Let’s celebrate the ‘constructive’ workers

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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PROTESTS

Let’s celebrate the ‘constructive’ workers

While I have been tempted to feel enraged by the protesters – toxic males, egged on by the far right, who are putting their fellow citizens at risk – I recognise rage is not a very useful emotion during this pandemic. I have decided to celebrate the constructive workers – public health and community workers who are caring for and vaccinating their fellow citizens, and the workers wearing masks all day and getting vaccinated as soon as they can to protect their colleagues, families and wider community. I want to live in a society where we show solidarity with our fellow human beings and try to protect the vulnerable from death and illness.

As a small business owner, I have found this lockdown difficult financially. I have only been able to pay my staff with the assistance of government grants but I do not want us to come out of lockdown until it is safe. I am proud of my staff for getting vaccinated, including two under-40’s who got AstraZeneca at the earliest opportunity rather than wait for Pfizer. Their motivation was not only the fear of getting coronavirus, but the fear of passing it on to others who might get very ill or die. That is constructive.
Sonya Jeffery, Coburg

Anti-working class are tarnishing a noble ideal

As a former official of the CFMEU and a long-time friend and comrade of the late and great trade unionist John Cummins, I am appalled at the actions of a small minority of union members.

“Cummo” lived and breathed the union movement and he would be disgusted by the attitude of some people who have allowed themselves to be duped by the actions of baseless conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers. A very small number of anti-working class members are trying to highjack the union for their own conflicted and dangerous attitudes. “Dare to struggle, dare to win” was the mantra Cummo dedicated his life to but that noble ideal is being tarnished by the actions of a very small few. Sad.
Denis Evans, Coburg

For the first time, I’m not on the protesters’ side

Throughout my life I have taken part in many demonstrations: the Vietnam War and other wars, pro-abortion rights, the Patrick wharfs strike, demonstrations to improve workers’ rights. I never dreamed I would be dismayed by “workers” demonstrating. Anti-vaxxers and, apparently, CFMEU members rioting, throwing projectiles at police, closing down the West Gate Bridge and other roads is beyond stupid and dangerous. The COVID-19 pandemic needs to be taken seriously by all of us. Get yourself vaccinated.
Mary Walker, Richmond

Children having tantrums to get their own way

What a temper tantrum we have seen in “adults”. What a fuss over having a vaccine that could potentially save your life. Unlike the rest of the community who are waiting patiently to see their families and friends and who have been doing the waiting stoically for the common good, these “adults” believe they have right and might on their side. Wrong. We, the silent vaccinated, will win the day.
Kate Read, Canterbury

Violence on the streets of our once peaceful city

Who would have thought police would be firing rubber bullets and tear gas in Melbourne streets? So many people came to these shores to get away from anarchy and violence. My criticism is not directed at the police – they have my sympathy. My ire is directed at the selfish, brutish thugs who have made rubber bullets necessary. A sad day for Australia.
Nick Brennan, Rowville

The media should ignore these appalling protests

The behaviour of the protesters is beyond my comprehension. Can I suggest a blanket media ban on any reporting of this idiotic behaviour. Stop giving them air time, it only encourages them. The police are showing incredible restraint in the face of abhorrent treatment. What the hell is happening to this state of Victoria?
Maree Harrison, Nerrina

THE FORUM

Warped safety ’logic’

Probably one of the most valuable contributions the union movement can take credit for is occupational health and safety at work. Thank goodness we now have mandatory use of hard hats, steel-capped boots, seat belts and safety harnesses on construction sites.
What irony then to see a sea of tradies in Hi-Viz jackets at the rallies. They wear the Hi-Viz to applaud this mandatory safety requirement, but are opposed to the new safety requirement of mandated vaccines. Madness.
David Gentle, Ivanhoe East

At long last, safety

I walk past three local and substantial building sites daily. And each day and at each site, employees congregate on footpaths, unmasked, to possibly discuss great issues. This week these sites have been shut down. And for the first time in months, I have felt safe.
Susan Tresider, Prahran

