This was more inspiring than the Olympics were

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This was more inspiring than the Olympics were
I found the Paralympics more captivating, more heart-felt and more inspiring than the Olympics. And the camaraderie and sportsmanship among athletes was a poignant and instructive lesson not only for their Olympic counterparts but for all children, parents, and professional and grassroots athletes around the world.

The numerous obstacles that these Paralympians have had to jump speaks volumes for their persistence, commitment and character. Their back stories are compelling and I feel sure they have lifted the spirits of many Australians. They certainly did mine.

Moving forward, I hope corporate Australia puts faith in the value, merit, and inspiration of their shining example. In the world of competitive sport surely there are none more deserving than these people.
Paul Dawson, Brighton

The personal stories added an emotional edge
What a remarkable occasion the Tokyo Paralympics were, and what an excellent range of hosts and commentators were present, especially in explaining some of the nuances and modified logistical aspects to how the different sports were undertaken.

Due to the very agreeable time zone and the fact that so many of us are still under stay-at-home restrictions, it was a genuinely enjoyable experience to share the journeys of so many global athletes, who were thrilled to represent their country and smash a plethora of world and Paralympic records in the process.

What gave this contest such an emotional edge are the accompanying personal stories, where due to genetic circumstances, or injuries, or medical procedures, athletes have had to overcome significant barriers to do what so many of us take for granted: playing table tennis with no arms; swimming a lap of the pool with one leg; playing soccer with no sight; tackling opponents in a wheelchair.

While we are understandably prone to grizzle about our current restricted civil circumstances, the sheer joy, enthusiasm and thankfulness expressed by the Paralympians were a timely sporting salve for us to behold.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn

News that will be met with sadness and pride
The news that the equally enigmatic four-time Australian Paralympians Dylan Alcott and Ellie Cole have in the aftermath of their participation in the Tokyo Paralympics announced their retirement from future Paralympic competition will be met by both sadness and pride by their fellow Australians.

Alcott, who has won three Paralympic gold medals and a silver medal in wheelchair tennis and Paralympic gold and silver medals in wheelchair basketball, will however prolong his sporting career by competing at the US Tennis Open.

Cole, who in her Paralympic career has won a total of 17 medals – six gold, five silver and six bronze – also goes out on a high note after her sterling efforts in Tokyo.
Eric Palm, Gympie, Qld

Games provided a welcome sense of proportion
How beautiful it’s been watching these courageous participants in the Paralympics so touchingly covered by your Tom Decent (“Moments of inspiration: Why these Paralympics were a game-changer”, Sport, 6/9).

And we moan about health-advised lockdowns. The participants in these games gave us all a welcome sense of proportion. Well done. So proud of all those involved from all nations.
John Miller, Toorak


Drop the delivery fees
At the daily press conference on Saturday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton noted the dangers of COVID spread in supermarkets with authorities seeing transmission between people using a checkout within minutes of each other (“Victorian shoppers warned to limit supermarket outings as state records 190 new COVID-19 cases”, online, The Age, 4/9). Supermarkets also are daily listed as exposure sites.

It is very disappointing to note that people who want to limit their risk – to themselves, to others, and the poor hapless staff – by shopping online, are subject to a delivery fee of up to $15, which would put this option out of reach for many.

As cases are on a very concerning upward trend here and in NSW, wouldn’t you think Woolies and Coles might suspend the delivery fee to encourage people to stay home and shop from home? In doing so they would not only earn kudos for being good corporate citizens in playing their part to help stop the spread, but they might also gain an edge over their competitors.

They could even earn some great publicity in the form of a shout-out from Daniel Andrews, who has lauded other businesses who have played their part.
Tess Gilfedder, Melbourne

We are all shamed by this
The article by Chris Sidoti (“Our leaders failed brave Afghans”, Comment, 6/9) has not only enlightened us to work of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), but it is also an indictment of the Morrison government and shames all of us.

The dithering of the government to ensure a safe evacuation passage for members of the AIHRC, further indicates an anti-refugee ethos, which is often disguised as the need for bureaucratic processes. Why not evacuate people first and then do the assessment.

How is it we have taken so few refugees from Afghanistan in this latest crisis compared to so many other countries?
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

We’re still the lucky country
On Monday morning I drove to my local shopping centre, where I was not stopped at any checkpoints to show my papers. It was a relatively safe drive as I was not shot at or drove over any land mines.

We are the very lucky country, where girls and women can be educated without fear of being murdered.

Wake up, Australia, stop the whingeing and thank your lucky stars that we live here.
Robyn Greene, Red Hill South

A waste of time and money
Like Elizabeth Hunt (“How a quick trip for milk ended in a criminal charge”, The Age, 4/9), I, too, found myself unknowingly driving with my licence suspended. I, too, felt humiliated when I was pulled over by the police and threatened with having my car impounded and a court appearance.

Unlike her experience, I was fortunate the police officers could see the ludicrous situation and gave me 24 hours to rectify it. The next day VicRoads reinstated my licence.

All Elizabeth and I needed was a notification our licence was suspended, and we would have stopped driving until we rectified the matter. What a waste of money and time for something that can be easily solved.

When I rang VicRoads, they said that they send an assessment letter with the consequences of inaction but do not issue any further correspondence indicating that a licence is suspended.

No reason, it is just the way they do it. I wrote a complaint to VicRoads in June; I still have not heard back.
John Samanna, Thornbury

A comforting reminder
My lockdown walks regularly take me along Elwood Canal and a quote on the Shelley Street bridge that reads: “In 1937, at the height of the polio epidemic, my mum wouldn’t let me go anywhere near the canal.L ike most Elwood parents she thought it was the source of the disease. That year from June to September the school was closed. We did our lessons by correspondence.”

