Constant harassment but Andrews keeps his cool

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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Constant harassment but Andrews keeps his cool

It has been sad to watch the Premier’s press conferences in recent days. Previously we would eagerly anticipate how we were tracking as a result of our efforts in lockdown. Recent briefings though, have adopted the tone of accusation and hectoring with little resultant new information. Irritatingly, some of these questions have been asked day after day with the same predictable answers.

It is the disrespect shown to the office of Premier by one or two journalists that I find difficult to watch. Indeed, his polite and patient responses seem to provoke an even greater degree of harassment, with questions disguised as bald assertions, constant interruptions and a shrillness that makes me wonder what other journalists must be thinking. Although I am angry at how we came to be in this lockdown, I feel sympathy for Daniel Andrews having to tolerate these uncivilised interactions.
John Fitzgerald, Glen Huntly

Innuendo and supposition, not real questions

It would appear Peta Credlin is on a crusade to bring Daniel Andrews undone. Her questions and statements at the daily press conferences are full of innuendo and supposition and she is very accusatory towards him, to the point of absolute rudeness. She implies that she does not believe his answers to her obviously well-resourced and detailed suppositions which she presents as questions. Her constant presence and harping is very wearing for us to observe. One can only imagine the effect it has on Mr Andrews.
Judith Wigg, Yarra Junction

Credlin raised the overlooked issues

It beggars belief that the hotel quarantine inquiry had not previously asked for the phone records of key figures like former secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Chris Eccles. Are we really at the point where we need to rely on Peta Credlin and Sky News to ensure a fair and thorough investigation?
Rick Dixon, Mount Eliza

Don’t reporters get tired of the same questions?

Lee-Anne Sargeant asks, ‘‘Is there one journalist who attends the Premier’s press conferences who is able to ask incisive questions respectfully?’’ (Letters, 15/10). Spot on. Just who are these journalists who attend these press conferences? When they ask a question, they should introduce themselves and the media organisation they work for. Each day there is a barrage of inane questions. How the speakers maintain their composure in dealing with them amazes me. I know I would not be so dignified if I faced this so often.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

Right or left-wing journalists, hectoring is wrong

Indignation at Peta Credlin’s aggressive interviewing of Daniel Andrews is understandable but she is not the only one guilty of this behaviour. Anyone who saw Leigh Sales’ recent interview of Sarah Huckabee Sanders (7.30pm, ABC) would have been appalled at her disgraceful and bullying approach, although many justified it on the basis that Ms Sanders was part of the Trump administration and therefore fair game.

Interviewers of whatever political persuasion need to remember that hectoring their subjects is not a sign of ‘‘toughness’’ and often has the effect of encouraging viewers to side with the person being unfairly grilled.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully

An hour of amusement every day for Andrews?

You wonder whether Dan Andrews has a quiet chuckle to himself about the antics of the journalists and others at his media conferences. They bait him and he refuses to bite. They try to lure him into making a false statement. He refuses to take their attempts hook, line and sinker, but hangs around just to annoy them and show them that he is not about to be reeled in.

The frustrated anglers then go back to work and talk about the one that got away. You would think that after a while they would give up and realise they have other fish to fry.
Greg Tuck, Warragul



Wait until the last minute

Finally something positive from the Victorian Opposition Leader after all this time – ‘‘There is an alternative road map’’ (Comment, 16/10). And guess what? It is released only a few days prior to the official ‘‘change of status’’ announcement, and his alternative covers what has already been hinted is going to happen. How clever is that? I now await the response from Michael O’Brien on Monday when he claims that Daniel Andrews has taken his advice.
Michael Hendrickson, Kew East

Time for action, not talk

Michael O’Brien, your efforts to score cheap political points in the face of this public health crisis reveal a weakness of character and leadership in truly understanding the value of bipartisanship to help Victorians through this, regardless of their political persuasion. Now is not the time to throw peanuts; roll up your sleeves and support this state’s first-class health and research facilities and personnel. They are our chance to live again.
Emily Spiller, Harrietville

Few concrete details

Reading Michael O’Brien’s ‘‘alternative road map’’ out of lockdown, one cannot be struck by anything except that much of it is strikingly similar to the Premier’s plan. Except of course the hard part: a set of dates, conditions and timeline. Once again, our alternative leadership has nothing of value to offer.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

Too little and too late

After months of relentless and disingenuous commentary directed at the Premier’s response to COVID-19, Michael O’Brien’s attempt, with the benefit of hindsight, at proposing an alternative road map out of the pandemic lacks all credibility.
Rosalie McColl, East Geelong

Need for testing stations

Shepparton seems to have dodged a bullet. I cannot understand why there is not a rapid response ‘‘flying squad’’ where many testing stations can be set up at short notice. This would avoid the situation where people stand in lines for many hours when they are potentially infectious. Or, at the very least, triage those with and without symptoms into separate lines.
Sue Bryan, Sandringham

The safety of Victoria

There is continued pressure on Daniel Andrews to reduce restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom is under pressure to reintroduce restrictions in an attempt to stop the rapid spread of the virus there. The solution seems simple: let’s swap. Our protesters can go over there and risk being one of about 17,000 new infections each day, and theirs come here to take their chances of being one of fewer than 10 new daily cases.
Laurie Martin, North Croydon

A dangerous limit

Many have pointed out how the five-kilometre rule is highly discriminatory. Another absurdity arose this week. On receiving a letter from council asking us to clean up our property to prepare for summer (we are in a high-risk bushfire area), I started by getting together a trailer load of sticks and branches after checking the shire tip was open to residents.
Before going there, I rang council to see if there were any problems – and yes, you guessed it – only residents within five kilometres of the tip could go there. The rest of us can just check our home insurance.
Graeme Russell, North Warrandyte

