Why is it so? If in politics “it’s the economy, stupid” really is the dominant factor determining the standing of a government, how come Labor is travelling so poorly?

The national account figures released this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Australia doing far better than almost the whole of the rest of the developed world. Here are the latest figures from the OECD website with Australia’s 4.3% for March added:

And the key details from the ABS release:

How to make a best seller. On Monday morning Just Love:A Framework for Christian S-xual Ethics was number 142,982 on the Amazon best seller list. Then the Vatican condemns the book by nun-theologian Margaret Farley because it disagrees with church teaching on same-s-x marriage, masturbation and remarrying after divorce.

This morning:

Perverse democracy. I notice a few comments on one of yesterday’s snippets so a brief clarification. A government gets elected having solemnly promised not to do something. It promptly breaks the promise and does it.

The other side then makes a promise to repeal the change its major election policy pledge and wins. The defeated government uses its numbers in an upper house to stop the new government doing so. Perverse democracy indeed.

Forget the psychiatrist’s couch, just get on the phone. Telephone therapy, it seems, can be more effective in treating depression than actually visiting the therapist. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the reason is that patients who had therapy sessions provided over the phone were more likely to complete 18 weeks of treatment than those who had face-to-face sessions.

The study concludes:

“Among primary care patients with depression, providing CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) over the telephone compared with face-to-face resulted in lower attrition and close to equivalent improvement in depression at posttreatment. At six-month follow-up, patients remained less depressed relative to baseline; however, those receiving face-to-face CBT were less depressed than those receiving T-CBT. These results indicate that T-CBT improves adherence compared with face-to-face delivery, but at the cost of some increased risk of poorer maintenance of gains after treatment cessation.”

Some news and views noted along the way.

Peter Fray

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