Prime Minister Scott Morrison and ABC chair Ita Buttrose (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

As part of our ABC series this week, we asked what you thought chair Ita Buttrose needed to do to stop the rot, and you answered. You also wrote to us about Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, and responded to Adam Schwab’s column looking at the economic impact of Melbourne’s lockdown.

On the ABC’s future:

Angie Fifis writes: In my view, the only way to “stop the rot” is for a change of government. One of the goals of ALP policy during the 2019 election was that it would restore funding to the ABC, if elected. Yet the election campaign coverage by the ABC primarily scrutinized Bill Shorten and the ALP.

Morrison, on the other hand, was allowed to proclaim his negative anti-Labor slogans with little, if any precise, critical questioning as to the nature of  Morrison’s future policies. I don’t recall journalists reminding Morrison that the Liberals had doubled the debt or asking him what progressive LNP  policies had been implemented in the past six years.

Mark Dawson writes: Ita needs to give Aunty’s investigative journalists free rein and endorsement to probe, dissect and expose the rampant, corruption, fraud and outright theft from the nation by those vested interests in the IPA and Murdoch propaganda openly working for its demise.

Appeasement hasn’t worked as the cuts savage production across the entire organisation and hundreds of years of high quality professionalism and experience is marched out the door and lost.

The ABC is one of the most trusted training grounds for journalists nationwide and it is fast becoming hamstrung. Journalists must do their job, be encouraged without fear or favor to do that role and expose the litany of corruption facing the nation.

Nationwide support will be further galvanised if Aunty lands huge hits on those rorting taxpayer funds for their own and their vested-interest backers’ self enrichment.

GO hard ABC or die from the atrophy and death of one thousand cuts.

On Assange:

Rosemary Jacob writes: As a dual UK/Australian citizen, I am utterly disgusted by the treatment of Assange. He is denied justice and wrongly vilified.

Justice in the UK has reached a new low! Action in the international justice system should surely be pursued?

Tony Krins writes: We obviously must now classify the USA as an uncivilised country. Australia and the UK? Not yet. But if Julian Assange is extradited, neither can then be described as nations of courage or justice.

On COVID facts:

Alexandra McCallum writes: I accept that as a 38 year old with very limited health issues I am at little risk of dying of COVID-19. I also accept that Adam Schwab has no wish for older people to die.

However, I think he misunderstands what is fueling the level of concern in the community. Many people will have relatives 70 and above who still consider themselves quite young — indeed in the prime of their retirement.

The idea that these people would die before their time because of spread in the broader community is distressing. Further, even the idea of very elderly people dying of COVID — rather than some other cause — implies a lonely death, separated from family.

Two years ago I sat with my 87-year-old grandmother while she slipped into unconsciousness and died of pneumonia. My grandmother lived at home until a couple of weeks before her death when multiple health issues became evident. She had a good life and a good death — in part because we had time for final conversations and were able to sit with her for long periods even after she lost consciousness. This would not have been possible if she had died of COVID-19.

As a younger person I have almost no concerns that I will die of COVID-19.

However, I am considerably concerned that if I were to contract the virus I might experience residual symptoms that go on for months and for which the prognosis is unclear. Of course I may also be completely asymptomatic; but I’d rather not take the risk.

I currently work with both in a private college with international students and in the cultural sector — both areas of the economy that have been hit hard by the pandemic. That I am still employed is thanks to JobKeeper and I’m currently applying for new roles in 2021 since I’m almost certain my contract will not be extended.

I do not underestimate the impact on the lives of others of the restrictions we currently face — in particular in the travel sector of which I note Adam’s business is part.

However, I am heartened by the data that suggests that countries which experience fewer COVID deaths also have smaller economic contractions. I look forward to enjoying domestic holidays in a few months, but I think if the data shows that Australians still have significant concerns about the virus and about travel this is unsurprising. 

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.