(Image: AAP/James Ross)

In the Crikey mailbox, you’ve been having your say on Bernard Keane’s take on the debate surrounding suppression v elimination; pollies’ questionable relationship with the Australian Hotels Association; and the question of a four-day work week.

On suppression v elimination:

David Foster writes: Bernard Keane observes that both suppression and elimination require the international border to be all but closed, and that this presents fiendish policy challenges.

But the immediate priority must be removing internal borders, to free up movement within Australia. Policymakers — not least national cabinet — cannot sensibly address this issue unless they acknowledge that some jurisdictions have, by maintaining border restrictions, tacitly abandoned suppression in favour of elimination.

It is unlikely, for example, that Victorians will be allowed into Western Australia until Victoria has no community transmission. The fact that the price of suppression appears to be indefinite internal border restrictions surely weighs heavily in favour of at least attempting national elimination.

Jeff McCracken-Hewson writes: If we attempt to eliminate COVID-19 in Australia, it is extremely likely we will fail. And when we do, we will have to switch to another strategy. We will do that already weakened by months of failed lock downs. Elimination depends on almost total consensus and commitment, with no serious mistakes, which makes it a very dangerous strategy.

Let it rip is unthinkable. The health system would be overloaded, leading to unnecessary death and suffering. Hard suppression means lock downs and restrictions of some sort until a vaccine or cure comes along. This is not sustainable. So that leaves “flattening the curve”. How bad is that likely to be?

We do not know what the ultimate death toll would be in Australia if we reverted to flattening the curve. Nor do we know how far it would be offset by other deaths that are avoided and by escaping the damage of endless lock downs. But in the end, we are likely to have little choice. Accept the inevitable. Mitigate its horrors. And get on with our lives. And it may not be as bad as many fear.

On the power of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA):

Genia McCaffrey writes: The power of the AHA has long been a blight on Australian democracy, as have both major parties been beholden to Aussie pubs. Their electoral contributions and their role in job creation are, like the development sector, the excuse used to justify their seeming power to write their own laws.

This was bad enough when the only consequence was a general public cynicism about their government and corruption but now when it can actually threaten our lives, this just isn’t funny anymore!

On a four-day work week:

Amy Huva writes: I was dropped down to a four-day work week for the first time in my working life at the start of lockdown in March. While I didn’t enjoy the drop in pay, I can highly recommend the four-day week lifestyle! I think we would be much happier, healthier, and sane if we all worked a four-day week.

We love to hear from our readers. To have your say on anything you read in Crikey, write to us at [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in this column.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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