System reduces some to second class citizens

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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PROOF OF VACCINATION

System reduces some to second class citizens

I do not own a smartphone and I waded through the various government sites, including having a government issued citizenship certificate rejected, and eventually got my vaccination certificate. It turned out to be a poxy download that I printed out. I did not get something I could carry in my wallet like a drivers licence or Medicare card. Instead I have to cart around an A4 printout.

How long will it be until a template to self-produce this pathetic excuse for a “certificate” starts to circulate on anti-vax sites? The concentration on using apps reduces to a second-class position those who do not, or cannot, use smartphones. It discriminates against the poor, the intellectually challenged and the voluntary “techno dropouts” (many of whom are elderly). It is also a hole through which the proverbial truck can be driven and voids the validity of the certificate.
Kent Hansen, St Kilda

The long, hard battle to get our certificates

Rohan Wightman (Letters, 13/10) expressed disgust at the difficulties in registering with MyGov for a digital vaccination certificate. Well, after two days of trying I finally got mine. I am still trying to get my wife’s certificate. I photographed, as requested, our Medicare Card but was told “We do not recognise the card”. All our medical practitioners do. Who designed this website?
Philip Swifte, Kerang

Finding non-internet ways of communicating

One way out of the MyGov “Kafkaesque nightmare” was suggested by a friend who does not have a computer. Although I have one, I followed his example. I asked my GP to provide me with the necessary proof that I was fully vaccinated and she sent me the relevant page of my immunisation record. This includes the words: “This individual has received all required COVID-19 vaccinations”.

I copied this page, put it in an envelope and carry it in my bag. I also copied it onto my mobile phone. This will have to do until navigating MyGov ceases to be a nightmare. Little, if any, thought has been given to people who do not have a computer, have insufficient computer skills, do not have a mobile phone or, if they have one, find the QR system impossible to operate. The challenge is to find non-internet ways of communicating and give directions that can easily be followed. Let us see if any members of the PR and communication sectors will pick up that gauntlet.
Janna McCurdy, Northcote

Why do we have to use so many different apps?

I have been trying to install the digital vaccination certificate on my phone. I have encountered six apps that seem to be involved: Express Plus Medicare, MyGov, MyGovID, Services Australia, Services Victoria, and at one stage, just a plain Medicare app. Each one asks for a username and password and often some form of identification. It is too confusing. Can we please have a single app to do this.
Rod Andrew, Malmsbury

Not everyone can engage with the new system

Older citizens have been forgotten in the design of the new proof of vaccination scheme. My husband does not own a mobile phone; I do, but it is a hand-me-down and for reasons of economy I prepay and therefore elect not to have internet access. How then are we to engage with the new system? This appears to require a smartphone with an internet connection and the latest versions of various apps. Does the Victorian government plan to issue senior citizens with new phones and pay the provider accounts? Perhaps a credit card-sized card, which we can keep in our wallet, would do the job?
Elaine Roberts, Elwood

Innovative ways to prove I’m double vaxxed

Like Geoff Perston (Letters, 14/10), my phone cannot do QR codes, but it has a camera. I printed out my vaccination certificate out, took a picture of the top half and made it the wallpaper (background) of my mobile phone. I hope that venues will accept this as proof that I am fully vaccinated.
Luise Mock, Tawonga South

THE FORUM

Rights and responsibilities

Nyadol Nyuon (Opinion, 14/10) has perfectly refuted the spurious connection between anti-vaxxers and apartheid. If only her clear logic and common sense could get through to those selfish, entitled anti-vax types whose decisions affect everyone else in the society in which they apparently live. They are claiming a very selfish form of “freedom of choice” where they are expecting everyone around them to protect them, while refusing to reciprocate.
Kirsty Page, Ivanhoe

A vaccination ban

I overheard in a workplace a migrant woman telling her employer that her male family member forbade her from getting the vaccine, but she knew that this would cost her her job.
She said that she wanted to be vaccinated, but she could not go against her family member. She also wanted to keep her job. This is not “vaccine hesitancy”. This is coercive control and family violence in the form of patriarchal control. I wonder how many other people are in this situation.
Sarah Endacott, Croydon South

Choice has consequences

Your correspondent’s argument – “Medical segregation” (Letters, 13/10) – reminds me of the arguments put by smokers, many years ago, against smoke-free workplaces and other venues. At the time many smokers argued that smoking bans amounted to segregation, discrimination or apartheid. Just as choosing to smoke affects not just the smoker but those around them, so too does choosing not to be vaccinated.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully

From the city’s streets…

Victoria recorded 2297 new coronavirus cases yesterday. Is it possible that those people who marched in the streets, confronting our police officers a few weeks ago, are coming out of the woodwork? Straight into the intensive care units of our major hospitals.
Denis Evans, Coburg

…into our hospital beds?

