(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Crikey readers are still unhappy/undecided/unclear about the vaccination situation, and we’ve also received more letters on Tory Shepherd’s article about Jordan Peterson, as well as commentary on ethics and China.

On vaccines

Gloria Alkins writes: I am struggling more and more with this jab dilemma. Misinformation is rampant. Every country has its own version of the “facts” … Moreover, I just can’t accept that 53-year-old Scott Morrison got the Pfizer vaccine when his government is not allowing the over-50s the Pfizer option. Australians want a choice and not to be made to feel that a particular age group isn’t worthy of the safer and more effective Pfizer vaccine. Mr Morrison should have taken the AZ vaccine if it’s as safe and effective as his government espouses. What a hypocrite. I, for one, will not be queuing for the AZ jab, nor will I be voting for the Libs in the next election. Woefully poor management of a situation that may well still explode into a full-blown crisis. Crikey, to say the least!

Jacqueline Anderson writes: I am so angry, dismayed and stressed at our government not allowing Australian citizens over 50 access to the Pfizer jab. I have written three times to the prime minister and once each to the NSW premier and health minister to communicate this … I’m not expecting their responses, I just wanted them to know how angry and upset I was about the government decision … I have never felt previously stressed about getting a vaccine before and though many vaccines come with a risk, this time it just feels different, like being a guinea pig and potentially collateral damage.

We should have been given the choice. We would have been happy to pay for it. It seems only politicians (and perhaps the uber-wealthy) over 50 can manipulate the system to their benefit. Shame on the Australian government, whose penny-pinching poor planning choices have led to this. If only we could swap Morrison for Ardern.

Robert Prew writes: My wife and I, due to health issues, have been recommended to have the Pfizer vaccine by our doctor. We were given an appointment to receive the Pfizer but find the state government keeps changing the rules on the supporting documentation. Absolute bureaucrat meddling to put obstacles in our way. When I rang the state health minister’s office in WA, they said it was all the federal government’s fault even though all of the documentation has their name on it. I really don’t care whose fault it is as we want to be vaccinated, and with a doctor’s supporting letter it should just happen.

Daniela Goldie writes: I fail to understand how it can be possible that the federal government does not have data on how many essential workers or residents in private aged care have had their COVID-19 vaccinations, considering these were 1a priority. I am over 70 and had my first vaccination on April 27, in regional Victoria, at which time I was given a card with the due date for my second. In addition, Vic Gov has followed up with three emails in the form of questions regarding any health issues, reactions, etc. Once again our state governments are the ones that have acted. It seems that our federal government learned very little, if anything at all, from the devastating results in the aged care sector since the first 2020 outbreak.

Marolyn Hamilton writes: It is obvious that teachers should be given a higher priority for access to vaccination. A teacher in a classroom cannot safely distance from children, especially when giving individual instruction. They are frontline workers, undervalued and underpaid. I am 86 and highly regard the female teachers I had during the war, when male teachers were called up. They did not have equal pay then, even widowed teachers who had children to support got less than single male teachers. It was a man’s world.

On if our borders should stay closed?

Tony Ashton writes: “And the Alpha variant is 3.5 times more infectious than the original Wuhan virus.” Enough with the breathless reporting of highly infectious new strains. The original strain was highly infectious. That’s why we have a pandemic. I understand the Kent strain (Alpha?) was about 50% more infectious than the original virus. Not 3.5 times. And the newer strains are also about 50% more again. I understand 50% is about the minimum you can reliably measure. If you want to talk about infectious diseases, look up measles! That’s why measles herd immunity requires 95% population immunity by two or more vaccinations per person.

Trish Mahoney writes: The yes case gets my vote. We cannot forbid citizens entry to Australia … I believe any popular support for the India ban was due to the inherent Australian racist culture, and there would be far less from those coming back from “white” countries. Quarantine can be made safer by extending the period to three weeks, and administering vaccines to the travellers who haven’t yet had it, as suggested in the article. As much as I don’t like the concept of “no vaccine, no job”, there are certain occupations where it must be. Certainly those at entry points, in aged and disability care, and quarantine must be protected for themselves, those in their care and the community as a whole.

The reluctance of many to be vaccinated must be addressed by the government, as must the rollout. There must be more transparency in this and other aspects of the decisions that have been made. We need to know what the KPIs of the private contractors were, how they were arrived at, and if they’ve been met. We need to know why they were necessary in the first place. What inadequacy is present in the Department of Health that they could not coordinate the operation? Our country needs to open again, and above all it must be open to all citizens.

