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‘Pushing through’ hurts both economy and health


We are “pushing through” and holding our son’s wedding on Saturday. The third attempt. So far, all of the over-50 guests have cancelled. All of the guests with children under 12 have pulled out. From the 25-30s left, quite a few have COVID-19, with more in isolation as a close contact. At least the attending guests will be able to sing and dance, even keep social distancing on the dance floor, as there are so few attending. This is what “riding the wave” actually looks like. More of a dumper if you ask me. Shona Kirchen, Kiama

Djokovic: a democracy can change rules when unjust

Novak Djokovic’s case has highlighted to the world’s elite sportspeople in all sporting codes that Australia is not a country to be trusted (“Djokovic free to play”, January 11). This is also demonstrated by the two other professional tennis players who had their visas cancelled after being in Australia and their subsequent deportation. Therefore, if the Minister for Immigration does intervene and cancel Djokovic’s visa which will ban him from returning in the next three years, he will potentially make Australia a pariah in the sporting world. Who will want to come to Australia to compete? We can only hope that the situation is different by the time Brisbane hosts the Olympics.
The case shows the cruel underbelly of the Australian government, locking people up in detention for years because they came to Australia seeking safety and freedom from the persecution they experienced in their home countries. I cringe when I hear people say that “the rules are rules”. In a democracy we have the right to stand up and say when the rules are wrong and demand change. Michaela Byers, Campsie

Michelle Grattan describes the mess the Morrison government has created over Djokovic (“Djokovic case shows Morrison government has lost all perspective”, January 11). Spare a thought for the front-line Australian Border Force officials who would have thought the only mistake they risked making was to be seen by their political masters to be weak on border control. They detained Djokovic and summarily cancelled his visa in the middle of the night. Tick, and peanuts compared to what they have been instructed to do over the years to people with far more compelling reasons to be allowed to enter Australia. David Hind, Neutral Bay

I’m no fan of Djokovic but I trust the Australian Federal Circuit Court Justice who reversed a ban on his visa. As a nation we pride ourselves on the rule of law, and if the Minister for Immigration uses his discretion to overrule the Court, it would make us look vindictive for singling out an individual who apparently did all he could to legally enter Australia to defend his tennis title. David Vale, Cremorne Point

Putting aside the lamentable affrontery of Djokovic and the continuing ineptness of the federal government should we be lauding the decision in the courts as being a fine example of blind adherence to archaic laws and legal jargon or, instead, should we be lamenting the disregard shown in regard to common sense and practical considerations of modern situations? Whichever option we might embrace the cost to the long-suffering taxpayer is unconscionable and unjust. Rod Luffman, Nambucca heads

Are Scott Morrison’s ministers busy consulting focus groups regarding whether, or not, to cancel Djokovic’s visa? What happened to the rule of law? Is the Border Force now an arm of the Liberal party? Chaos has become so endemic with this government, that mandatory electoral vaccination is Australia’s only way forward. Geoffrey Dyer, Bundanoon

What more could he have done? He could have been vaccinated. Simple. Marion Wood, Mosman

How the world sees it

My daughter travelled and worked in Australia for over a year. My wife and I visited while she was there and truly loved the country and the people we met. The respect and admiration for Australia made me want to leave my home in Miami and move to Australia. I applauded and respected the decisions made during the pandemic even though they stopped my family from visiting again and looked forward to when we could again visit safely. Your decision on a millionaire athlete has made me change my mind and I realise that Australia is not the great country I had thought but just like the US: sets rules for the haves and the have-nots, and truly cares nothing for their own people. I do not plan on coming back. James McGrath, Miami Lakes (US)

It was disappointing to read Djokovic will be allowed to participate in the Australian Open. All his opponents should refuse to play him, citing “unsafe working conditions”. It might mean he would win by default, but that would be a very hollow victory. Health and safety should always trump stardom and money. He may be the “joker” but COVID-19 is no joke. Steen Petersen, Nanaimo (Canada)

Please don’t let Djokovic stay, or it is victory for anti-vaccination campaigners. Our hospitals are full of them, and we have lost more than 150,000 people already in the UK. Please send him packing, I wonder what Rod Laver would say? Geoff Cartwright, Risca (UK)

Heavy hand interferes with research

Last November Scott Morrison introduced his concept of “can do capitalism” rather than “don’t do government” (“Backlash over rejection of research grants”, January 11). He told us that it was “time to break the habit” of heavy-handed government intervention.

Now we discover his Education Minister Stuart Robert vetoed funding for six humanities research projects recommended by the ARC after a rigorous peer review process. So much for light-touch government. The fact that these projects were all from the humanities sector smacks of political bias.