Colour and identify them

Why are we not protecting our police, paramedics and emergency services workers from personal injury and potential COVID-19 infection when dealing with these cowardly thugs, intent on harming others while hiding behind questionable public demonstrations? Why are we not using water cannons with an indelible dye to disarm, disperse and dampen the violence of these thugs and make them easier to identify? If nothing more, they will need to hide at home for over 14 days waiting for the dye to be removed from their skin as their personal quarantine period.
Bill Yeadon, Seaford

The community says no

The protest marches and the violence displayed have such a demoralising effect on the community. Please stop for the sake of our nurses, doctors and the health system. Please stop so we all can get our freedom back.
Marisa Rooney, Pascoe Vale South

A spoonful of sugar…

Surely it would make more sense to allow the percentage of the construction companies which were doing the right thing to continue working and only shut down the others. Persuasion may work better than coercion.
Carmyl Winkler, Benalla

The privileged few

Unlike those in many industries – health workers, hospitality, the arts – construction workers have not really “done it hard” during COVID-19. For many, a Hi-Vis vest has been a free card to keep on working, largely ignore the restrictions and continue to earn a decent income.

In the CBD, Richmond, South Yarra and Collingwood, I have seen the disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing. OK, it is not easy. But many people in other industries would have done it if it had saved their jobs. Countries around the world are introducing mandates for double vaccination so they can open up and keep working. What is so special about construction workers?
Margaret Barca, Richmond

Please, not Trump again

Given some of the flags and banners we have seen being brandished by so-called construction workers on Melbourne’s streets, is it time to update that well known maxim to: “When you invoke the memory of Trump, you’ve already lost the argument”?
Leon Burgher, Stony Creek

The facts on vaccines

I sympathise with Melbourne business owner Peter Wishart who has had to lay off his non-vaccinated son (The Age, 22/9). But his son’s reason for not being vaccinated – that the vaccines are “not tried and proven” – is simply not factual. Fifteen million Australian jabs (let alone the number world-wide) shows they are well and truly “tried”, and the disparity in vaccinated and unvaccinated hospitalisations tells me vaccines are “proven”.
Dr Ralph Frank, Malvern East

Selfishness of anti-vaxxers

I am unable to respect anyone who chooses to be unvaccinated (except for those few who have a valid reason). It is nothing more than selfish, ignorant behaviour. To expect all the benefits of living in society, in particular using the public health system without doing their duty, takes self-entitlement to the extreme. Perhaps charging the unvaccinated the true cost of their treatment or the cost to society when outbreaks occur may make them think more deeply about their responsibility.
Marie Martin, Richmond

Learning from history

Maybe the reason younger people are anti-vax is that they have not, like me, lived through a time when you got the diseases (measles, mumps, chicken pox etc) because there were no vaccinations. We later discovered that they stopped diseases in their tracks so we were happy to be vaccinated.
Hopefully these younger people will not be doomed to relearn this lesson and even infect their older family members with potentially catastrophic results.
Judy Trinham, Surrey Hills

Degrees of ’freedom’

The right to freedom is not absolute, unless you live on a deserted island. In a community we negotiate some loss of freedom for the benefits of living together. These benefits include that health care is readily accessible for everyone and we can drive safely over the West Gate Bridge.

In democratic societies, the principle is that people are free to do as they please “as long as they don’t harm others” and that the role of the state is to protect these freedoms. In a community that has laws in place to protect members from violence and health risks, the right to be free to act in ways that cause harm does not exist. Perhaps violent anti-vaccination protesters could take their views to a deserted island.
Giuliana Fuscaldo, ethics educator, Monash University

Why buy the subs at all?

The controversy regarding which submarines to buy misses the point. Before buying anything, one must have some idea as to whom they ( expensive planes and tanks) will be used against. It would appear that the only reason to spend billions of dollars over these decades is to please Joe Biden and the US. I do not consider this to be sufficient reason. I hope either the Coalition or Labor can convince me that this sort of expenditure is both necessary and sensible.
Neville Houghton, Hawthorn East

The PM’s lack of respect

Scott Morrison, it is not your choice of submarines that rankles. It is the disrespectful way that you mishandled our relationship with the French, and indeed Europe in general.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North

Alternatives to the subs

Other ideas for the $100billion-plus. Water bombers, quarantine ships, hospital ships, ships to clean up the oceans, disaster response teams. We can become valuable world citizens who can be called on in times of need. This would be the best way to “defend” Australia. There is another way.
Wendy Rubbo, Carlton North