I find it a comforting reminder that what we’re currently going through has happened before. And the hope that COVID can be eradicated in the same way polio was – by widespread vaccination.
Justine Loe, Elsternwick

Things have changed
It was heartening to see several articles in The Age on Monday reflecting the reality that the conversation on climate has changed.

“UN official tells Australia to dump coal” highlighted how out of step Australia is with the rest of the world in clinging to coal and “Put some energy into transition plans” drew attention to the important role coal communities can play in the transition to clean energy.

Lastly, but perhaps most significantly, “Murdoch media flips switch on climate” reported the Murdoch-owned media will soon start “promoting the benefits of a carbon-neutral economy”.

This surprising but very welcome news shows Rupert Murdoch has sniffed the wind and risks losing readers and advertisers if he continues to promote the views of climate sceptics.

With the Australian Conservation Foundation’s YouGov poll last week showing a majority of people in every electorate wants stronger action on climate, the federal government now has a stark choice. It can recognise the conversation has moved on and offer real climate action or risk the wrath of voters who are fed up with a government that drags its heels on major issues and then delivers too little, too late.
Matilda Bowra, Fitzroy North

Who’s the real winner here?
I hope all Australians know the vaccine swaps being lauded so highly work very much in the other nations’ interests.

By supplying what we so desperately need here now, they assure their own future supply for booster shots.

Are we being set up to be permanently behind, or is competent government occurring behind the scenes? I want to see the forward planning.
Michael Puck, Maffra

Bump them up the queue
Truck drivers keep the nation going, moving essential goods from place to place and state to state across the nation. Without them, our lives would be much harder. But, the mere fact of their mobility carries a risk, as incidents over the past few months have shown.

So, as with aged-care workers, they need to be given special priority in access to vaccination and also to testing. We already know that high-mobility workforces in areas such as aged care have caused serious problems. Let’s not have this happen with truck drivers.
Karl Reed, Eltham

Known unknowns
Much criticism has been correctly directed at publicly listed companies that have effectively “rorted” the JobKeeper scheme. But they are just the ones we know about.

It is true that JobKeeper was a lifesaver for many honest small businesses. However in recent years it has also been obvious many small business operators are prepared to exploit workers through theft of their wages, superannuation and other entitlements, not to mention systematic tax evasion. It would be naive to think those operators did not take advantage of JobKeeper.

The federal government should pursue those rorters with the same zeal it would apply if the scheme had been administered through trade unions.
Bill King, Camberwell

This is wearing thin
The federal government’s continuing defence of undeserving recipients of JobKeeper payments is wearing thin and insulting to those who are being hounded by Social Services for purported JobKeeper overpayments and who are currently struggling to make ends meet. Why can’t Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg stop waffling and just address this improper use of taxpayers’ money?
Peng Ee, Castle Cove, NSW

It might be a good idea
Alice Clarke is worried that monetising online interactions will ruin the fun for everyone (“Paying the price for internet paywalls”, Comment, 6/9).

Her description of Twitter as a place to scream into the void and make dumb jokes reflects a wholesome, optimistic view of social media which, sadly, has not eventuated.

Too often the screams are of abuse and the jokes are not funny. Having to pay for the right to make such comments might reduce the problem more effectively than the attempts made so far.

Monetising online content might make people consider what their tweets are actually worth. In many cases, the answer will be “Not Much”.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Unwilling unvaccinated
The politicians and the media are starting to talk about rewarding people by making entry to social and sporting events conditional on having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

It is important to recognise people who have not been vaccinated fall into two groups – “the cant’s”, people who have been advised by their doctors not to take the vaccine, and “the wont’s”, who are the thoughtless, selfish people you see demonstrating on our streets.

We must ensure that the rights of the “cant’s” are protected when reward programs are designed,and they don’t fall into the same outcome as the selfish “wont’s” in our society.
Roger Vaughan, Camberwell

The photograph accompanying yesterday’s theme letters about JobKeeper was chosen for illustrative purposes and not intended to suggest that Bunnings, or its parent, Wesfarmers, had participated in the scheme.


Matthew Guy
Catch of the day: The lobster or the carp?
John Lawrence, Toorak


Matthew Guy – a potent argument against recycling.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Can lobsters be cooked twice? Asking for a friend named Dan.
Andrew McFarland, Templestowe

If a leadership change means more air time for Matthew Guy and Tim Smith, I’m all for Michael O’Brien.
Dale Crisp, Brighton

Matthew Guy, leader of the Victorian Liberal Party. That’ll work.
Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong

Climate change of heart
Watching Coalition politicians pivot to fall in line with the Murdoch media’s new climate change position should be as good as any comedy festival (“Murdoch media flips switch on climate”, The Age, 6/9).
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Not long to wait now, for Australia’s 2050 emissions target. The Murdoch media has committed to net zero by 2050.
Jenny Smithers, Ashburton

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden tried to get Scott Morrison to commit to net zero emissions. Is there any chance that Rupert Murdoch will?
Lindsay Donahoo, Wattle Glen

Prime Minister, are you now finding coal too hard to handle?
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency

Remote learning
The School of the Air has offered remote learning without problems for many years. Why should it be different now?
Rex Condon, Ashwood

Thank you, Tokyo, a glimpse of sunshine in the COVID gloom.
Jill Burn, Ivanhoe

Daniel Andrews, please allow golfers to return. My partner is driving me crazy.
Kay Southwell, Balwyn North

Cut red tape. Get black mould. QED
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

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