Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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THE $300 PLAN

Encourage vaccination and boost the economy

Labor’s proposal that every Australian who is fully vaccinated by December 1 should receive $300 (The Age, 3/8) did not deserve the strident attack by the Prime Minister. Those who object to more money being spent should weigh up the costs of paying an incentive against the economic costs of lockdowns.

Also, for the many people who are in insecure and casual employment, the $300 would be a strong incentive when faced with possibly having to take time off work to attend a clinic or if they have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. Furthermore, as evidenced by previous incentive schemes, the economy will benefit. The money will undoubtedly be spent on necessities. It is great to see a simple but arguably an effective solution proposed after so much inaction, bungling and confusingly contradictory statements.
Maria Millers, Emerald

The lure of money may persuade the reluctant

Normally I would be against a proposal such as this. But given the urgency of the issue and the fact that the pandemic has cost so much up to this point, I am thinking: Why not? I have no doubt it would be an incentive to many Australians who have not got around to booking their appointment and, quite possibly, turn some of the fence sitters. All we would then need would be a sufficient supply of vaccines to meet the need.
Denis Carey, Parkdale

Coerce, don’t pay, people into getting the jabs

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has lost the plot. I would not offer 300 cents to Australians to get vaccinated. What they need is coercion – a policy of “no vax, no entry”.
Peter Thomas, Moonee Ponds

A history of assistance for those who are vaccinated

For years, the government has encouraged polio and diphtheria vaccinations with ongoing family tax benefits. But a one-off payment to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations is labelled “an insult” by Finance Minister Simon Birmingham. Yet another example of mixed messaging regarding this critical health policy issue.
Helen Tsoutsouvas, Balwyn

Offering money does not solve all the problems

Surely Labor’s plan only reinforces people’s perception that the AstraZeneca vaccine must be dodgy if the government has to pay them to get it. Also, it still does not solve the problem of those in the community who will not be vaccinated under any circumstances. They will still be out there and they could easily be infected.

No, Anthony Albanese, bribing people is not the panacea you think it is. What is needed, more than ever, is clear, simple instructions as to why getting the jab is the best way to avoid getting COVID-19 which is is capable of killing you.
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne

Other sectors, such as the arts, may benefit too

Labor’s plan could provide multiple benefits by linking the $300 payment to spending in those sectors that have largely missed out under the Morrison government’s support programs to date, such as in the arts and entertainment. Apart from motivating vaccination uptake, it would go a long way towards lifting and equalising the circumstances for struggling, seemingly under-valued artists and entertainers.
Pip Carew, South Melbourne

The Chinese president would be proud of Labor

Is Anthony Albanese lifting a page from a Chinese government’s playbook? His suggestion of a $300 reward for being a good citizen parallels China’s sophisticated system of personal rewards/privileges for good behaviour as well as bad marks and restrictions for recalcitrance in order to nurture compliance.
Barry Lamb, Heidelberg

THE FORUM

Surely a double standard

A question for the Prime Minister: Why does he, with one of his faces, summon fake outrage against any suggestion that Australians be “bribed” to take vaccines and, with the other, threaten citizens with threats of exclusion from society in the form of “vaccination passports”? Isn’t a couple of billion in bribes preferable to a “papers, please” society?
Thomas Baker, Camberwell

Look to the death rates

Maria Pasquale, having returned to Rome, finds Australia’s response to COVID-19 “too stupid, too disproportionate and even too embarrassing to explain” (Age Online, 3/8). Seriously? More than 128,000 Italians have succumbed to the virus, while fewer than 1000 Australians have died. Perhaps she should just let the numbers do the talking.
Pauline Nestor, Abbotsford

Why we need lockdowns

I am a little disappointed and annoyed that The Age is still accepting advertising revenue from Clive Palmer. I can understand it in regard to political issues, but it starts to become unethical when he is putting up anti-lockdown slogans. Sure, lockdowns are bad for economies and for a lot of other reasons, but why do we have them? Because they save lives and because we do not want to put our health system under any more stress than it is already under.
Bill Proctor, Launching Place

