Cold and flu ads at odds with COVID test advice

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

To submit a letter to The Age, email letters@theage.com.au. Please include your home address and telephone number.

THE PANDEMIC

Cold and flu ads at odds with COVID test advice
Commercial television is currently showing advertisements for the usual winter cold and flu products. While advertising these products is necessary for the companies, and there is nothing wrong with doing so, the advertisements themselves are missing a crucial feature and are misleading.

The theme is “at the first sign of sore throat/cold/runny nose take this product”. This is completely at odds with public health messaging, which implores us to take a COVID test whenever such symptoms, no matter how mild, are felt.

Surely the advertisements should be “at the first sign of sore throat/cold/runny nose take a COVID test, go home and wait for the results, and take this product”. This is not only advertising the particular product, but also performing a public service – a win-win.

Individuals and businesses both need to heed public health warnings if we are to avoid another COVID outbreak and possibly another lockdown.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster

An affront to our civil liberties
The very idea that the state can discriminate against Australians who refuse the COVID vaccine is divisive and an appalling affront to our civil liberties. No government should have the right to force its citizens to inject themselves with anything but that is exactly what a ″⁣vaccine passport″⁣ would do.

The cornerstone of informed consent for medical treatments is that it is voluntary. If you are getting the vaccine because you will lose your job or will not be able to travel freely, that is not voluntary. It is coercion.
Jeremy Browne, Ripponlea

Fine these people
Why are the Protective Services Officers not fining people for not wearing masks on public transport. No one should have to take any risks just because others are ignorant and abusive of the law.

A presence on the platforms with a fine book in their hands would make a vast difference.
Doris LeRoy, Altona

Working with the Queensland border ban
As a Melburnian, I must be one of many who have had to cancel flights and holiday plans at the last minute when yet again a state closes its border due to concerns over a COVID outbreak.
One of the quickest borders to close is the Queensland one, which is felt more acutely during the winter months, when many of us are trying to head north for a bit of respite from the cold weather.

I’d like to suggest to the airlines that they continue regular flights up to the Gold Coast Airport even when the Queensland border closes and provide a bus transit service the very short distance from the airport into Tweed Heads, NSW.

This way we can head north to the beaches and hinterland of the Tweed region and the airline passengers don’t even need to set foot on Queensland territory because the airport is situated on Commonwealth land and its precinct straddles the Queensland-NSW border.
Hugh Burrill, Hawthorn

AFL crowd management beggars belief
The AFL and the football clubs are guilty of gross negligence when it comes to handling crowds at the football.

It simply beggars belief that the government, in recognition of the COVID threat, allows reduced numbers of people to attend matches, yet the AFL and clubs insist on cramming them all together in small sections of the ground.

I would have thought the logic was that because the numbers are low, people could be spaced out around the ground so they could watch the game in a COVID-free environment.

So much for common sense.
Brian Morley, Donvale

THE FORUM

Our wallets are speaking
The inequities described by Abul Rizvi (“Decisions mean Australia accepts ‘slave labour’”, Comment, 18/6) have their genesis in the bipartisan, neoliberal, Thatcherite “reforms” of the Hawke-Keating era, when globalisation brought 2 billion “cheap” workers on stream, especially across Asia.

Australian businesses flocked offshore to employ people working in inferior conditions to Australia’s legislated standards.

Coalition and Labor governments have since used special entry categories, such as the 457, 485, overseas student and working holiday visas, to allow direct importation of lower-cost labour.

Consumers also vote for such exploitation with their wallets. As a greengrocer told me, customers demand fruit and vegetables at rock-bottom prices. If he increases prices, the produce won’t sell.

If consumers don’t value food security despite the lessons of the pandemic, and they won’t pay realistic, fair prices for fresh, top-quality local produce, food producers can’t operate.

Farmers and all other workers in this vital sector are being exploited, and too often driven to the wall, by the “something for nothing” consumer attitudes that ultimately enforce ceilings on incomes sector-wide.
Barbara Chapman, Hawthorn

Talk to the supermarkets
As a horticulturalist on the Mitchell River flats in eastern Victoria, I am tired of hearing complaints such as those of your correspondent about “exploited agricultural workers” (Letters, The Age, 21/6). And I wonder what “surveys” they are referring to.