On Jordan Peterson

Joe Swift writes: Most of his messages promote personal responsibility and taking control of your life. Men and women being as reliable and strong as they can be seems like rather a good thing. It seems that it’s way better than men or women who do not use their gifts and potential for achieving good things. Men in particular do seem to find within themselves a soul that resonates with these ideas. These ideas are not novel or unheard of. Jordan Peterson is a man and therefore he is able to speak in a special way to men. Just as on women’s issues women speak with integrity and insight to women. We have so many men who abandon their families and responsibilities. Masculinity is not evil, nor is femininity. Men have the ability to excel as men if they so wish. It’s a good thing.

Jon Bayliss writes: Jordan Peterson is not a dangerous thug, he is an impotent momma’s boy. When you put something in the media, the human mind equates that as glorification — please don’t fill my feed with yesterday’s sadness. How about some of you start defining what you want from this new dawn by putting role models in the media and quit profiting out of divisions in society.

Annie Massey writes: Canada here — Jordan Peterson is our most embarrassing export.

Alex May writes: I felt as though the piece read like a personal rant and didn’t critique Peterson’s work. If I hadn’t researched him and my first point of call was this article then it would likely push me towards him and not away as it is as if he is dangerous to the status quo — which in the world we live in now is always intriguing. Many people want Jordan Peterson to disappear but he is doing a world of good for young people (men, women, Black and white). It doesn’t mean he is right on everything but he tells people how to process thoughts and not what to think.

On Ben Wyatt joining the Rio Tinto and Woodside boards

Glen Davis writes: No, and the fault does not lie with the former WA treasurer. Woodside has cuddled up far too closely to Australian governments. Yes, the relationship is unethical. Woodside is a major donor … why does our law not ban corporate political donations? Why do our regulators not pursue government corruption? Why are Bernard Collaery and Witness K in the dock, and not ASIS, IGIS, Brandis, Downer and Howard?

Bernard Parsons writes: I’ve always thought it wrong that politicians are allowed to join company boards with some relevance to their political responsibilities after they leave politics. These days I think it outrageous and a disgrace. An ex-WA treasurer on a mining company board shows shameless moral and public ethics. It stands well with the Bishop, Pyne and other recent historical occurrences. Appalling!

Brett Lantzke writes: Of course there should be a cooling-off period for these politicians. Too many of them are in positions of trust and power and then end up “working” for the companies that they have allowed to benefit on their watch. Funny that, jobs for the boys. Turn a blind eye now and we will remunerate you handsomely in the future. Unfortunately, it is happening in our country too often at the moment, but at least the likes of Andrew Robb (who did the same thing) is finally having to explain himself for what he did while serving as an MP (Darwin Port and the Belt and Road Initiative).

Mike Smith writes: At least 10 years [cooling off], maybe 15. It must be long enough such that things have significantly changed so that the former politician can’t add much that was relevant in terms of inside knowledge or influence, and long enough that the briber loses sight of any obligation due to the politician’s corrupt activity on its part. That way any job offer will only be on the basis of the politician’s skills, if any.

On ignoring China’s abuses

Robert Luton writes: Very blunt and realistic assessment, by Guy Rundle, of how we got where we are and where we are going in our relationship with China. Realigning the economic relationship, before the current spat, was essential if we ever wanted to express any moral misgivings about China’s human rights record and not appear as hypocrites. Instead, we attached ourselves to the ever-flowing teat of China’s largesse without thought of payback time, which is now upon us. As for being “rubes” or “big kids”, unfortunately we have some growing up yet before we get to be big kids. Rebuilding a depleted and demoralised diplomatic capability would be a good start, followed by abandoning the conduct of diplomacy through LNP loudspeakers and from a militaristic stance. I hope I live to see the emergence of an adults-only approach to our international involvement instead of the infantile shenanigans we are currently witnessing.

James Leung writes: I admire many aspects of your very thoughtful article on the G7, Australia’s beef with China, China’s own repressive government, and so on. China has many faults, it cannot be denied. China’s repressive methods have lead to much suffering and unhappiness in its people. From Xi Jinping down, the state apparatus has tightened the government’s hold over the Chinese nation, so that there is felt possibly a heavy pall overcoming all its citizens. If only there was a continuation of the move to gradually open up the country, as begun under Hu Jintao, the former general secretary, who experimented with election of county-level officials, giving people there a level of representation; with the likelihood of people-chosen higher-level officials to follow, China today would be a far freer country than it is at the moment.