Protect other people …

Given the risks of airborne transmission of COVID-19, I wonder if the ‘‘stubborn tail’’ and spread of the Chaddie cluster are being helped along by people not wearing masks properly especially when they are indoors.
Susan Williamson, Caulfield South

… and wear your mask

With Karen from Brighton heading to Queensland, Donald has stepped up. He is the man of a certain age who wears his mask below the chin, spending time in the cafes and shopping strips, chatting to other Donalds and convinced that those around him should feel privileged to share his exhalations.
Leonie Redfern, Brighton

A very selfish refusal

If actor Isabel Lucas (The Age, 16/10) was genuinely so confident of her immunity to COVID-19, she would have welcomed the opportunity to prove it by being tested, rather than risking the health of her fellow workers and creating problems by refusing the test.
Jeremy Grant, Somers

How times have changed

Thank you, Kathy Lette (Comment, 15/10) for supporting a great Australian. Julian Assange was 100 years too late. Had the war in question been World War I and he had defied military censors to cast light on the realities of the Gallipoli campaign, then like Sir Keith Murdoch, he could have gone on to a glittering career in the newspaper industry.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell

A need for childcare

Jessica Irvine has struck a chord with ‘‘Just do it: free childcare for all’’ (Comment, 15/10). I needed full-time child care for my little one for five years in the 1970s. I worked full-time as a secondary school teacher but my salary was not enough to cover this expense, plus rent and bills. Taking in two schoolgirl boarders enabled me to teach a night class. Then I discovered how lucrative just one night of being a life model for a drawing class could be. It paid almost a third of my teacher’s wage.

When my son went to school, I put the equivalent of that childcare money into a home saver’s account and, in 1980, bought my house. I was not lucky enough to have tax relief for childcare back then. But I agree with Jessica it should be free.
Evelyn Lawson, Karingal

A scheme for all kids

Jessica Irvine hit the nail on the head when she said childcare is free for children over five – ie, state school education – so why not for younger children. After that, parents can choose whether to use private or state school education.
Ailene Strudwick, Mornington

Cross fingers for results

Breta Cohen asks: ‘‘What hope have we that our mailed votes for the council elections will arrive on time?’’ (Letters, 15/10). If her council is anything like mine, the vote only has to be posted by October 23, not received by that date. Mind you, given the unreliability of Australia Post, I am not sure if we will have our election results by Christmas.
Doug Springall, Yarragon

Commonwealth must act

There is no reason to think the new owners of Virgin (Business, 16/10) will do anything different than before. Virgin does not have a lot of assets, but there is some equity left still to be stripped. The outcome would be good for Qantas which would then have an effective monopoly on domestic air travel, and a greater share of external travel in the region. But why is the Commonwealth sitting on its hands over this? A golden opportunity exists for the government to take up its very substantial subsidy of Qantas as equity, and thereby have a say in its future conduct and priorities.
James Ogilvie, Kew

Don’t stoke the fire

‘‘China tensions alarm Germany’’ and ‘‘China poses greatest threat: MI5 chief’’ (The Age, 16/10) suggest that powerful white nations are ganging up against China’s rising military and economic power. Such tensions could easily lead to World War III and Australia would be the first casualty. It is advisable for the Prime Minister to put every effort into hosing down causes of such a war instead of stoking the fire.
Bill Mathew, Parkville

Bring China into line

If the world stands by while China picks off our imports, then it needs to look at China’s end game: dominance on a global scale. Its means of achieving this is by slow strangulation of dependent markets coupled with its Belt and Road initiative. The world need to start pulling the strings, starting with a global ban on iron ore exports to China and dramatically reduced imports from it. China needs to be brought into line with the expectation of being a good global citizen.
Nathan Feld, Glen Iris



Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Oh look, 22,000 infected and a night curfew in France. Opening up is going well.
Denise Deerson, Bulleen

Stay the course, Dan. It’s health or wealth, folks.
Peter Cooke, Warrnambool

NSW, five cases. Victoria, only two. It’s time to strengthen the NSW-Victoria border.
Adrian Sumner, Shepparton

What gall and hypocrisy of O’Brien to outline his plan after months of hard work and leadership by Andrews.
John Handley, Cheltenham

How long before Credlin announces her candidature for a seat in Parliament or on the News Corp board?
Jeremy Sallmann, Crib Point

In Victoria’s very real war, O’Brien, Frydenberg and Hunt and media associates are behaving like a fifth column.
Michael Wade, Wantirna

Twenty kilometres won’t get me anywhere. Thanks to inner-city decision makers for making life better for themselves.
June Vo, Sunbury

Why don’t they just ask the security companies who employed them?
Ron Mather, St Kilda


For outstanding leadership, Ardern deserves to win NZ’s election.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

Why isn’t the Environment Minister on television every day, like Daniel Andrews?
Jeremy Cook, Ascot Vale

Josh, your unemployment figures are meaningless, especially if working one hour in a week means you’re employed.
Lou Ferrari, Richmond


Kennett wants a review of the AFL’s operations, including number of teams. It might also consider moving Hawthorn to Tasmania.
Bill Walker, St Andrews Beach

What a bonanza: Jon Faine, Kathy Lette and Peter Hartcher all on the one page (15/10).
Anna Horsfall, Chirnside Park

Jon (‘‘The circus is back in town’’), you nailed it.
Pam McDonald, Berwick

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