There is an award wage for the horticultural industry, to which I’m sure the great majority of growers adhere. Maybe your correspondent might like to venture out of the city and actually see that our workers are enjoying their work, are happy with their conditions and are certainly not being exploited.

If these people want higher wages in the industry, maybe they should speak to the supermarket giants and ask them why they won’t pay a more realistic price for their produce.
Mary Baldwin, Bairnsdale

Sowing the seeds of doubt
A week ago AstraZeneca was perfectly safe for over-50s. Now it’s not, but it’s perfectly safe for over-60s. I wonder if in the next few weeks they’ll decide that it’s no longer safe for over-60s but perfectly safe for over-70s. And on and on.

And they wonder why there is vaccine hesitancy.
Robyn Lovell, Epping

And now for his lawyer
I welcome ACT magistrate Glenn Theakston’s decision not to jail the former ASIS intelligence officer known as Witness K. Fair-minded Australian citizens will be relieved with this commonsense outcome. Hopefully his dedicated lawyer, Bernard Collaery, will be cleared and this appalling scandal will be brought to an end.

The magistrate’s judgment that Witness K “appeared to be motivated by justice” and attempted to “participate in the rles-based order of international relations” stands in stark contrast to the disgraceful conduct of the Australian government authorising the alleged bugging of East Timor’s cabinet.

All that the Coalition government has achieved under attorneys-general George Brandis and Christian Porter is to traumatise two courageous, heroic Australians.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham

A good idea, perhaps?
Mandated QR check-ins, tax file number, Medicare card, possible vaccine passport, Centrelink customer reference number, proof of age card, needing to furnish multiple forms of identity for home purchases, opening bank accounts, job applications, and more … maybe that single Australia Card photo card proposal wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Rob White, South Yarra

A fine state of affairs
It is not surprising that some in the Victorian community have not paid fines imposed on them for breaches of the coronavirus restrictions (“Quarter of COVID fines paid”, The Age, 18/6).

Sadly, there will always be an element among us who will ignore and try to evade the consequences for their miscreant behaviour.

It is surprising that only 25 per cent of the 38,000 fines have been paid. But it is shocking that, apparently, the payment of the fines is not being enforced.
Ken Feldman, Sandringham

I am over party politics
How positive to read of the Voices campaigns around Australia and to feel a glimmer of hope that our lacklustre political parties might be in for a shake-up.

Climate change must be our priority. When are we humans going to realise that the storms, floods and wildfires that are more and more prevalent are a direct result of our neglect of our beautiful planet?

Mother Nature is screaming at us, and what do we do? Blame politicians, blame emergency services. We are all responsible for the proliferation of “stuff” (some 24 of 48 pages in a recent Sunday Age advertise sundry household items and whitegoods), irresponsible disposal of waste (our oceans are filled with plastic) and taking a walk reveals ugly evidence of human thoughtlessness littered everywhere.

My generation (the over-70s) has been fortunate to have had stable work, the opportunity to buy homes and to have travelled.

Climate change needs to be our No.1 priority over the economy and the pandemic for the sake of our future generations.

I am over party politics, endless royal commissions and disgraceful refugee policies. It would be great to see more independent voices representing Australians at our next election.
Libby Gillingham, Mornington

All we need now …
What a surprise: Barnaby Joyce has been forgiven and has returned to embellish the struggling Coalition frontbench. He has spent his time in exile, like most abandoned leaders, arranging a leadership coup.

Once again we see politicians focusing more on their own personal survival and less on creative policies to improve our country.

All we need now is for Tony Abbott to re-emerge and we will be back to ground zero.
Rich material here for cartoonists.
Robert McDonald, Sailors Falls

Bringing back memories
Your article “Mechanics’ institutes motoring on with grants” (The Age, 21/6) brought back memories.