I have had the privilege over the last decade of representing the lay perspective on a number of university human and animal research ethics committees. This work has given me an insight into the important and amazing work carried out by our researchers at all levels.

Sadly, their research work is often curtailed by the time they must spend applying for grants. To have their projects supported by the ARC and then dismissed by a politician must be devastating for morale.

We have put in place independent organisations to assess research applications – the politicians should let them do their job – enough of our “don’t do government” interference. Peter Robertson, Stanmore

Plain sense at last

This first victory for the farmers of the Liverpool Plains is a real positive for common sense (“Farmers win first victory for fertile plains”, January 11). With the urgent need to protect these fertile plains for agriculture, it defies belief that the fight is not over. Coal seam gas extraction is still a threat. Farmer Susan Lyle’s statement that “once you break an aquifer you can’t put it back together” reflects a stark reality. John Cotterill, Kingsford

Interest rate losers

Jessica Irvine may well be right when she predicts that benefits will flow from increases in interest rates but there will be losers as well as winners, as is always the case eg heavily indebted mortgagees will suffer (“The Great Realignment has begun”, January 10). Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

Faithfull four-legged friends

Reading of the predicted increase in the number of pounds overflowing with abandoned dogs, why don’t all nursing homes adopt one of these animals (“Bark to the office: deserted dogs out in the cold”, January 11)? I remember a nursing home in Newcastle that had a resident labrador and it was gratifying to watch the happiness that dog brought to its residents.
With many of our elderly languishing in these residences with never a visitor these beautiful animals bring a wealth of empathy and companionship with nothing asked in return.
Elizabeth Maher, Bangor

The best kind of dog is a cat.
Alicia Dawson, Balmain

Water way to go

NSW councils are not happy with the state government planning to shake up the cemetery industry (“Cemetery plan will drive up burial costs”, January 11). Perhaps councils, state government and the public should rethink the methods of interment.

With cemetery land already in short supply and the environment suffering from “flame cremation”, thought should be given to the most environmentally friendly way of interment, namely water cremation. With the baby boomer generation approaching their final years the pressure for burial space will only drive costs higher. Water cremation solves the problem both in financial and environmental concerns. Archbishop Tutu stipulated that this is the way for him. Cornelius van der Weyden, Balmain East

Save old ladies of the sea

With the sad demise of the Baragoola and the languishing of the heroic South Steyne in a remote corner of Sydney Harbour, would the miserable naysayers who infest Parliament House in Macquarie Street consider simply move the elegant South Steyne and moor her at Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal for the time being (Letters, January 11)? After all, there will be no passenger ships visiting for some time. We could all then go and visit the grand old lady and cough up a couple of bucks for her ongoing welfare. And, poor old Baragoola, why not do a proper salvage and reconstruct her somewhere helpful, maybe near where she was born, or on Cockatoo Island? Not rocket science. Dave Pyett, Maroubra

Tanks for nothing

Here we go again, spending our children’s future on outdated tanks that are sitting ducks to those armed drone’s invisible in the skies above (Letters, January 11).

We all know the future of warfare is from above, including space. That is the reason why nations such as the US are all too eager to offload their military investments of the past for a free lunch when they see our politician’s coming. Tony Lewis, Mount Victoria

One has to speculate that the real reason for the purchase of the tanks is so that we’ll have them to take to wherever the United States next tells us to go.

Maybe Australia should tell the United States where to go. Peter Thompson, Grenfell

Stop knocking the purchase of new tanks. They are going to be used to help the new submarines fight bushfires. Bob Doepel, Greenway (ACT)

I really don’t understand letter writers castigating the government for its M2 tank purchase. How else will we repel a possible New Zealand invasion, particularly if facing a Haka led by the All Blacks? Robert Hosking, Paddington

Hill wag was alive

I remember being at the SCG in 1962 with NSW playing visiting English cricketers (Letters, January 11). English batsman Peter Parfitt, a left-hander, was handling Richie Benaud’s spin by thrusting his right leg forward with his bat behind it. A wag on the Hill called out “put the bat on your leg, Parfitt, and hold on to the pad”. The players were highly amused and the great Richie wrote about it in the Sun next day. How times change. Robert Dillon, Bathurst

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Surprise Liberal challenger emerges in Warringah with ‘working class’ pitch
From Bazza54: “A Liberal with a ‘working class pitch’ vying for a seat on the northern beaches. It could be just me but I am rather overwhelmed by this overdrive of contradictions.”

  • 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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