Some people have had their surgery postponed for months due to COVID-19. Now it is being further delayed because others chose not to be vaccinated but have subsequently become infected and require hospitalisation, taking up much needed beds. Is this morally right? Should there be a time when the first group takes precedence over the second group in hospitals? Although maybe some anti-vaxxers do not believe in hospitalisation for the same reasons they do not believe in vaccinations.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

A cruel, barbaric ’sport’

You would have thought we’d had enough of suffering in the past two years. But it is sadly ironic that one of the first public events planned following the easing of restrictions in Victoria is one of the deadliest horse races, the Melbourne Cup and associated races. There is no justification for an industry that exploits animals for the “entertainment” of humans.

Horse racing is intrinsically cruel; animals are whipped, die, and are routinely discarded when they are considered no longer of value. These majestic creatures experience pain and suffering just as you and I do.
Jennifer Joseph, South Yarra

Both honour and humour

As a frequent observer of Question Time in the House of Representatives, I concur with Niki Savva’s piece about Speaker Tony Smith (Opinion, 14/10). He often seems to wince at the obsequious responses to Dorothy Dixers that nauseatingly feature far too often. Amidst the bluster and obfuscation, he often defuses the situation with his sense of fairness and wry wit.

I am still chuckling about his recent response to the Opposition Leader’s point of order regarding the rambling Barnaby Joyce’s “weirdness”. Declaring it was not a point of order, Smith said, almost under his breath, that there was no regulation about weirdness in Parliament. He then told Joyce to resume his seat, saying – ever so politely – that as he had not answered the question, “I think we might as well just leave it there.“
Sally Davis, Malvern East

Low taxing, low spending

Your editorial (The Age, 14/10) is spot on. Our taxation system is a mess. OECD data shows that Australia is a low-taxed nation and an increase in total revenue is essential, but with an election pending we can rule out reform. A low-taxed nation like ours is revealed in low spending – relative to our peers – on education, welfare, health, science and infrastructure. We are what our tax system shapes us to be. A good start in the urgent reform needed would be to revisit the Henry report of a decade ago. It is even more relevant today.
John Miller (former president, CPA), Toorak

Bipartisan fear of reform

Economist Saul Eslake (The Age, 14/10) is right. The loopholes including negative gearing, capital gains tax discounts, franking credits and excessively generous tax treatment of superannuation assets should be closed. But he did not mention the party that is willing to close these loopholes. It will not be Labor after the hammering it suffered at the last election and it will not be the Coalition which supports these loopholes. The exercise of trying to fix the tax system is just academic.
Roger Christiansz, Wheelers Hill

Make mine a macchiato

Almost full marks for the shopping list that avoids paying GST, a regressive tax (The Age, 14/10). But instant coffee is a bridge too far.
Rod Watson, East Brighton

Uglification of our suburbs

Metropolitan councils need to urgently employ the same review process of applications for “architectural merit and quality” recently announced by the City of Melbourne (The Age, 12/10).
For years, “Mr Ugly’s Architectural Service” have been approved in many of our suburbs. The result is a multitude of garish, ugly faff, allowing the current approval process to approve inappropriate high-rise/multi-level suburban car parks, hospitals, fire brigades, police stations, other commercial buildings etc. Our suburbs have to live with these cheap and nasty constructions and much needed action by our councils to improve these aberrations is long overdue.
Helen Clements, Mount Waverley

Protect the vulnerable

I will take more notice of the incessant promoters of free speech when I occasionally hear them reference hate speech and its damaging impact on vulnerable people.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool

