Budget 2023-24 Open Thread

I thought it might be best to create an open thread to discuss the Federal Labor Albanese/Chalmers Government’s first budget. It’ll be aired live on TV (and relevant online TV streams) at 7:30pm AEST, 7:00pm ACST and 5:30pm AWST tonight on 9 May.

Feel free to post your thoughts about it and other matters.

Aston By-Election – Once in a Century Result

Last night, Federal Labor has upended the electoral standard that governments do not win by-elections from the opposition. Of course, there has been state by-elections in that time that have gone against that, such as Burwood, the seat of former Victorian Liberal Premier, Jeff Kennett, and Benalla, the seat of former Victorian National Deputy Premier, Pat McNamara, but these are exceptions to the norm.

The key result is that Victorian voters in the seat of Aston are liking what they see in the Albanese government enough for them to vote for a candidate from the Government party over the candidate from the Opposition party, in which they had previously voted for in the Federal election only 10 months ago.

The ramifications of this is that the Coalition is in shambles. The swing against the Liberals in this by-election is currently around 6%, leaving the result for Aston at about 53-47 to Labor. Not bad for a seat not won by them since 1987.

So then, who is responsible for that? The hard right factions would pin it on the moderate liberals. The moderate liberal factions would pin it on the hard right. The chances of these factions coming to a mutual agreement on this, I think, is zero.

This by-election has simply broadened the gap between the hard right and moderate right of the Liberal parties of Australia. And the next few years will be very “interesting” indeed for them.

Let’s take a look at the electoral history chart for Aston and see just how reliable it was for the Liberals until yesterday.

A hearty congratulations for Mary Doyle, the new Labor MP for Aston, and of course the vast team that supported her. A victory for a great suburban Melbourne mum who put her hand up to bring betterment to her constituents. The Light on the Hill shines brightly over Australia.

Recall of Cough Medicine – TGA

As well as important information, this is a reminder that Australia is fortunate to have a service such as The Therapeutic Goods Administration.

We can have confidence in the health products and medicines available in Australia.

The TGA is just one part of a system constructed to make Australia a modern, first world country.

We do not have to endure prescription medicines being advertised directly to consumers, unlike in the USA. Direct advertising to consumers is banned. I am sure that is frustrating for some drug companies.

In the USA, advertisements along the lines of, ′Do you have a headache, and a itchy toe? See your doctor and check out XYZ disease. XXXXX drug treats XYZ with good results.′

You can imagine the resulting scenario in the doctor′s office, as fearful patients demand XYZ medicine and doctors fearing malpractice suits deal with the demands. We don’t have to put up with this pressure.

Australia has many progressive policies, systems and entities to give the 25 million of us the best chance of a decent life. However, Coalition attacks on these things has seen much suffering, misery, financial ruin and deaths. ROBODEBT is a case in point. The Coalition of the Liberal and National parties committed the worst act of bastardry in 100 years against thousands of vulnerable powerless citizens from the poorest class: social security recipients.

So we must protect the progressive, fair, humane, and compassionate of our society and its systems, and strive to strengthen these attributes.

Note: This recall information came from a Disabilty Care agency.

See below from TGA:

Following a safety investigation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), 55 products containing pholcodine are being cancelled from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and those currently on pharmacy shelves are being recalled from pharmacies.

The cancellation and recall actions are being taken because of a link between pholcodine-containing medicines and an increased risk of anaphylactic reactions (a sudden, severe, and life-threatening allergic reaction) to certain medicines used as muscle relaxants during general anaesthesia (called neuromuscular blocking agents).

Pholcodine has been used in a wide range of over-the-counter pharmacy medicines to treat non-productive (dry) cough, particularly in syrups and lozenges. It is also used in combination with other medicines in products that treat the symptoms of cold and flu. 

Now let’s ponder on how fortunate we in Australia are in a chaotic and unfair world, and remember that the biggest threat we have is corruption, and a right-wing government!