Our very exclusive gang

The Prime Minister has developed a strategic version of New South Wales’ COVID-19 bubbles for three friends. He has joined a bubble with his two best mates on the condition he does not belong also to any other bubble. Unsurprisingly, he chose the one with the flashiest toys.
Ian Clark, Northcote

Behind the times

I read with interest the thoughts of Paul Keating – “Morrison is making an enemy of China – and Labor is helping him” (Opinion, 22/9). Perhaps someone should inform him that we are in the 2020’s, not the 1980’s. Much has occurred in the activities and thinking of the Chinese Communist Party. And to say that China does not attack other states, when did he last speak with a Tibetan?
Ralph Lewis, Canterbury

One important omission

Paul Keating makes reference to China’s “intolerance of Hong Kong domestic political management” and its interests in the South China Sea (Opinion, 22/9) but curiously omits any reference to its constant threats to Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

The growing social divide

In the last three months, housing prices rose in our capital cities by an average of 6.7per cent, and over last year by 16.8per cent. The expectation of being able to be part of Australia’s property-owning middle class has been dashed for too many people. Many families are under pressure to service large loans taken out at unnaturally low interest rates which will rise by 2024, if not before.

Superannuation savings will increasingly be used to discharge loans meaning many retirees will be partly dependent on government support. Even the most productive are struggling to enter the housing market which is awash with cheap and speculative capital.

State governments blithely ignore the problem as they collect distorted amounts of stamp duty. There are few rewards for a society in which home ownership becomes a rarefied dream. The social and economic benefits that affordable housing provides will be jeopardised if the ability to purchase property becomes a permanent social divide.
Julian Dowse, Melbourne

My instinctive reaction

The quake started just while I was reading a report about our new Anglo-Saxon alliance against China. Having grown up in the US zone of Germany right after World War II, my first thought was to look if the tanks rumbling down the street were American or Chinese.
Ralph Böhmer, St Kilda West

A bumpy two years

The bushfires and a smoke cover so thick that you could not see Melbourne. The pandemic and now a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. Are there any active volcanoes in Victoria we do not know about?
Barbara Bereznicki, Dingley

Message from France?

I have it on good advice the so-called earthquake was a forewarning to Australia from France re nuclear submarine retribution for the cancelled contract. Beware, Peter Dutton and co, more rumblings to come.
Ron Reynolds, Templestowe

AND ANOTHER THING

Protesters

Where do I apply for a water canon licence?
Peter Cooke, Warrnambool

I daresay the anarchists who contract COVID-19 will expect to be treated in the hospitals society provides.
Lorraine Peake, Churchill

To say that the protesters are acting like children is an insult to children.
Margaret Ward, Sorrento

Perhaps the words of our unofficial anthem should be: ″⁣I am, you’re not, we’re not Australian″⁣. How sad.
Keith White, Red Hill South

Here we go, our very own Proud Boys.
Greg Lawes, Dingley Village

Your front page headline (22/9) should have read: “Blockheads on the bridge”.
Jean James, Northcote

Use indelible dye, not capsicum spray, on violent protesters who risk everyone’s health.
Geoff Larner, Wandin East

The protesters need to be intelligence tested as well as fined.
Bob Greaves, Mount Eliza

Earthquake

The possibility of the Dees winning a grand final really has shaken Melbourne.
Peter Fyfe, Enmore

See what happens when you move the footy finals to Perth.
Jo Bond, South Melbourne

Did the CFMEU cause the rattling and rolling after Andrews condemned the thugs’ behaviour?
Brian McGuinness, Richmond

Perhaps the earth tremored at the thought of the nuclear submarines coming to our shores.
Breda Hertaeg, Beaumaris

Politics

If only Merkel were interested in bringing her scientific knowledge and political skills to Australia.
Russell Harrison, Sandringham

What happens when our American nuclear submarines call into our Chinese Port of Darwin?
Isobel Bell, Ocean Grove

How many tens of thousands of dead Australian soldiers lie beneath French soil? We owe the French nothing.
Amanda Hall, South Yarra

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