A responsibility to act

Our visit to the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday was shortlived. Many patrons wore “mouth” or “chin” masks. One female guard did likewise. A supervisor said she would pass the message on that a complaint had been raised. However, nothing was done to make the NGV a safe environment, despite a plethora of security guards. Our public institutions should not be open if they cannot cope with COVID-19 restrictions.
Caitriona Young, Warrandyte

She’s had her fair share

Often when COVID-19 is being discussed on the news, the background scenes show the same woman receiving a jab. I have counted that this person has now had more than a hundred jabs. No wonder there is a shortage of vaccines.
Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South

A year behind the times

Scott Morrison finally accepts that short and sharp lockdowns are the way to go and makes the pronouncement as his own. Leading from the rear.
Terry Mattison, Mentone

Very unfair standards

My sympathy to David Orr (Letters, 4/8) who says “the government is going to allow crowds at the footy, but I am unable to see my recently born only grandchild despite my having had two vaccinations against COVID-19”. Perhaps the best way for him to see the baby is to take all the family to the football.
Tony Wheeler, Templestowe Lower

Our shared humanity

It was a pleasure to read the article by Nyadol Nyuon – “Bol’s bolt a bridge for the nation” (Opinion, 4/8). It reflects the reality that we are all human and should not be judged by backgrounds over which we have no control, or by attainments which only a fortunate few can aspire to, but simply by the fact that we are a human.
Laurie Comerford, Chelsea

At one with Olympians

The Olympics showcases the world’s finest athletes with the best equipment technology and resources can muster, from carbon-fibre plates in “super” running shoes to the much researched swimsuit textiles.

So a great warmth of nostalgia came over me when I saw that the humble safety pin was still being used to secure the competitors’ bibs on the track and field athletes.
Many of us can recall the chaotic search for a dropped or missing safety pin at the last minute for either ourselves or someone else before an event. (Umm, for me, it was only at school sports carnivals and fun walkathons.) Most of us have pricked ourselves too. It is drawing a very long bow, but I feel the “together” in the new Olympic motto.
Gracie Warner, Kooyong

Please, not another run

That was an interesting view on the Olympics’ men’s high jump final from Jake Niall – “The absurdity of choosing gold medals” (Sport, 3/8). What would he suggest if there were a dead heat in one of the marathons? A re-run?
Merv Wilson, Mitcham

Reversing the high jump

Jake Niall there are plenty of sports, including swimming and athletics, where dead heats are rewarded equally. They don’t do it in golf because the first prize is enormous and the organisers would not like to pay for two, or three of these. Likewise, the players would not like to receive a share of the prize money.

Anyway, I think the high jump is run the wrong way around. Start at a height just above the world record and work down to the point where one (or more) can clear it. The jumpers are too worn out after all of the preliminaries to jump their highest at the end of the competition.
Ray Kenyon, Camberwell

A dangerous message

What sort of message is being spread among our community, particularly younger people, by an ad being shown frequently during the Olympic Games’ telecasts? It depicts a group of insects travelling in a Kombi van. The driver holds a can in one hand, then takes the remaining hand off the wheel to operate the windscreen wipers. Unbelievable.
Neil Lawson, East Ringwood

A much fairer count

If we really need to count the medals won by each country, why not rank them as a proportion of the country’s population? I suspect this would produce some fascinating results and at least would give us a break from the predictable China/US rivalry.
Dennis Altman, Clifton Hill

The overlooked sport

So what is it with the media and equestrian events? Is it too tricky to commentate on a sport where women and men are equals? Or is it the horse? (They are gorgeous, good photo opportunities.) Thousands of Australians are involved in all types of equestrian activities every day. Why are we invisible? It is not just a sport for the rich, like horse racing which gets a lot of coverage but also involves betting.

So we send three teams to Tokyo but, unless you are in the loop, no one out side the sport has a clue, not even when they win a silver medal. Look outside the box of footy, swimming or running – there are lots of us out there. Do better, mainstream media. or you will lose a huge audience and you cannot afford to do that.
Christine Smith, Healesville

Where are the thinkers?