Two versions of freedom

Two articles on the front page of The Age yesterday. Defence Minister Peter Dutton bans special morning teas to mark an annual day in support of LGBTQI colleagues in the Department of Defence. And Education Minister Alan Tudge raises concerns about freedom of speech after the High Court upholds the sacking of marine physicist and climate sceptic Peter Ridd by James Cook University, claiming “in some places, there is a culture of closing down perceived ‘unwelcome thoughts’ rather than debating them”.
Phil Labrum, Flemington

Selective free speech

Alan Tudge has flagged the possible need of legislation to force universities to adopt free speech protections. Yet only a couple of weeks ago, he was steadfast in refusing to countenance inclusion in the national school curriculum any opportunity for students to consider or debate the place ANZAC Day occupies in our lives. As usual, this government cares about the protection of free speech only when promotion of its own agenda and ideology is challenged.
Graeme Wood, Wantirna South

Where all this money…

First we spend untold millions or billions on American war planes we have not seen yet. Then many more billions on American nuclear submarines we will not see for a decade. At least. And now we have decided to join the space race and make something for – you guessed it – the Americans, again at considerable expense to taxpayers – “Australia’s robotics nous to be key for US moon mission” (The Age, 13/10). Why can’t all these billions go towards saving the planet? And towards making friends with players of the future instead of the past?
Anne Austin, Flinders

…would be better spent

The government has funds to build a rover in Australia to travel to the moon and Mars, but no funds to support an electric vehicle industry to save planet Earth.
Catherine Oxworth, Heathmont

Joyce, a very slow learner

Global warming. Scientists saw it coming 30 years ago, the people see it happening now and this Parliament may finally be seeing the light. But let’s be fair, I am sure that Barnaby Joyce will get it in the next 20 years.
James Fowler, Clifton Hill

An awkward meeting

If conference delegates at Glasgow are assigned seats in alphabetical order, then Scott Morrison may be seated next to French President Emmanuel Macron. Herein lies the real reason for our Prime Minister’s reluctance to attend the climate summit.
Ian Whitehead, Traralgon

A bizarre proposal

Angus Taylor – “Clean energy jobs boom” (The Age, 13/10) – is pushing dirty hydrogen made from fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide, not green hydrogen made from renewable energy. And he plans to push this bizarre proposal at the United Nations climate summit. His alternative facts look certain to win Australia another “Fossil Fool Award” at the summit.
Andrew Gunner, Brunswick West

Won over by Charles

I am no fan of the royal family or royalty. However, after watching Prince Charles gently rebuking Australia in general and Scott Morrison in particular about our wimpish action on climate change – “Prince Charles urges PM to go to Glasgow” (The Age, 13/10), I feel that there might be something to admire in this prince.
Louis Roller, Fitzroy North

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Climate change

Can someone tell the Coalition we didn’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of rocks. It can be the same with coal.
Julian Druce, Balaclava

It’s our children. It’s our grandchildren. It’s the environment, stupid.
Margaret Lothian, Middle Park

Morrison should go to Glasgow. But as a “Scaussie” (a Scot living in Australia), I wonder what reception he’ll get from the locals.
Ali McLeod, Cremorne

To go or not to go? To cop it or cop out? Difficult questions for our PM. Not so difficult for anyone with an eye on the future.
Mary Macmillan, Brunswick East

I understand Morrison electing not to go to the summit as he has a country to run. Under such circumstances, he should send his deputy, Barnaby Joyce.
Gary Davis, Mildura

Brilliant. It seems the government plans to bequeath ringside seats for our children and grandchildren to watch the end of the world.
Keith White, Red Hill South

Slow, reluctant learners are making decisions about our climate policy. I dream of how it would be with creative, innovative minds.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Politics

Peter Dutton has gone from opponent to proponent of cancel culture (14/10). One thing hasn’t changed: his hypocrisy.
Denny Meadows, Hawthorn

Victoria’s IBAC inquiry indicates why the federal government isn’t keen to follow that path.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend

Josh Frydenberg, your double standards regarding JobKeeper rorting may lead to a career change at the election.
Rich Gard, Glen Iris

Furthermore

Chris Uhlmann (13/10), read my lips: Ruby Princess. Gladys’ Wuhan.
Vic Rowlands, Leongatha

COVID-19: the gift from NSW to Victoria that keeps on giving.
Bob Graham, Yarragon

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