LETTERS: Bring home Aussies stranded by COVID
THE federal government seems to be in quite a dither in its attempts to bring home 25,000 frustrated Australians who are trapped in various places overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic (C-M, Sep 17).
I believe the issue should be handed over to the Chief of the Defence Force to organise these poor souls' return to Australia.
The ADF has plenty of expertise in these sorts of issues and has the assets, including a fleet of suitable RAAF aircraft, to expedite a successful conclusion.
Quarantine stations could also be managed by the ADF through Christmas Island and other ADF assets.
There may be some small inconvenience for a couple of weeks but I'm sure those stranded overseas would be relieved to be home and managed by experienced professionals.
Jim Anderson, Innisfail
AN ESTIMATED 25,000 Australians are wanting to return from abroad.
They were given plenty of notice to return and special flights were arranged for them to return but many failed to take advantage of the offer.
They went abroad with eyes wide open at their own expense and now, having ignored previous return opportunities, want to return at taxpayers' expense.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is criticising the government for not sending a fleet of aircraft to pick them up, including the use of military and Qantas aircraft.
If Albanese feels Prime Minister Scott Morrison is being heartless why isn't he putting his hand in his pocket and chartering a flight to collect them?
We can't keep sending mercy flights indefinitely at the expense of taxpayers.
Keith Whiteside, Sippy Downs
COLUMNIST Andrew Bolt (C-M, Sep 17) suggests that convenient experts are used by politicians to smash us with bans.
It appears Bolt not only has qualifications in climate change science but also pandemics.
Strange that the independent Australian Medical Association's Queensland branch supported Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young's scientific decisions during the COVID-19 crisis.
Polls show over 77 per cent of Queenslanders support the lockdowns, while the footballers were quarantined and will add much needed dollars to the state's economy.
Statistics show that Queensland has done an exceptional job tackling the virus and hopefully our borders will reopen soon.
Strange that Bolt failed to mention the Ruby Princess debacle in NSW where advice from health experts was nowhere to be seen.
Tony Grigsby, Southport
AFL'S CROWD EXEMPTION
UNDER current Queensland government COVID-19 regulations, major sporting events are limited to the lesser of up to 25,000 spectators or 50 per cent of seating capacity.
For the Gabba, site of the AFL Grand Final, with a capacity of 37,400, there should be a limit of 18,700.
However, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has struck a deal with the Queensland government and, pending approval from the Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, a crowd of 30,000 will be able to attend.
That approval appears to be a given with Dr Young stating that allowing sporting codes to enter Queensland "brings a lot of money into the state" and that "we need every single dollar in our state".
Bob Meadows, Mansfield
LOCKDOWN DEVASTATES FAR NORTH
MY WIFE and I had a flight booked this year to visit our kids and grandchildren in Perth, but that couldn't happen so we transferred our fares to a Cairns trip which we started four days ago, spending our money locally.
Coming from Caloundra we were aware of the impact of COVID on tourism, but the devastation we have seen in Cairns has been unimaginable.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk proudly sprouts only one or no new coronavirus cases each day, but as we walk and drive through Cairns and local communities it doesn't take much to imagine the devastation through business closures in this region.
The Premier didn't cause this pandemic, but her focus on daily numbers excludes the thousands of ruined lives.
She has clearly not assessed this as a political need.
Narrow-minded premiers and chief health officers can rest on their scientific advice, but the devastation they are causing is beyond their personal vision.
Terry Kirkland, Pelican Waters
PREMIER OUT OF TOUCH
Palaszczuk, who has been around politics since childhood, must be the only person in Queensland over the age of 40 who has never heard the name of former disgraced Labor adviser and MP Mike Kaiser.
John McQueen, Redbank
YOUR front-page story, "Paradise sold out" (C-M, Sep 17), misrepresents the legal and historic truths regarding North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah).
The rights the Quandamooka people now enjoy were confirmed by Federal Court order in 2011 to the effect that they had always had these rights but that acts of racial discrimination which occurred before 1975, taking the land from them, could not be undone.
I first became involved with them on a personal basis over 50 years ago.
At that time, they had no land, no money, no power and no respect. They had been herded into reserves, like "concentration camps", and could only watch in dismay as the state governments gave their land to non-Aboriginal people for tourism and mining.
Mining showed little respect for them or the ecology of the island, although some were employed in the destructive process.
They are contributing greatly to the tourism industry and will do more.
They have stated that they will act according to the law.
But now, the non-Aboriginal people want to try to distort the truth and change history out of greed and selfishness.
If it was not so appalling, it would be laughable to see the privileged complaining that the underdog was getting justice.
Paul Richards, Stafford
POWER UP HYDROGEN
IT IS pleasing that the federal government has recognised Gladstone as a hub for the production and export of hydrogen gas (C-M, Sep 17), given that the Palaszczuk government initiated its "Advancing Queensland's Hydrogen Industry" fund in 2018 for hydrogen production and export in Gladstone.
The Queensland government's initiative is directed towards "green" hydrogen produced using renewable electricity, rather than "brown" hydrogen which can be produced from natural gas.
Hopefully, the federal government will use its funds to add value to the Queensland government's venture.
Additional to export purposes, green hydrogen can be blended with and ultimately replace natural gas to reduce carbon emissions when used domestically as an energy source, including driving gas turbines to produce electricity when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining.
Australia should fast-track such developments rather than fund the development of carbon capture and storage or the overuse of natural gas as a transition fuel, as such ventures will become stranded assets as the world moves to renewables plus storage, becoming increasingly cheaper and more sustainable than fossil fuels.
Donald Maclean, Fig Tree Pocket
ADDING TO THE MIX
THE new "citizen quiz" (C-M, Sep 17) is a significant improvement on the one it replaces.
Some form of follow-up reinforcement would also be worthwhile.
There is nothing like getting together for facilitating the exchange and adoption of new thoughts and behaviour.
The schoolyard is a prime example.
Thought should be given to ensuring new citizens and those imbued with Australian ways rub shoulders meaningfully in everyday life.
Peter Hasker, Robinson
Originally published as Bring home Aussies stranded by COVID