MY wife and I spent New Year's Eve in a motel at Albury on our way back from Melbourne and when checking in I observed that the owner was "spent". He said that he had limped through the last lockdown but this would be the end. He had been fully booked for January until the 250 cancellations received on the last day of the year. I have to say that I was amazed and impressed by his acceptance of his fate.
It is just too easy for some power-hungry premiers to shut their borders without balancing the interests of all stakeholders. Do three COVID cases in NSW on New Year's Day really justify the damage, cost, inconvenience and emotional wreckage that the closing of the Victorian border causes? It is possibly a distance of 1000km, more than 1.5m, between the COVID cases in each state so why should everyone along the way be wrecked?
I will never forget the slogan used by my daughter's netball coach many years ago. I arrived at the final and the coach had written "TEAM" in texta on her arm. Stupidly, I asked" what does that mean". The answer: "Together Everyone Achieves More" and it is so right. I think that Dan, Gladys, Annastacia, Mark and the others under the stewardship of Scott would be so more constructive and intelligent if they acted in concert to achieve a holistic solution rather than wielding individual power simply because European settlement empowers them to do so.
By the way, has anyone seen Scott? He has an opportunity to be a leader and try and unite the team notwithstanding the politics and legalities of the situation.
Craig Doyle, Cooks Hill
'Intergenerational theft' is a furphy
THE notion of 'intergenerational theft', resulting from increased deficit spending in the COVID recession does not stand up to scrutiny. It's the real economy that matters, not the financial economy with its debt and deficit. It is far more important to crank up the real economy and get people back to work producing real goods and services to satisfy human wants.
Many old school economists, conservative politicians and voters are wedded to the idea that "there is no such thing as a free lunch", meaning all the debt incurred by the governments needs to be repaid. But the federal government does not need to pay back debt the way that private householders and businesses are obliged to do. The government may simply roll over debt, or borrow to repay. The federal government may be worried that its borrowing will reduce private liquidity and raise interest rates, thus stifling, private investment. If this is the case it may simply, "print money". Today "printing money" involves the Reserve Bank buying government debt from the Treasury. Although printing money and incurring debt in this way is an anathema to conservatives, national debt is just a number.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
- New outbreak's handling is just not cricket
- It helps to play the odds if you're trying to butt out smoking in 2021
- No happy new year for the aged unless we fix what commission found
- Time to drive the point home for 4WD community's rogue element
- Names don't make cats any less feral
- Simple 'solution' to quelling violence in Newcastle
What does matter financially, is the world's perceptions and Australia's credit rating. Australia still has one of the lowest national debt to GDP ratios in the OECD. This ratio is the basis of Australia's international credit rating: our ability to borrow internationally. Even if our credit rating slips a little and interest rates rise a few points, interest rates will still be at historic lows, and will remain so. Australia is an advanced, stable nation. As such, it is virtually risk-free for investors.
As the economy restructures in the aftermath of the COVID recession, the other concern is a shortage of key resources. At present, all levels of government are planning and have underway, infrastructure projects. Although these projects provide a lasting benefit for future generations, they must be carefully planned to avoid bottlenecks and delays, so they are completed on time. So, 'intergenerational theft' is a furphy. There is no need for future generations to pay higher taxes to pay back national debt. In any case, in the long-term, inflation means that what is repaid in real terms is far less than the debt incurred originally.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Masks should be compulsory
I WRITE to express my concern regarding the federal government keeping our international borders open to returning Australians and others. The government is playing Russian Roulette with the health of our nation.
I have great hope for a 100 per cent effective vaccine being developed given the technology available to us today. I recall the Polio vaccine being successfully developed, a young man who was a Polio sufferer lived nearby when I was a child, I can still picture him in his wheelchair with his white-haired mother accompanying him.
Let's wait until such a vaccine is available and administered before we continue to expose ourselves to the rest of the world. Anyone keeping themselves informed of the incredible spread of this virus is also aware of the mutations appearing.