It has long been my contention that, as a “profession”, politics is a refuge for the inept. It is very difficult to refute that today although there are a few notable exceptions (mainly women). Currently it seems that there are no stand out progressive thinkers of the likes of Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd on either side of the chamber. What is to become of this once optimistic, happy, progressive and very livable country of ours? Things go from bad to worse, compounded by the bungling of the pandemic.
Kenneth Coghill, Bentleigh

Prayer, but privately

I think that Kevin Donnelly – “Reciting the Lord’s Prayer important” (Opinion, 3/8) – may have missed one small detail about public, performative, compulsory displays of ostentatious religiosity.
Jesus said, very clearly, not to do it: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matthew 6:5). I am sure it was a minor oversight.
David Staples, Elsternwick

Our Christian values

I agree with Kevin Donnelly that the Lord’s Prayer should continue to be recited for parliamentary sessions. I am tired of the continued hostility towards anything traditional (and Western civilisation and values generally). Though many now want to deny it, Christian values are part of the foundation of modern Australia, and this should be acknowledged.
Suzanne McHale, Bentleigh

A false equivalence

The Lord’s Prayer: pleading to a mythical, supposedly omnipotent and omniscient god, seeking forgiveness, food and entry into heaven. Welcome to Country: acknowledging the undisputed facts of 50,000 years of Aboriginal culture. Has Kevin Donnelly committed the “false equivalence” fallacy of the decade?
Gregory Donoghue, Emerald

Why do they get upset?

I am always fascinated by people who are so outraged about a God they do not believe in.
Helen Buckley. Richmond

Give back to homeless

Yes, we all agree that the shenanigans at Crown casino warrant closer scrutiny. The repayment of missing tax is laudable, but does not go far enough. If the company wants to mend its reputation and become a better corporate citizen, I suggest it invests heavily in public housing either by converting parts of its accommodation empire, or in partnership with the state government (and us) to build new stock. I am sure that many of our homeless have “invested” in building Crown’s empire only to find their lives have collapsed.
Ron Micallef, Berwick

Put it down to vanity

So, barristers’ wigs are about to become extinct (The Age, 3/8). Who started it? Why, the female judges, of course. They did not want to mess up their hair.

Even 20 years ago when I was a barrister, it was quite common for a female judge’s associate to approach counsel before a case and say: “Her Honour does not require the wearing of wigs today”. And then Her Honour would appear with a stunning new hairstyle.
Peter Cash, Wendouree

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Coronavirus

A $300 payment for being vaccinated is a bribe. But entry in a lottery with presumably larger prizes isn’t?
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Spot on, Des Files (4/8). And at $300, it’s a very expensive “choccy”.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

The Treasurer has suddenly found that short, sharp lockdowns do the least damage to the economy. I can’t wait to hear his ideas on dealing with the GFC.
Barry Miller, Kyneton

Josh Frydenberg goes for election gold. Does a triple back flip. Lands shakily. Egg on face.
Barbara Bereznicki, Dingley Village

School report: Josh is a slow learner but he gets there eventually.
Vince Corbett, Essendon

The ever-mutating virus will not wait while the government takes its time on mRNA manufacture and quarantine sites.
Elizabeth Meredith, Surrey Hills

Victoria wins gold medal against Delta. Congratulations, everyone.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

Politics

PM, please show some respect for our flag and stop wearing it as a face mask.
Diane Tew, Vermont

Rather than a better set of politicians, we need a better set of voters.
John Clark, Anglesea

Wouldn’t confessionals for MPs be more appropriate than the Lord’s Prayer?
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

Despite scandals and corruption, the government has a huge, election-winning asset: Albanese .
Noel Howard, Heathmont

Furthermore

Why do why we want a casino, other than reaping the taxes?
Merryn Boan, Brighton

Re the ads from Clive Palmer. This masthead needs an ethics overhaul.
Michael Hassett, Blackburn

The Palmer ads are the ultimate non sequiturs in these COVID times. Meaningless.
Bill Cleveland, Kew

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