suburbs and a landing place for many local birds. John Court, Denistone
In addition to their suggestion to grow a tree in a pot and then release it, I recommend using a tree made from recycled plastic. Ours has been perfectly adequate for over 20 years now, and is one less purchase to make each Christmas. Pauline Croxon, Undercliffe
Your correspondent makes sense (Letters, December 21). It is often the most simple things that bring pleasure. I have enjoyed many Christmas days and gifts, but the one I recall with love is the Christmas morning my Dad and I walked along the beach from Thirroul to Austinmer, where he gave me my first body surfing lesson. Better still, on the way home we bought a watermelon to have after our Christmas lunch. No waste – such simple joy in very hard times. Patricia Slidziunas, Woonona
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
ATAGI to consider three-dose vaccine schedule as states push for earlier boosters
From centaur: “As has been the pattern with the vaccine roll out and the messaging, the third dose program is random and uncoordinated. I can’t even pretend to be surprised with the government but while I’m sure ATAGI is trying to take a reasoned approach, it seems to be making matters worse. The same thing happened around the age limits for AZ.”
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