While I have sympathy for those stranded abroad I believe it negligent to keep our international borders open. The government's top priority is the economy, as a friend said, "it's no good having a successful economy if there is no one left alive to manufacture, serve and consume."
One of my great grandmothers died of the Spanish Flu so I am fully aware of the tragedy being felt by those who have lost loved ones already to this virus. Imagine the spread of grief should we end up like Great Britain and the United States.
It appears that we are already becoming lax in our approach to the virus. We only need to recall Victoria's second wave and the Northern Beaches breakout to realise we are not in control of this virus.
While masks are an imposition I have obtained a surgical mask, and I support the compulsory wearing of them.
David Winwood, Adamstown
Still lots of questions on VAD
RECENT contributors have claimed overwhelming public support for voluntary assisted dying (VAD).
For Sarah Taylor (Short Takes, 30/12) it's 80 per cent support, for Meegan McHugh (Short Takes, 30/12) it's 72 per cent. Who do I believe? It does matter how you frame the question.
A 2016 Norwegian study published by BMC Medical Ethics found attitudes towards assisted dying are influenced by question wording and order to a moderate to large degree. Roz Claydon (Short Takes, 1/1) echoes Philip Nitschke in seeing opposition to VAD as a "Dark Age" belief. But organised movements to legalise euthanasia really only date from the 20th century, and the first country to legalise euthanasia was the Netherlands in 2001.
She is right though in identifying religious opposition to the practice. All leading religions including Christianity, Buddhism and Islam directly or indirectly oppose euthanasia, but so does the World Medical Association with 115 constituent members.
Sarah Taylor says Victoria has all the safeguards NSW needs to follow, but, after only 18 months, some of these safeguards have already come under attack for being restrictive "bureaucratic roadblocks", including one that stops doctors from raising the issue of euthanasia with their patients, and one that requires one of the doctors signing off on a euthanasia request to be a specialist in the person's illness.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
CARL Stevenson is correct in many respects, 'if it ain't broke, don't replace it'. He likens the closure of Liddell Power Station to the plight of the farmer and his old tractor. Mr Stevenson's conclusion is that 'maybe we should stick with the original model'. I would suggest the issue is not the closure of a 50-year-old power station. Instead, it is its source of fuel, coal. I am reminded of a Steve Case's quote, 'the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stone. It ended because we invented something better.' In Liddell's case, that something better is renewables, gas and batteries.
Ken Thornton, Rathmines
WAS disappointing and dangerous seeing "Northern Beaches" (Manly) residents camping up at Crescent Head on the Mid North Coast during the "Northern Beaches" lockdown. Why don't caravan parks have COVID marshals like pubs and clubs?
Scott Wood, Cardiff
THERE is one significant lesson we should have learned from COVID-19 and that is, living in cities is unhealthy during a pandemic. About 95 per cent of all cases have been in our major cities, some country towns have never experienced the virus. Maybe the government should consider encouraging people to move to the country by encouraging companies to relocate to the bush, especially where the jobs are in office complexes. With modern communications office jobs can be done anywhere, as can jobs in IT.
Alan Kendall, Neath
ANYONE would think we were a million miles from Sydney. Maybe we are so insignificant the premier has never heard of us. Cooee, up here Gladys. We're on the map, it's Newcastle, just up the freeway from the Central Coast and Sydney.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
NOW that ScoMo has taken it upon himself to change one word of our national anthem, I think it only fair that each New Year's Day the PM be allowed to change one incongruous or anachronistic word of Advance Australia Fair. Example, we've "golden" soil becomes "stolen" soil.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown.
THE change to our national anthem is an improvement showing respect for the ancient people of this land. We are hopefully 'one' but as to being 'free' well, not quite. We are still subject to a monarch on the other side of the world. When we can choose our own head of state as a republic, then we'll be free from the ghost of colonialism.
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
WE are "one" and free. Nice try ScoMo but the truth is we've never been more divided than we are now. As much as I try to stay positive and push on, I can't recall ever feeling so despondent for the future of this great nation and so ready to throw the towel in.