In the 1950s, our family moved to Essendon, which had no public library, so we subscribed to the Athenaeum Library in the city and I was surprised to read that it is still going strong. The library used to have book sales and, as I inherited my parent’s collection of books, we now have books with their library stickers on them.

At one time I worked in the city, and when I was waiting to meet friends after work I would often sit and read in their comfortable leather chairs.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

No longer acceptable
In the 1960s and 1970s, long-overdue social changes were happening in Australia, such as the inclusion of Aboriginal people in the census and the dismantling of the White Australia Policy.
However, simultaneously, other inequalities were being introduced, with both sides of government increasing funding of non-government schools.

Nearly 60 years later it is time this practice went the way of the aforementioned and ended. What may have seemed acceptable back then is not now. It is time these self-important, elitist institutions were brought into the 21st century too.
Samantha Keir, Brighton East

A failing system
Australia’s richest schools “generate enough surplus cash to invest heavily in the stock market”, (“Top private schools build investment portfolios”, The Age, 19/6) while still expecting government funding, yet Education Minister Alan Tudge says we need “to move on from tired ideological debates”. While the minister clearly wants to discredit anyone who thinks the current situation is less than fair or efficient, I’d ask “move on to where?”

Evidence indicates that school students are increasingly segregated in terms of socioeconomic background. It’s the primary factor behind poor student achievement, yet the level of expenditure per student in many private schools is three times that in public schools. Disadvantaged school students are more likely to be taught by teachers teaching outside their area of subject expertise.

Levels of funding mean that their schools cannot compete equally for highly qualified staff with wealthier schools, which can offer higher salaries.

Is this the direction in which we want to keep moving? These and similar indicators show that Australia’s education system is not ensuring every student has similar opportunities to succeed.

Tell us what you are doing about that, minister. This is what matters, not justifying what is clearly becoming a more inequitable education system
Lawrence Ingvarson, Canterbury

An unexpected windfall?
Many of the trees that have fallen due to the recent storm in the Dandenong Ranges area could be salvaged for useful timber.

Being winter time, many logging contractors (who have the necessary skills and specialised equipment) are not fully occupied and could be engaged to help salvage many of the big trees.
Many of these trees are mountain ash, which would yield valuable timber when sawn.
Peter Fagg, Blackburn

Even more embarrassing
Just 18 months ago, on Christmas Eve from a back paddock, Barnaby Joyce uploaded a video of himself. Somewhat angrily he said, “I’m sick of the government being in my life.”

Yesterday, his colleagues chose him as leader of the National Party and, therefore, Deputy Prime Minister. At a time when all Australians crave visionary leadership on climate change, we get a man who said last year that we have “no hope” of bringing down global temperature and that thinking we can is “a load of rubbish”.

The lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow has just become even more embarrassing.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

AND ANOTHER THING

Barnaby bounces back
Quarantined Scott Morrison is unlikely to be re-Joyce-ing in his current situation.
Elizabeth Meredith, Surrey Hills

Credit:

At least we know the Nationals believe in recycling.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

So, Barnaby Joyce will be acting Prime Minister when Scott Morrison is unavailable – we deserve better than this.
John Cummings, Anglesea

At least Barnaby Joyce is funny.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

Politics
The Nationals get 4.5 per cent of the vote and hold the country to ransom over climate change. The Greens get 10 per cent and are lucky to get a question in the House.
Ross Hosking, Blackwood, SA

The Nats are amazing: In little more than a generation, they have gone from agrarian socialists to extractive capitalists, representing miners instead of farmers.
Vincent O’Donnell, Ascot Vale

Did Anthony Albanese put a bottle of bubbly on ice for election day after Barnaby’s return?
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison has made a slight adjustment to his family motto: “We now spin yarn instead of stealing it.”
Andy Wain, Rosebud

Scott Morrison, who do you think you are?
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North

Vaccination
I was going to cross the road yesterday, but I changed my mind: It’s just not worth the risk.
Don Phillips, Fitzroy

The great rollout shambles … Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

Finally
The Collingwood Children’s Farm management people, in closing the community garden, without consultation, have clearly lost the plot.
Bill Keneley, Grasmere

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article